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Best BIF settings

William Rounds

Rambouillet, FR
732 posts

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William Rounds Gold Member Nikonian since 25th Mar 2011
Sat 29-Sep-12 03:11 PM

I use a Nikon D700 and just acquired a used MB-D10 battery carrier. I really have two questions: 1) I want to take advantage of the 8 fps rate I can get from the MB-D10 and understand I will need to use either a different battery and charger (EL-4) or AA batteries. Which AA batteries work best to get the 8 fps, ie. some are better than others? Is there a camera body setting which should be changed for this type of battery use?

My second question is: 2) I would like to try birds-in-flight photography with my AFS 300mm f4 Nikkor and would like to know what settings should I use for the auto-focus? Is it recommended to use a fixed shutter speed for this type of photography?

Any suggestions are appreciated.

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JosephK

Seattle, WA, US
7065 posts

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#1. "RE: Best BIF settings" | In response to Reply # 0

JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 17th Apr 2006
Sat 29-Sep-12 02:31 PM

I cannot help with the AA battery selection since I went the EL-4a route, but the needed camera settings are in the Custom Settings: a10, d10, d11.

For focus settings, the Wildlife forum may get you a better set of recommendations. Without knowing how cluttered your backgrounds will be and how big your targets are and how erratic they move, my sports shooting would suggest as a starting point:
AF-C, 9-points (or 21) dynamic, normal lock-on.

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Joseph K
Seattle, WA, USA

D700, D200, D70S, 24-70mm f/2.8, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II, 50mm f/1.4 D,
17-55mm f/2.8 DX, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

JBS101

Canberra, AU
594 posts

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#2. "RE: Best BIF settings" | In response to Reply # 0

JBS101 Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Apr 2009
Sun 30-Sep-12 08:06 PM

I use Eneloops with my MB-D10, and they work well. I haven't tried any others.

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Ned_L

Philadelphia, US
8049 posts

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#3. "RE: Best BIF settings" | In response to Reply # 0

Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter Member
Mon 01-Oct-12 12:04 AM

OK, let's try to hit these one at a time.

First with the MB-D10 vertical grip, while it's a battery holder, for sure, it's far more than that, but for the moment, let's concentrate on the batteries. You will need an MS-D10 holder if you want to use it with AA batteries. Without that accessory ($26.95) you can't use AA batteries. I only know one person who went that route and he told me it was money wasted as he went through the batteries really fast. If you want to get to 8fps, I recommend using the EN-EL4a batteries. If your MB-D10 doesn't have the Nikon - BL-3 Battery Chamber Cover, you'll need that to use the EN-EL4a. It's $34.95. Of course, if you go for the EN-EL4a, you'll need the Nikon - MH-21 Quick Charger ($119.95).

If you go with the AA batteries, I know the Alkalines will give you enough power for 8fps, but I would also think about the Sanyo XX Eneloop 2500 mAh Low Discharge AA Batteries, but I'm not sure they will get you all the way to 8fps.

Don't forget all the other things the MB-D10 vertical grip can do for you. When you turn to portrait orientation you don't have to contort your right hand to reach the shutter release. Instead you use the shutter release on the grip, and you have both the main command and subcommand dials at your finger tips, and the AF-On button, etc. I use those controls often.

Now let's talk about birds in flight. You mentioned the shutter. Whether you're using manual mode, or aperture or shutter priority modes, keep your shutter speed at 1/500th or higher. I usually shoot with mine at 1/1000 or higher if possible. I'm usually in aperture priority, but I'm always keeping an eye on my shutter speed to make sure it doesn't drop too low. I use aperture priority so I can control my depth of field as necessary. I don't use manual as when I pan to keep the bird lined up, often there is a change in exposure settings needed and you need the camera to adjust for that itself.

For the D700 focusing I'd use Continuous-servo AF for my focus mode. My AF Area Mode would be set to Dynamic area AF. I would use either 9 or 21 points. I have found that most of the birds fly fairly regularly which I shoot, but just as important for the setting is that I've found that 51 points or 51 points-3D overwhelms the camera despite what Nikon thinks.

Ned
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nrothschild

US
10916 posts

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#4. "RE: Best BIF settings" | In response to Reply # 3

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Thu 04-Oct-12 05:56 PM

I have 2 old ENEL-4 batteries that I got with my D2h years ago and they are both '4's now. I use Eneloop 2000ma AA as backup. I don't use the AA's a lot but when I have they seem to work fine and I think I get the 8fps rate.

The only thing I don't like about the AA pack is that the battery meter is not accurate and I think they tend to die fast without much warning. That is typical of any NiMH cells, which are very difficult to meter remaining life. I don't have enough experience to suggest a realistic useful life in terms of frame count.

If I were starting over I would try a set of Eneloops and the battery holder. A lot cheaper than the ENEL-4 and charger, and AA cells are usually useful for other tings like speedlights, especially Eneloops.

For Af settings, I would add that I use 9 pts whenever possible for BIF, and would only use 21 if I can;t do it with 9. Lesser is better but you need more accuracy in your panning.

You might try AF-C in focus priority mode just to get some feedback on how well you are tracking. In release priority mode the camera does not care and therefore you get no feedback.

I usually shoot BIF in AF-C focus priority but I give up a lot of shots that I might find useful. I suspect that the number of in focus shots also increases since the camera has time to time the shots in sync with when it thinks it is in focus. But I have no way to know how to test that, given the reality of this shooting.

It is a direct trade-off of quantity verses quality without hard numbers to help with a decision. I don't recommend either- I just suggest considering the implications and trying both methods.

For planned BIF shots in varying light I usually use Auto-ISO, with an appropriate minimum shutter speed for the lens (along the lines of Ned's suggestions). I will shoot aperture priority at the widest aperture I am comfortable with, considering the lens.

When the light is low the ISO goes up to maintain my minimum shutter speed. When the light increases I get bonus shutter speed beyond what I would get in Shutter Priority. I can tinker with the ISO setting according to the light and how much shutter speed I might want. The camera is then doing exactly what I would do in manual exposure mode if I had time to think about it and change settings.

_________________________________
Neil


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DinoCardelli

Plantation, US
236 posts

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#5. "RE: Best BIF settings" | In response to Reply # 4

DinoCardelli Registered since 19th Oct 2010
Tue 09-Oct-12 08:07 AM

I use the ENEL batteries and keep the battery pack as a backup..

I use Eneloops as well...

I have about 40-50 of them as I use them for all my strobes (4) and my SB9's as additional power...

I find with the strobes, BTW, the Black 2500's work the best in the strobe and the standard 1500-2000's in the SB9's for exttra power on the Sb910's and Sb900's.


dc

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wwp512

ALBUQUERQUEQ, US
436 posts

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#6. "RE: Best BIF settings" | In response to Reply # 0

wwp512 Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Dec 2007
Wed 10-Oct-12 09:19 PM | edited Wed 10-Oct-12 09:23 PM by wwp512

I am not much of help here, but had to tag this thread because I am in the same predicament:

>Just bought a used D700 with MB-D10 grip
>I want to take advantage of the 8 fps rate
>My MB-D10 came with the Eneloop batteries (select HR as battery type)
>I would like to try birds-in-flight using the D700 with my 300mm f4

In another month the flocks will be here at the Bosque Del Apache (NM), I will report back with my findings.

to the OP, a gimble head is very helpful, if you don't already have it for your Feisol.

goodluck

PRW

Plymouth, UK
228 posts

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#7. "RE: Best BIF settings" | In response to Reply # 5

PRW Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Apr 2002
Fri 12-Oct-12 01:59 PM

I use Enloops in my grip, but there is a bug, which has never been fixed. Even with fully charged batteries, the meter will suddenly show no power and switch you over to the battery in the camera. Powering on and off will sometimes get you back to the grip's power supply, but sometimes the grip has to be removed and re-attached. All in all a rather frustrating situation

Kind regards,
Paul

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nrothschild

US
10916 posts

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#8. "RE: Best BIF settings" | In response to Reply # 7

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Fri 12-Oct-12 02:31 PM | edited Fri 12-Oct-12 02:40 PM by nrothschild

I was shooting AA's a few weeks ago (Eneloops) when I suddenly dropped down to 5 fps. I forgot about that reported problem. But at the time I thought I checked and was reading 2 bars. Interesting point of research.

I just replaced my pair of aging 2005 D2h vintage EN-EL4's though, so hopefully the Energizer Bunny is back in business for me.

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Neil


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William Rounds

Rambouillet, FR
732 posts

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#9. "RE: Best BIF settings" | In response to Reply # 6

William Rounds Gold Member Nikonian since 25th Mar 2011
Mon 15-Oct-12 05:42 AM

Thank all of you for your suggestions and experience. I am going to purchase the EN-EL4a batteries and charger and give them a try. I did not know about the Eneloop AA batteries and will see if they exist here in France under that name.

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G