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joanvet

felton, US
15 posts

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joanvet Gold Member Nikonian since 25th Feb 2013
Tue 03-Sep-13 04:02 AM

I am using my new D800 and 70-200mmVR 2.8 lens with autofocus to photograph hummingbirds. I am worried that the constant refocusing as the little devils fly by will damage the lens mechanism. Will this constant extremely rapid change with autofocus degrade the lens. Are there any precautions? Thanks so much for any advice.

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davepmyoung

Robertsbridge, UK
62 posts

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#1. "RE: Autofocus question" | In response to Reply # 0

davepmyoung Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Dec 2008
Tue 03-Sep-13 12:03 PM

If the AF can't keep up with that, send it back. It is a pro camera and lens. I use exactly the same combination in Motor racing in the UK and have never had a problem with continual re focussing. If you are really worried switch to manual and focus by hand, like we all used to a few years ago.

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joanvet

felton, US
15 posts

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#2. "RE: Autofocus question" | In response to Reply # 1

joanvet Gold Member Nikonian since 25th Feb 2013
Tue 03-Sep-13 02:05 PM

Thanks for your reply. Being a neophyte I was sure it was something I was doing. I am using the AF-ON and tried it with both AF-C on and off with no observable difference in the amount of shuddering that occurs. I have read that for action shots other photographic equipment combinations are better than the D800. However, the amount of clunking and shuddering that occurs is directly proportional to the size of the subject I am trying to focus on with this lens. So I will try calling Nikon for their input as well.
Thanks again.

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gpoole

Farmington Hills, US
4124 posts

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#3. "RE: Autofocus question" | In response to Reply # 2

gpoole Platinum 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. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundrasing Campaing 2014 Writer Ribbon awarded for his article contributions for the Articles library and the eZine Nikonian since 14th Feb 2004
Tue 03-Sep-13 03:45 PM

AF systems are quite sensitive and in AF-C track very small changes in distance to your subject. That's why the lens is continually refocusing.

The D800 has Nikon's best AF system. For actions shots there are other Nikons that will do as well at tracking, but none better.

The claim that other bodies are better for action is based on frame rate and number of images that can be stored in the buffer at full speed. The D800 can do 4fps with 36Mp images. The D4 can do 10fps with 16MP images and a much deeper buffer. Both the D800 and D4 have the same AF system. If you want/need machine gun firing then the D4 may be better than a D800 for you. I have both and usually use the D800 for birds because of the higher resolution.

As a neophyte you already have a fantastic camera, learn to use it well before making a decision to jump to a different body.

Gary in SE Michigan, USA.
Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera.
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avisys

Placitas, US
482 posts

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#4. "RE: Autofocus question" | In response to Reply # 0

avisys Basic Member
Tue 03-Sep-13 04:32 PM | edited Tue 03-Sep-13 04:33 PM by avisys

>I am using my new D800 and 70-200mmVR 2.8 lens with autofocus
>to photograph hummingbirds. I am worried that the constant
>refocusing as the little devils fly by will damage the lens
>mechanism.

I could guess that hummingbirds pose a unique challenge for autofocus, especially AF-C. The camera could be bouncing back and forth between the bird's body and those blurring wings which make rapid but intermittent targets.


AviSys

Henry64

DK
142 posts

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#5. "RE: Autofocus question" | In response to Reply # 3

Henry64 Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Jan 2008
Tue 03-Sep-13 05:29 PM

Are you by any change using VR?

VR will give that "clunk" when it starts and stops - and when it's active it will humm too

Try to switch VR off and see if you like the "sound" better. I'm not using my VR too much anyway, it disturb the image.

You don't have to worry about that lens, it's built to last. Of cause it will wear eventually but that'll take more than a hummingbird or two

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dm1dave

Lowden, US
13636 posts

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#6. "RE: Autofocus question" | In response to Reply # 0

dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006
Tue 03-Sep-13 06:23 PM

>> “I am worried that the constant refocusing as the little devils fly by will damage the lens mechanism. Will this constant extremely rapid change with autofocus degrade the lens. Are there any precautions?”

The direct answer to your question is – No, what you describe will not damage or degrade the lens in any way. – There are no precautions necessary.

The 70-200/2.8 is a professional lens designed for hard use.

As stated above, humming birds are a big challenge for any camera and more so for the photographer. The D800 has a state of the art, second to none, AF system and is certainly up to the task of shooting these fast little birds.

Dave Summers
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avisys

Placitas, US
482 posts

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#7. "RE: Autofocus question" | In response to Reply # 6

avisys Basic Member
Tue 03-Sep-13 08:42 PM

I might add, wait until you start using flash to get at those little buggers. The birds are so fast, and recoil so quickly to those pre-flash flashes, by the time the real flash goes off the bird is 6 inches away.

Gotta work on flash management . . .

AviSys

ajdooley

Waterloo, US
3330 posts

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#8. "RE: Autofocus question" | In response to Reply # 7

ajdooley Gold Member Nikonian since 25th May 2006
Tue 03-Sep-13 09:16 PM | edited Tue 03-Sep-13 09:20 PM by ajdooley

Turn off the preflash. I shot this in mid twilight. The f/stop allowed the background, already pretty dim, to go black. I manually focused on the plastic flower I chose and waited. Hummers are quick, and I would not depend on AF to keep up. Unlike race cars, the have a number of directions they can depart! BTW, this was shot with an old D200 and an aging 80-200mm f2.8 AF-D.

Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (jpg file)

Alan
Waterloo, IL, USA
www.proimagingmidamerica.com

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joanvet

felton, US
15 posts

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#9. "RE: Autofocus question" | In response to Reply # 0

joanvet Gold Member Nikonian since 25th Feb 2013
Tue 03-Sep-13 11:05 PM

What a great forum! Thank you for all of the suggestions and for the reassurance that I won't damage the lens. The "clunking" did stop when I turned off the VR. Since I have been using very fast shutter speeds, I will try turning off the preflash and using the flash to catch the hummers in mid air. Great detail in the hummingbird photo too. Thanks again to all of you for being so generous with information and so rapid in answering.

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GiantTristan

Stamford, US
2675 posts

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#10. "RE: Autofocus question" | In response to Reply # 0

GiantTristan Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Jan 2006
Tue 03-Sep-13 11:53 PM

I have shot many hummingbirds with the 70-200/2.8 and D700 with no ill effects to the lens or the hummingbirds. The focus speed of the 70-200 is excellent. The problem is to photograph a hummingbird in flight, you will need a shutter speed of at least 1/2000s to "freeze" the fast moving wings. At that shutter speed, VR is of no use whatsoever.
A "sitting bird" is much easier. To give you an example, I attach two captures, both at f/5.6 and 1/200s. I could not use 1/2000s because of low light and my flash had not enough reach.

Click on image to view larger version



Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (jpg file)
Attachment#2 (jpg file)

Tristan

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agitater

Toronto, CA
4527 posts

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#11. "RE: Autofocus question" | In response to Reply # 8

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Tue 03-Sep-13 11:57 PM

Nice crisp shot, Alan! The color really pops in the feathers.

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Fabien65

FR
144 posts

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#12. "RE: Autofocus question" | In response to Reply # 0

Fabien65 Registered since 19th Jan 2012
Wed 04-Sep-13 02:12 PM | edited Wed 04-Sep-13 02:19 PM by Fabien65

>I am using my new D800 and 70-200mmVR 2.8 lens with autofocus
>to photograph hummingbirds. I am worried that the constant
>refocusing as the little devils fly by will damage the lens
>mechanism. Will this constant extremely rapid change with
>autofocus degrade the lens. Are there any precautions? Thanks
>so much for any advice.

if you are talking about very little refocusing, the behavior of your lens is normal. Your combo is just tracking the bird very quickly to be in perfect focus.
You can change af-c to af-s and focus on a fix place and just wait after the bird..
if too long, you can focus manually and wait..
Fabien.

G