Could anyone enlighten me on what are the ideal autofocus settings to capture birds in flight. I am a little confused with the various autofocus modes and settings with respects to quickly follow a bird in flight and increasing my chances of getting a sharp focused image. My question is which mode should I set my D700 on? Is the 51 point 3D tracking in dynamic area AF my best bet for this or should I use auto area AF? I am shooting with a 50-500mm lens at 500mm. tks
You will probably want the 9-point setting and have it pretty well pre-focused to speed aquisition. The 51-point AF taxes the CPU a lot more and will be slower to react. I would use the auto area AF.
I assume that is the "Bigma" and ends at f6.3 on the long end? This is pushing the AF system to the limit, espcially if the light is starting to fall. I don't know the lens, but if it has a limiter, I'd switch that on too. Don't expect miracles from this lens for BIF with such a slow aperture.
You should try experimenting with various settings, but I suspect that with that particular lens, that is a good starting point.
THanks for the reply. Yes it is the Bigma and you're right the f6.3 on the long end requires a lot of light. I will try using the 9 point. What do you mean by have it pretty well prefocused to speed acquisition. Sorry for not understanding this and maybe I should. I would appreciate your help.
I think what they mean is to focus on something that will be close to the same distance to where you expect your subject to be. That way the lens can get focus faster with out a lot of hunting. If your lens has a "limit" switch use it. This will keep it focusing in the general area that you pre focus to.
That is correct, prefocusing is setting the focus ring as close as you can to the plane of focus where you expect the subject to be. That way your lens will snap into the correct focus as quickly as possible and begin the whole process of focus tracking.
Like others, I use 9 & 21 pt dynamic, AF-C, C-H. I also use the AF-On button, but that is not really critical solely for BiF's. It's just the way I shoot.
You should also check CS A-4, Focus Tracking with LockOn. For BiF's I keep it set to short or off if the birds are large. This helps retain focus locus if the active focus point moves off your primary target. or if another bird comes between you and the primary target.
Michael D300, D700 and a lot of other stuff Member NWPLI