I'm taking my D3 to South Africa next month. I've shot wildlife in Africa MANY times, so I know all the non-camera-specific stuff. However, having moved from a D2x, I'm not supremely confident as a D3 user yet...particularly in regard to CAM3500.
For those who've done more shooting with the D3 than I have, please let me know your most successful focus configurations for situations similar to:
a) A fast-flying small bird is flying directly overhead against a daytime blue sky;
b) A larger (eagle-size) bird is flying more slowly against a daytime blue sky;
c) A tawny animal (e.g., lion, cheetah, or antelope) is running across a tan/golden grass plain;
d) A reasonably-large animal (anything from hyena to elephant) is running towards you;
e) An animal resting/hiding in the branches of a tree.
I'll be using my 70-200 and 200-400 for the most part, both with and without a TC14e.
Thank you for sharing your experience.
My wildlife gallery: www.pbase.com/zuman/wtwp
#1. "RE: D3 Wildlife Help?" | In response to Reply # 0Len Shepherd Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003Mon 28-Jan-08 09:00 PM
I now have a D3 but have not done enough shooting to answer with confidence.
My suggestion based on pages 306/7 is a3 Dynamic AF area for a and c.
51 point 3D is better but needs a good size target in the viewfinder with the target a different colour to the background making it suitable for b and perhaps d.
Getting an AF point on the target (not easy with a) and 51 points in my limited tracking testing does well. Auto (on the camera back) might also be good for a, but in this mode AF decides what to track taking control away from you.
I would consider manual focus for e - if it is resting and not disturbed it will normally not move until temperature falls near sundown.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.
#6. "RE: D3 Wildlife Help?" | In response to Reply # 1Bangkok Paul Charter MemberWed 30-Jan-08 08:00 AM | edited Wed 30-Jan-08 08:05 AM by Bangkok Paul
I agree Len. I should have used manual a lot more when I had an animal in the bush.
I not sure I ever learned completely, in all ten days in Africa, that a BAD picture of a lion or cheetah with brush and leaves in the way, was going to be a BAD picture, no matter how excited I was to be taking it.
I HOPE I finally got this lesson though my THICK head after look at a couple of thousand bad pictures I took. Thankfully, I also got some great pictures. I'd love to go again. Claus taught me a LOT!
D3, D300, D2X & D200
New 14-24 F2.8 too!
If your not shooting Nikon your doing
My Nikonians Gallery
#2. "RE: D3 Wildlife Help?" | In response to Reply # 0
I have to admire your courage, when I have had elephants charge me my focus configuration was not at the foremost in my mind. My 70-200 was not the only aperture needing stopping down if you get my drift!
Remember when in doubt with CAM3500 just simplify. I have found single point focus for wildlife in trees very effective with the smaller red boxes of the D3 (case e).
#3. "RE: D3 Wildlife Help?" | In response to Reply # 0
sorry i can't help you with most of these as my d3 hasn't arrived but for d)...when an elephant is running towards me the only thing i focus on is getting out of the way!
nice photos btw
#4. "RE: D3 Wildlife Help?" | In response to Reply # 0
Thanks, Len and others. Fortunately, I'm not in a once-in-a-lifetime trip situation, so I'll try the suggestions for key shots, but also experiment a little.
I'm a conservation zoologist, so I'm fortunate in working with experienced colleagues who know how to avoid getting me trampled, mauled, speared, or eaten!
#7. "RE: D3 Wildlife Help?" | In response to Reply # 0
Moose Peterson produces the BT Journal (The Biological and Technical Journal for Wildlife Photographers--a mouthful). In this quarter (Volume 12.2) he spends 10 pages discussing the D3. He spends a lot of time detailing how he uses the various AF options in his wildlife photography. I found it very interesting and read it twice. Every question you have is discussed in the article, you just need to substitute the animals names.
Now I don't know how you can get a copy, maybe through his website. I borrowed a friends copy, he a subscriber.
#8. "RE: D3 Wildlife Help?" | In response to Reply # 0
For all your images, I suggest continuous servo AF, and try learning the AF-ON technique for activating AF.
>a) A fast-flying small bird is flying directly overhead
>against a daytime blue sky;
Dynamic AF, 51-point area, lock-on (a4) short
>b) A larger (eagle-size) bird is flying more slowly against a
>daytime blue sky;
Dynamic AF, 21 point mode, tracking (a4) short
>c) A tawny animal (e.g., lion, cheetah, or antelope) is
>running across a tan/golden grass plain;
Dynamic AF, 9-point or 21-point, tracking (a4) short
>d) A reasonably-large animal (anything from hyena to elephant)
>is running towards you;
Dynamic AF, 9-point mode, tracking (a4) OFF
>e) An animal resting/hiding in the branches of a tree.
Single-area AF mode, lock-on (a4) Normal.
What I have done with my D3 and D300 is add the custom settings for AF areas and lock on (A3 and A4) to the "user menu" so I can quickly change between settings on the fly.
Jason P. Odell
Author, The Photographer's Guide to Capture NX
Now supports Capture NX 1.3
Listen to The Image Doctors
#10. "RE: D3 Wildlife Help?" | In response to Reply # 8arthury Registered since 24th May 2002Wed 30-Jan-08 03:26 PM
Your a4 customization is well and good but in the field, looks like if one were to follow your settings, each time you predict a new species swing by, you need to change the a4 setting. That'll be workable if one has an ir-sensor that's sensitive to, at least, within 100 yards.
#9. "RE: D3 Wildlife Help?" | In response to Reply # 0
I would highly recommend that you try out the different options you want to use here at home before the trip. I'm pretty darn sure that a trip like this will cost more than the D3 so check out the D3 and test it well way before the trip.
There are complaints here and there about AF issues. I thot mine was having problem but it turned out to be my lens. Still, there are some legitimate ones reported.