I was out at a local wildlife refuge today and saw a flock of geese coming toward me.
They were pretty close to me and passed right in front of me, over the road. I swung up my D4 with the Nikon 300mm f/4 as they approached. They were moving so fast, that I tried to get the center focus "0" on anyone of them.
Well, I was disappointed that none of those shots turned out in focus. Not even close. All the geese were blurred.
So what happened? I noticed that the camera was on 51 and not 11. The focus dot was dead center, so it did not move. A3 Focus with tracking was 3 Normal.
Am I missing anything?
"Today is the tomorrow that yesterday you spent money like there was no"
The 11 or 51 point choice is just for the initial point you can select. It is independent of the number of points for AF-C tracking(S, d9, d21, d51, 3d, or AUTO). Once the initial point is selected the D4 (and most/all Nikon DSLRs) uses the appropriate subset of the 51 focus points for tracking the subject.
You set the number of points for tracking using by pushing the button in the center of of the AF switch and turning the front command dial. AF-S or AF-C is selected by turning the rear command dial while holding the AF button
Gary in SE Michigan, USA. Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera. D4, D810, D300 (720nm IR conversion), D90, F6, FM3a (black), FM2n (chrome) YashicaMat 124, Graflex Speed Graphic 4x5 My Nikonians Gallery & Our Chapter Gallery
>Using a tc 2.0EIII if that is what you have with an f4.0 lens >adds up to slow focusing and with most f4 lenses the tc does >not focus well if conditions aren't perfect. > >Larry
In this thread I think the above may be the greatest contribution to the lack of hoped for results.
I'm going to start a separate thread regarding my recent experience with exposure lock long regarding some recent subjective findings but that thread is going to be about encouraging the camera to not grab on the background.
Dan, the 300 f4 with TC 2.0 = 600 f8. You are pushing the limits of the AF on the D4. There is only one AF cross type sensor that is capable of f8, the center one. Along the center row of AF line sensors, you get four line sensors to the left and four to the right of center that are f/8 capable, as well as one above and one below the center most AF point. Your best option is single point AF-C, with the center AF sensor. With 51 points enabled, you can then manually move your AF point horizontally across the center 9 AF points for best results. You may also want to set your camera to focus + release priority. One last thought, if you are in continuous drive mode, slow it down to 5 FPS. Also, be sure to continuously pan with your subject as you push through the shutter release. http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d4/features02.htm
BIF is really tough on many fronts. One element not yet addressed is exposure, especially when confronted with sudden opportunities like the one posed here. Birds have a diabolical propensity to shift background settings suddenly and frequently. Starting from a water surface with a forested backdrop, now they climb increasingly into partial and then full sky, sometimes blue but sometimes including white clouds, or worse, all white. I have increasingly tried to prepare in advance when shooting in 'birdland' by using manual exposure settings. Either a spot meter reading with test shots on resting birds (or objects of similar character nearby), and adjusting from there. At least the bird will be well exposed whatever they do. It is easy to quickly shift aperture this way or that if a tweak is needed during flight. For birds incoming, the issue is making them silhouettes in a bright sky. An alternative is use spot metering with exposure lock when in A priority, for example. That's useful in a jam when shooting in that mode anyway, and along comes a flock of birds. I have my Fn button set for spot metering for this very reason.
Yes, I agree for bif I use manual exposure. First before shooting I use spot metering usually on a light gray barked tree or a perched bird of about the same color. I then check once in a while to see if the light conditions are the same throughout the shooting time frame.
Shooting bif against a white cloudy sky has not been very successful for me. Usually not enough contrast to get good sharp focus, blue sky or a background of vegetation is better for af for me.