Looking for some help. Recently got a D200 and was out photographing birds at a local reserve.
A flock of swans took off from one of the ponds flying straight at me.
A great photo opportunity I thought but the camera would not focus. I think it is possibly because the background was the sky.
Any suggestions for a remedy for this as I believe I have chosen an incorrect setting option. It is very frustrating to miss good opportunities and it is clearly down to my inexperience with the camera.
As usual any replies and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
#1. "RE: Help with focussing" | In response to Reply # 0blw Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Fri 22-Feb-13 05:23 PM
What settings were you using? For example:
- AF-S / AF-C or (probably not) M?
- the setting of the rotator switch on the back of the camera (just below the 4-way rocker pad)?
- 11-zone or 7-zone?
- Lens in use?
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
#2. "RE: Help with focussing" | In response to Reply # 0Sat 02-Mar-13 06:53 PM
Two out of three... I am new to nikonians....and new to bird photography although I've had a D200 for several years now. Sorry, I don't know your level of experience with either photography or the birds.....but please believe me when I say....I know where you're coming from. I would also state that I am definitely not a Pro...nor anywhere near it!......however.....
Here is my standard settings for bird photography on the move on my D200...
I use an 80 to 400 mm VR lens... 5.6 aperture max. Which I obviously set on VRII all the time!
My D200 is always set to A. mode all the time. The auto focus is set to dynamic group, which is the second setting from the bottom on the AF dial
(Sorry if I am working from too basic a level of knowledge of the D200 ...)
Then if you enter the autofocus menu on the D200 ...under dynamic group....choose the wide option. this should enable you to focus on the bird which is prominent in your display.
If you only have the sky as a background...it's should suffice to give you good results as the "A" mode setting should give you "sharp" images of your subject.
The final consideration would be the amount of available light..... You would have to set the ISO to the setting which would give the best results for the activity of the subject.
Obviously, if the bird is doing handstands and flamenco's, you will want to up the ISO to whichever level would give you an acceptable recording of the activity.....if the bird was asleep on a post.... You could obviously set the ISO a lot lower...
Once again, I am sorry if I have over simplified.....or under-estimated you expertise with the Nikon D200. So please forgive me if I am teaching my Grandma to suck eggs!
It took me a little time to work out these things on my own....not having the knowledge of the Nikonians behind me....or to call upon!
Just to say that....when I am out and about....I get seriously good results by using the above settings. hopefully, someone more experienced than myself will be able to push us both on to bigger and better things.
Good luck for your future shoots....
#3. "RE: Help with focussing" | In response to Reply # 2Sat 02-Mar-13 07:01 PM
P.S. if you are following your subject against the sky..the above settings should enable you to capture a sharp image...however against a light back ground.....you will only achieve a sharp silhouette ... I would recommend that if you are shooting against the sky....you should over expose by anything up to 2 full stops...depending on the light and the distance to the subject. A few confrontations will point you in the right direction....start off at 1full stop over and compensate accordingly......good luck!
#4. "RE: Help with focussing" | In response to Reply # 3Sat 02-Mar-13 07:11 PM
My final advice is that should you be troubled by the image not being """pin sharp"....
It may be because the auto focus is being thrown off at the point of taking the picture by a branch or tuft of grass........therefore go into the auto focus " lock" settings in the D200 menu and select the option that delays the length of time that the autofocus needs to lock on to a new subject.
What this means is that, if a blade of grass comes between you and that fantastic picture of the short eared owl in flight.... The camera won't focus on the grass but will stay on the owl until you have passed the blade of grass!
The down side of this is that if you are focused on a near object...it will take a bit longer to come onto focus on the subject....time and experience will tell!
#5. "RE: Help with focussing" | In response to Reply # 0
Practice on your panning...cars are good objects to pan, also airplanes. Go to the nearest international airport car park and you'd get a lot of practice there that will help you learn to focus better on moving objects in the sky. Also with your bird shoots. Just my opinion...
G'day and Glock
#6. "RE: Help with focussing" | In response to Reply # 5Shy Talk Nikonian since 12th Jun 2010Mon 04-Mar-13 08:06 PM
In my opinion you need to start using the 'AF-ON' method.
Just do it- you will be glad you did.
Decouple AF from the shutter button. Select C-AF. Learn to prod the 'AF-ON' button whenever you want to focus.
I know it sounds a PITA, but it is certainly the best way to go.
You'll never go back to having the AF operate when you press the shutter.
In my opinion, setting the cameras up the way Nikon ship them should be an option but the 'AF-ON' method should be the normal way of using the autofocus.
It works like a charm.
my webpage is at http://www.scottishops.co.uk
my Nikonians gallery is here. https://images.nikonians.org/galleries/showgallery.php/cat/500/ppuser/330319
Visit my Nikonians gallery.