I went out on the weekend to shoot some birds with my V1 + FT1 + 70-300 VR. I was shooting hand held at 1/1000 of a second with the lens wide open and I didn't get a single shot that was remotely close to good. In some of them the V1 focused on the background instead of the bird and in others the bird just ended up so soft the shot was useless. What was I doing wrong? Should I have been using a different lens? What about a tripod? Or was my technique just that bad?
>I went out on the weekend to shoot some birds with my V1 + >FT1 + 70-300 VR. I was shooting hand held at 1/1000 of a >second with the lens wide open and I didn't get a single shot >that was remotely close to good. In some of them the V1 >focused on the background instead of the bird and in others >the bird just ended up so soft the shot was useless. What was >I doing wrong? Should I have been using a different lens? >What about a tripod? Or was my technique just that bad? > >Any advice would be appreciated. You're very brave. I would never try to shoot that combination hand-held, especially wide open and at 1/1000th second. I have shot my V1 with a 300mm lens hand-held, but needed 1/4000th second and f/11 and continuous shooting to even begin to get an acceptable photo, with a boosted ISO setting, of course.
With an equivalent focal length of 810mm, 1/1000th second is only a starting point for arriving at a sufficiently fast shutter speed with such a front-heavy combination, *even with VR*. Stance, shooting technique and so many other things that differ from person to person come into play. Some folks might get good results at 1/2000th second; others might need 1/4000th or faster for the same shot. I always recommend at least trying a few series in continuous shooting mode; I've encountered many people who end up with their sharpest image being one of the middle shots in a series, because of the way they hold the camera or "punch" the shutter release.
Achieving sharp focus under such conditions is another matter entirely, with folks like Thom Hogan using "birds in flight" as an example of the most difficult subject. I don't know if your birds were moving, but even if not getting sharply focused images at mondo focal lengths hand-held is going to be a challenge.
If you can capture the birds with a tripod-mounted camera, try that -- still using a relatively high shutter speed, and with ISO boosted so you aren't shooting wide open. If not, a much higher shutter speed might help if hand-holding is your goal.
Another problem using the V1 + FT1 is that you do not have any focus tracking ability. If the birds were moving then the focus will lock just before the shutter trips if the bird moves out of the focus plain the camera will not adjust so the bird will then be out of focus.
I have exactly the same experience. I bought the V1 and the FT1 adapter to get longer reach for wildlife before my trip to Kalahari (80-200mm lens and 200-400mm lens). Great disappointments after the first day. Most pictures focused on the background and not on subject. I tested the camera later in the day and it turns out that it has a "memory effect". If you pan from a background into a subject it will "remember" the focus of the background even if the subject covers the whole focusing area. If you update the firmware to 1.11 it will improve. I have attached an example of a secretary bird. Picture Nikon V1 130mm witj a 80-200mm AF-S lens 1/640s F:5.6
With something like this I can't help but wonder if it's just an accident that it behaves this way, or if it's on purpose so it doesn't cannibalize dslr sales just like some of the other design decisions made with the V1. In either case it's annoying.
Currently the only focus mode available when using the FT1 is AF-S. When you were on the background, if our finger was on the button, the camera locked focus. And that did not change, did not update, when you passed over the bird. We need AF-C programming added.
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I have shot lots of birds with the 70-200 and the Vi. very sharp and no problem as long as you realize it is single shot afs, not continuous. so if the subject moves out of the preset focus you have to refocus the camera. Absolutely love it for light weight but wish the ft1 gave full functionality. Maybe the next firmware?
I just wanted to say thanks for all the advice. I'm getting better and more consistent shots than I was before although still not good enough to be worth showing to anyone. It looks like it's going to take more practice and patience.