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| p.1 #5 · Canon 1DMk2 AF sensitivity setting for Birds in Flight |
The reality is that the tracking sensitivity setting is a double-edged sword. In theory, a slower setting should reduce the number of times that you lose focus contact, but that slower setting will also mean that, when you do lose focus contact with the subject, it will take longer to regain proper focus. On the other hand, in theory, a faster setting might mean that you are more likely to lose focus contact, but it will should also mean that, when focus contact is lost, you should be able to regain it more quickly.
After having used multiple 1-series bodies and a 7D with this setting, I've come to the conclusion that custom function setting defaults are the defaults for a reason, and that reason is that those defaults are the settings that should work in most situations. And this is true, in my experience, with the tracking sensitivity setting. With my 1D Mark II and the 1D Mark IV and 7D that I'm now using, I've found that the default setting works very well for birds in flight and other wildlife action. What I've also found is more important than this setting is using good technique, which includes making sure that you properly lock in focus with the selected AF point and being ready to back off and re-establish focus when focus contact is lost.
I have more information about these settings in the 1D Mark III and 1D Mark IV technique articles on my website. Even though you are using a 1D Mark II, the same general principles should apply.