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Archive 2016 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?
  
 
bs kite
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


Just hoping to get some solid feedback from those who do know.

What would you set D500 AF settings on for birds in flight ?

Thanks ahead

Robert



May 04, 2016 at 11:18 AM
morrismike
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


look at the steve perry videos on youtube


May 05, 2016 at 02:45 AM
Thang
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


Don't know about other birds but for peregrine falcons in flight I use af-c group, af blocked at 5, focus track set at eratic, and "release+focus" with high success rate.


May 05, 2016 at 03:51 AM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


I've been down in FL shooting BIF - mostly smaller wading birds but also some very fast skimmers and terns. My settings were:

AF-C, Back Button AF - Just my normal settings for, well, pretty much everything.

Group AF - I actually liked this better than D25, 72, etc. I normally go for those instead of group, but with this AF system my keeper rate was higher for these types of birds with group AF. I would switch back to D25 with larger birds (great egrets, great blue herons, etc), because group AF was prone to grabbing focus on the wing. In those cases, I'd use D25 and aim for the head / neck area. But the vast majority were in Group AF.

I have also started to shy away from single point AF for BIF now (I used to use it from time to time). I seems like the smaller AF points in the D500 tend to make focus more erratic since the point is harder to keep on one spot.

Focus Tracking with Lock On (A3) - For this I had my delay set to 2 (I prefer it low). I didn't shut it off all the way like I usually would.

In the past the cameras were more prone to losing AF lock and going to something else, so I kept the delay off most of the time (allows the camera to reacquire the lock faster). However, the D500 is a different animal. It tracks much better, so the delay is now a little more helpful both for obstacles in-between you and the bird and for when your AF points wander away from him for a split second.

I left the subject motion part of the menu right between erratic and steady, mostly because these types pf birds aren't overly erratic (although, looking back, I should have used erratic with the terns).

AF-C priority selection was set to just to release.

---

One thing to keep in mind however is that the settings you get from me or anyone else are not necessarily the best for you. There is more than one right way to get BIF shots and the settings you use depend largely on your shooting style and what you feel comfortable with.

Overall, I have between 5000~6000 BIF shots and the majority of the (few) bad ones were due to my inability to keep the AF area on the bird, not the camera. My keeper rate is now almost too high



May 05, 2016 at 12:40 PM
ShutteredMe
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


Steve Perry wrote:
I've been down in FL shooting BIF - mostly smaller wading birds but also some very fast skimmers and terns. My settings were:

AF-C, Back Button AF - Just my normal settings for, well, pretty much everything.

Group AF - I actually liked this better than D25, 72, etc. I normally go for those instead of group, but with this AF system my keeper rate was higher for these types of birds with group AF. I would switch back to D25 with larger birds (great egrets, great blue herons, etc), because group AF was prone to grabbing focus on the
...Show more

I have the same settings as you do because of your prior video.. Thanks.
Like you said, the shoots that I don't get is because I am simply to slow to react to the sudden change in direction of flight. For example is this food exchange of the Peregrine Falcons. I was following the male at the bottom and he sudden go up and I lost him. Because the AF is so fast, it focused on the water. That would have been my GO HOME shot, but oh well.






Not a GO HOME shot

  NIKON D500    500mm    f/5.6    1/1600s    2500 ISO    +0.3 EV  




May 05, 2016 at 01:01 PM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


ShutteredMe wrote:
I have the same settings as you do because of your prior video.. Thanks.
Like you said, the shoots that I don't get is because I am simply to slow to react to the sudden change in direction of flight. For example is this food exchange of the Peregrine Falcons. I was following the male at the bottom and he sudden go up and I lost him. Because the AF is so fast, it focused on the water. That would have been my GO HOME shot, but oh well.


Yup - that's why I have my delay now set to 2 instead of 1. It gives me a split second to get the AF points back on track when something like that happens. Of course, I'm still getting used to the camera and making changes as I go, although I think I'm pretty dialed in now on what it can do (and it's impressive)



May 05, 2016 at 01:09 PM
RoyC
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


For skimmers, I stopped using Group and switched back to Single point. I found that Group worked very well as Skimmer would start towards me, but as the bird gets closer and the reflexed image on the water is bigger, group will sometimes shift focus to the reflected image instead of the actual bird.


May 05, 2016 at 01:28 PM
architect7
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


Steve Perry wrote:
I've been down in FL shooting BIF - mostly smaller wading birds but also some very fast skimmers and terns. My settings were:

AF-C, Back Button AF - Just my normal settings for, well, pretty much everything.

Group AF - I actually liked this better than D25, 72, etc. I normally go for those instead of group, but with this AF system my keeper rate was higher for these types of birds with group AF. I would switch back to D25 with larger birds (great egrets, great blue herons, etc), because group AF was prone to grabbing focus on the
...Show more

This has been my exact same experience with my D500. I have switched from single point to Group as well and the D500's tracking ability is unlike any other camera I have ever tried. Truly amazing!



May 06, 2016 at 08:48 AM
Wayne Willison
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


Thang wrote:
Don't know about other birds but for peregrine falcons in flight I use af-c group, af blocked at 5, focus track set at eratic, and "release+focus" with high success rate.



Thang,
I'm going to try your settings. I never would have thought to set af block at 5, but your success rate is impressive. It's also great that you got that much out of the 200-500 on the falcons.

Wayne



May 09, 2016 at 11:48 PM
Thang
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


Wayne - see this post here where I used the exact same setup. With any other camera and/or setup, the lock would have been on the water instead

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1379476/71

Wayne Willison wrote:
Thang,
I'm going to try your settings. I never would have thought to set af block at 5, but your success rate is impressive. It's also great that you got that much out of the 200-500 on the falcons.

Wayne





May 10, 2016 at 03:38 AM
 

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ShutteredMe
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


Thang wrote:
Wayne - see this post here where I used the exact same setup. With any other camera and/or setup, the lock would have been on the water instead

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1379476/71



WOWser!!! That is some great capture Thang! I would think a setting of 5 would be too long but I will give it a try this week.

-Quang



May 10, 2016 at 03:52 AM
Thang
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


Quang - too long for what? My thinking is this. Group focus avoids the BG and gives priority to the subject first. So by setting AF block to 5, it would stay longer on the subject and nowhere else. I think that's a win win situation for us bird photographers.

Below is another sequence with busy BG. With my canon system, those rocks would have been tack sharp...



ShutteredMe wrote:
WOWser!!! That is some great capture Thang! I would think a setting of 5 would be too long but I will give it a try this week.

-Quang







  NIKON D500    200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 lens    280mm    f/5.6    1/2000s    500 ISO    0.0 EV  






  NIKON D500    200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 lens    280mm    f/5.6    1/2000s    500 ISO    0.0 EV  






  NIKON D500    200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 lens    280mm    f/5.6    1/2000s    500 ISO    0.0 EV  






  NIKON D500    200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 lens    280mm    f/5.6    1/2000s    500 ISO    0.0 EV  






  NIKON D500    200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 lens    500mm    f/5.6    1/2000s    500 ISO    0.0 EV  



Edited on May 10, 2016 at 03:59 AM · View previous versions



May 10, 2016 at 03:56 AM
ShutteredMe
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


Anyone know how to assign the FN1 + wheel or the PV + wheel to change AF Mode? I hate having to have to use both hands to do it every time.

-Quang



May 10, 2016 at 03:57 AM
Thang
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


ShutteredMe wrote:
Anyone know how to assign the FN1 + wheel or the PV + wheel to change AF Mode? I hate having to have to use both hands to do it every time.

-Quang


My back "AF-ON" button is set to Single point. My default is set to Group. I don't use the "AF-ON" button to activate focus. I use the shutter button for that. My Pv button is set for 25 focus points. And the other is set to 72. I may reprogram to use these two latter buttons for something else as I see no use for 25 or 72 focus points for my bird photography. Whenever I need to use Single focus point I just press and hold the "AF-ON" button. I disable AF-S option. I use AF-C 99% of the time.



May 10, 2016 at 04:03 AM
ShutteredMe
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


Thang wrote:
My back "AF-ON" button is set to Single point. My default is set to Group. I don't use the "AF-ON" button to activate focus. I use the shutter button for that. My Pv button is set for 25 focus points. And the other is set to 72. I may reprogram to use these two latter buttons for something else as I see no use for 25 or 72 focus points for my bird photography. Whenever I need to use Single focus point I just press and hold the "AF-ON" button. I disable AF-S option. I use AF-C 99% of the
...Show more

Ah ok... those buttons are use to change the AF Mode instantaneously and it will return to the default once you release them. I am so use to using the AF-ON for focusing but your method seems interesting. I'm gonna give a try to see if it works for me.
Thanks Thang.
BTW.. When are you going to visit the Eagles again?


-Quang



May 10, 2016 at 04:36 AM
Frogfish
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


ShutteredMe wrote:
Anyone know how to assign the FN1 + wheel or the PV + wheel to change AF Mode? I hate having to have to use both hands to do it every time.

-Quang


After reading how Steve and Thang have setup the D500 with Group I had to give that a try. For BIF it's bloody superb e.g. (I'll post the boring photos later if anyone is interested) there are blackbirds that fly across a 15m canal, from trees on one side to trees on the other .. it takes them 2 secs tree to tree or 1.5 secs across the canal itself. Waiting for a bird to make the 'run' means fingers on buttons and VF held close to, but not on, my eye. Subject appears, VF to eye, , focus acquisition and fire in 1.5 secs. I'm only getting rear view shots of the birds but that 'Group setting' is insanely fast & accurate.

The issue however is that as a 'birder' and not just a 'bird photographer', I'm rarely sitting still in one place unless I've found a bird I particularly want good shots of. So I'm not in a hide or settled down for Peregrine, Eagle etc. action. In this scenario the Group setting becomes an issue as I'm often shooting at perched birds in deep foliage too and I've found that if even just one of the 4 focus points has a bush or branch closer than the subject then focus is ignored on the other 3 points and focus switches to the unwanted nearer bush/branch.

In that scenario I must switch to single point - and a one touch button to switch between those two modes is going to be the ideal scenario. The FN1 button is the obvious solution of course as it would enable instant switching with one hand without even taking a finger off the AF-on or shutter button. I still haven't figgered out how to program it though - my only option in the menu is OFF !



May 10, 2016 at 05:31 AM
ShutteredMe
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


Frogfish wrote:
After reading how Steve and Thang have setup the D500 with Group I had to give that a try. For BIF it's bloody superb e.g. (I'll post the boring photos later if anyone is interested) there are blackbirds that fly across a 15m canal, from trees on one side to trees on the other .. it takes them 2 secs tree to tree or 1.5 secs across the canal itself. Waiting for a bird to make the 'run' means fingers on buttons and VF held close to, but not on, my eye. Subject appears, VF to eye, , focus
...Show more

The instructions starts on page 97 of the Menu Guide under f1 Custom Control Assignment. The Menu Guide can be found here: http://download.nikonimglib.com/archive2/4A2Jc00ruuUU02OeiLg39XoEEc68/D500MG_(En)01.pdf
You can only use Pv or Pv+Wheel, not both. I am going to try the Pv button one of the AF mode and see how it goes.

-Quang



May 10, 2016 at 01:01 PM
mfrank999
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


Thang wrote:
Quang - too long for what? My thinking is this. Group focus avoids the BG and gives priority to the subject first. So by setting AF block to 5, it would stay longer on the subject and nowhere else. I think that's a win win situation for us bird photographers.

Below is another sequence with busy BG. With my canon system, those rocks would have been tack sharp...




Thang,
I assume you have shot with the 7DII



May 10, 2016 at 03:13 PM
Thang
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


Lol for almost two yrs with the 600 is ii and 500 is ii

Chk my posting history and the 7d2 thread

mfrank999 wrote:
Thang,
I assume you have shot with the 7DII





May 10, 2016 at 03:46 PM
ShutteredMe
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · D500 Settings for Birds in Flight ?


I was thinking Single Point AF, it would be long if you missed focus and have to wait for it to focus again on the subject, but I guess Group AF will solve that issue. Also I guess you could pump the AF-ON/Shutter button and get it focus faster.
Damn you are GOOD with the D500 and 2-5 combo. I am still learning to use it. I tried setting the AF-ON to Single Point like you said and I actually like it, but I need retrain myself to use the Shutter button again.. .

-Quang


Thang wrote:
Quang - too long for what? My thinking is this. Group focus avoids the BG and gives priority to the subject first. So by setting AF block to 5, it would stay longer on the subject and nowhere else. I think that's a win win situation for us bird photographers.

Below is another sequence with busy BG. With my canon system, those rocks would have been tack sharp...







May 10, 2016 at 07:02 PM
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