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Another first time user of the D2X

Discussion in 'Birds' started by james thiel, Jul 10, 2005.

  1. Well I finally broke down and bought a D2X. I have used the D100 for the past three years. While I really liked the camera, it just was not up to this birding fever I have. These were my very first shots with the camera. I have so much to learn. All you great people here have helped and I am sure I will need lots more help in the coming months These shots were all shot in the high speed crop mode. Then they were cropped even more. Very little post processing other than some DEE added. I shot these at ISO 400 in order to keep my shutter speed up. I could have used even more speed on a couple of these. Shot with the Sigma 500 4.5 lens and Nikon TC14EII.

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    Then a couple more of a GBH that landed close by. I noticed the ridges on the legs that I have never seen in my previous heron pictures.

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  2. You're off to a great start, Jim! You're gonna love this machine! Be patient and shoot, shoot, shoot. The hardest thing for me is still trying to keep birds in flight within the hsc markings. My longest lens is the 300 and then I usually use a 1.4 so I need to shoot hsc to fill the frame (of the resulting picture) better.

    If you don't already, I'd recommend you shoot the birdies in manual. Frank got me hooked on that and I don't shoot any other way now. It builds your exposure confidence so you can focus (pardon the pun) on other things while shooting, like getting the bird tracked and in focus! ;) 
  3. Nice series James. It looks like your going to enjoy that new camera. :)  :) 

    Thanks for sharing.
  4. Well if your initial work with the D2X is any indication you are off to a wonderful start. Very nice images.
  5. Thanks Kevin, I did not have much of a problem keeping them in the hsc as they were pretty far away for the most part. I had a few with clipped wings when they came right at me.

    It would seem to me that shooting in manual would be hard as the light changes so fast when the birds are flying. How do you deal with this?

    Thanks Dennis and Gordon. I have a long ways to go as this camera is so complex in comparison with the D100. I will be busy practicing for a very long time. I hope someday it will become second nature much like the D100 did after three years.
  6. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  7. The last one is the one I like the most.
  8. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005
    Excellent start with your new cam James. You already have some very good images. I predict that you are going to love the X.
  9. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Congratulations on the new XXX and wonderful images.
  10. Paul thank you for your encouragement. First I would like to say our hearts go out to you and your countrymen. I am sure it has been a difficult week. Also, I heard you and Bill Dewey got together. Bill is a great guy and it is he that got me into this birding thing and thus I blame him for all the money I have spent lately.

    The thing with the spikes is actually part of the osprey tower they built a few years back. It is my understanding this is the first year the osprey's are using it.

    To Giilles, Frank and Gale I thank you for looking and your kind words. I think it will be a long road ahead to master this camera, but so far I am very happy.
  11. Great first shots it is a fantastic camera isn't it, cant wait till I get more comfortable with it
  12. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  13. wonderful captures. I look forward to your future ones as you get to know the camera better.
  14. Hmmm... Maybe I haven't been shooting in conditions where the light is frequently changing. You know Florida, it's mostly always just sunny. ;)  But what I've found is once I settle on a combo of aperture and shutter speed, do my test shots (getting to a point where I'm just under where I get blinkies), that whether the flying bird is shot against the blue sky, cloudy sky or foliage, the bird is always properly exposed. The backgrounds may vary accordingly but the bird never seems to blow.

    These setting work for snowys, egrets and ibis, but I have to repeat the process when trying to get properly exposed shots of little blues, tricolors, cormorants, vultures, etc. Some days, I've had it where I can shoot one white bird, give the aperture dial a quick turn a few clicks then rapidly shoot a darker bird. Lately what I've settled on is shoot just white flying birds, change, then shoot darker birds and switch back and forth. It's more relaxing that way. ;) 

    Hope that has answered your questions. All I can say is it has worked very well for me. I guess my proof has been, when I've posted some shots, the various comments about the exposure being good on the white birds.
  15. Thanks for the reply Kevin. I will give it a try after I learn the camera a little more. Here in the Pacific NW we often do have changing light a lot. On Saturday when these were taken part of the sky was bright and sunny and the other part was very dark.

    When you shoot these bigger birds what aperture do you normally use? I find that in these shots I needed to stop down more as the leading wing in the foreground is blurry. My shutter speed was 1/1000 so I am sure it was the very shallow depth of field. This would be compounded by the 500 plus 1.4 tc. I am sure I only had a foot or so to work with. Your comments are much appreciated. Thanks.
  16. I went back and checked a number of shots of mine of white birds. I checked egrets against "black" water, foliage, bright blue sky and cloudy sky. Some were in direct sunlight, others were in overcast light. Some were at 1/640 f8 @ ISO200 and others were 1/800 f9 @ ISO100. There were some variations in other shots.

    Using these values or at least in that area my whitest-whites never seemed to go beyond 230s. I did try to increase my f-stop so I could get better depth of field but only rarely was able to get past f9-10-ish. I'm still a little leary of noise cropping up as I see it show up during sharpening. When that happens then I just use a layer mask and paint on the sharpening. I'm pretty comfortable up to ISO400 but generally like to stay around 100-200. I haven't really tried shooting birds above 400 so please don't think I'm saying above 400 is too noisy...I just haven't played around with that high of an ISO yet.
  17. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005

    Kevin's reply is spot on. The reason that you shoot manual is so that the changing background doesn't fool the camera into over- or under-exposing the birds as they fly from sky background to tree or water background. You have hit on one problem with this though, and that is manual doesn't work nearly as well when the light changes rapidly (cloudy to sunny, or sunlight to shadow). For those situations, I still use A mode, and just ride the EV comp.

    As for the aperture setting for big birds, anything less than f8 is going to cause the wingtips to be OOF. I have shot geese and GBH's as low as 5.6, and still gotten decent results, as long as you center the head and body in the DOF, but I wouldn't go any lower than that.
  18. Thanks Kevin and Frank for filling me in on this. Lately here in Seattle the weather has been changing by the minute. When we get more consistent light I will try this.

    I am having trouble keeping the film speed up if I go above 5.6. I wonder how high I can crank up the ISO before getting into noise trouble. I know it makes a difference on nailing the exposure to begin with. I will have to work on this also.

    Next question is how much does it matter shooting compressed NEF's vs no compression? I could not shoot compressed with the D100 as it was way too slow. I have been shooting compressed to save on memory. Thanks again for your help on this.
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