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D2x and BIF, follow up question

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by Baywing, Aug 6, 2007.

  1. Baywing


    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    Just wondering if anyone with a D2x has tried closest subject priority AF when shooting BIF. Seems like it might be useful. My second session at Talons yesterday went a little worse than expected, I forgot to switch to dynamic area AF for the BIF stuff, AF was a disaster. As the birds are rewarded after each flight, it doesn't take too many runs until they are full or tired or both. Back again, next time I'll have a pre-flight checklist written up! Maybe I don't know what does work, but I'm finding a ton of things that don't:biggrin: at least I'm learnin' a thing or two.......:Smart:
  2. The first thing you need to do is confirm your in Continuous Servo AF. If you were shooting landscapes in single servo Af the session prior, you might not have switched. I think everyone has run into this at least once. I start out using Dynamic area AF (second up from bottem). Usually this works most of the time. If I see I'm not able to keep focus like with fast moving Terns I'll go to Group dynamic pattern 2 center area (custom function a3). This will give me 3 accross sensor light up. I think this is the one I would use for Talons because the raptor is coming straight at you for the most part. Getting to your first question, I have tried dynamic area AF with closest subject priority on occsion with some sucuss. The conditions are open sky with no background and a single bird. Seems to work fairly well. Also have tried it at Bosque with blast off's when its impossible to focus on a single bird. You can also use closet focus priority with group dynamic, again I think you need a clear unobstructed background. The bottom line is use whatever is working the best that day. If you see one isn't keeping focus then try another. Birds in Flight in my opinion present one of the most difficult challenges in photography. I have found that if you can somewhat master birds in flight, everthing else is easy.
    Hope this helps
  3. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    Hello Baywing

    A) Which dynamic area are you using? If you're using the second option from the bottom, you'll find yourself in deep doodoo.....while you select a main sensor reticule, every one of the focus points is active and you'll never get your BIF shots correctly. B) Is there an issue using single area (one point?) If you're using the 3rd option up, try selecting the group which gives you three horizontal sensors based around the center. While it does work, it's no where near as good as good old single area with just one focus point selected.

    B) Forget closest subject priority if you're using anything over 200mm it simply won't work and it is stated as such somewhere in the manual. (it doesn't quantify the mm's at which it won't work. If memory serves me it simply states "telephoto" lenses).

    C) 99.99999999% of the time I shoot AF-C, single area, release set to focus. In your situation, assuming you can get a sufficient initial focus lock, I'd also set a4 to short. if you're shooting raptors coming in to be fed, they shouldn't be flying to jumpily, but rather they should be on a fairly predictable flight path.
  4. Baywing


    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    Just to be clear, when I use dynamic area AF it's the 3rd one up, with the center group selected.
    Michael, thanks. I do always use AF-C, it was the dynamic AF I forgot, left it on single area af with the camera locked on the center sensor. Thanks for your input.
    Jim, thanks again for your help, I realize you also posted this info at DPR when I asked the question there. I'm using the group dynamic with the center group selected. I was thinking the closest subject setting might help the camera stay on the bird and not wander to the brighter mottling of the treed background, but the concensus seems to be that won't help. I have reservations about closest subject anyway, as the field below the bird is in tall clover and I can easy see the camera locking focus on a tall plant. Yes, he isn't too erratic, but maybe I'm more to blame here. I've been hand holding, maybe I should think about the tripod and just keep the ball head loose....

    Additionally, the bird is darker than the background which we've already discussed, AF sensors like bright objects. This latest shoot I tried my 300 f4, I may want to return to the 70-200VR for the 2.8 extra light to help the AF.
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