Oh, what to do, what to do...

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR' started by Eduardoo, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. I need to buy a camera for my upcoming trip to the Amazonian region. This will be a 7 day birding trip that I have been planning for almost a year. I have tons of insect repellent and sunscreen lotion, now I just need a Nikon body.

    99% of my pictures will be birds using a Nikon 200-400 plus 1.4 TC. Even with this combination, birds usually occupy just a small portion of the frame, so cropping and enlarging are unavoidable. That means I will need all the MP I can get.

    So, what to buy, a Fuji S5 pro for its excellent high ISO performance, or maybe a D200 for the extra resolution and cropping room? Or should I get a D2Xs?, or what?

    I fear that as soon as I buy the new body Nikon will finally announce the D200s, or D300 or D3 or all of the above. :rolleyes:

    As always I will appreciate your thoughtful comments.

    Regards,

    Eduardo.
     
  2. Cope

    Cope

    Apr 5, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    I have the D200, but maybe if I was going somewhere that might destroy my camera, I would get a used DH1 or 2. BTW, keep the sunscreen off the camera. It will wipe out the lettering, and probably get under the rubber and lift it too.
     
  3. This is my area of imaging and I have both the D2X and the D200. I do pretty much only birding....

    I think the answer is clear here, at least for me, since you will be working in between the trees you need the best possible AF accuracy and speed, so you need to work with center only AF on continous AF. The D2X/D2Xs is vastly better then the D200 on aquiring pinpoint accurate AF then the D200. Noise performance is about the same.

    My suggestion get a used D2X, same innards really as the D2Xs and cheaper. that way you wont feel so bad when the next generation is announced.
     
  4. Hi Andréas. Thx for answering.

    Would you please elaborate on your advice about focusing settings? You recommend continuous AF (I suppose that is w/focus priority, right?) with center only AF.

    Wouldn’t it be better to use continuous AF with Dynamic-area AF (just in case the bird moves?)

    I would appreciate your comments.

    Regards,

    Eduardo.
     
  5. Center area with continous focus. Because
    • You need pin point accuracy among tree branches
    • With the dynamic group diamond you risk getting disturbing branches confusing the AF.
    • Continous AF because the bird moves either by itself or with the wind in branches

    Consider this shot: No way to have done this with anything else but Center area, and only with the D2X (s) the D200 is not accurate enough for this.
    original.

    Often I try to focus on the eye because with a TC17 on a 400mm lens at 680mm the DOF is so shallow that you need to focus on the eyes, the rest will be slightly out of focus...

    Important note: I have turned off the AF on the trigger button and I only use the AF-ON button for focusing. I think it is custom menu A6 That way you can focus with the thumb on the button, let go and recompose and take the shot with the trigger, It's the only way to go, but you need to practise this a lot - does not come natural...

     
  6. Interesting.

    Do you set focus priority with continous focus?

    Regards,

    Eduardo.
     
  7. NO AF and framerate, otherwise you will get nothing sometimes :) and the bird might move into focus while you are shooting...

    If you have a rare bird and the setting on focus priority, you might not get any shots, with Framrate and AF it will shoot.....

     
  8. Thanks for all your input. I will think about it and, of course, do a lot of experimentation.

    You've been very helpful.

    Regards,

    Eduardo.


    One more question, pls, Andréas, What focus settings do you use for birds in flight? Thx.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2007
  9. Allow me to jump in here. I'll assume use of the D200. The D2x has similar equivalent settings.

    With the a6 setting OFF, the AF-ON button controls the focus. Using the Continuous Focus setting, you want the a1 on FPS. If not, you can't recompose and shoot after you've locked the focus, because the camera will think the picture is out of focus.

    For birds in flight I usually keep the AF-ON button depressed to get continuous focus and Cl or Ch repeating mode. I keep the camera in spot exposure as the sky will tend to fool the exposure if you have a lot of cropping. For white birds, I set -1EV and adjust based on results. For black/dark birds, I set +1EV and adjust.

    Steve Abramson
     
  10. Interesting to see you settings Steve, I do similar EV comp for dark and light object. If I shoot in metered modes I always shoot matrix metering in aperture mode, I have found that since I'm not always have the bird in the center fo the frame having it in Spot makes my exposure go all over the place. I think the best way is to use pre set manual settings but I'm not good enough on that yet.... FRank Wilson does that...

    One option is of course manual speed and aperture you want and to turn AutoISO on, The body will then vary the ISO to matcxh your manual speed and aperture settings, sort of a hybrid shutter/aperture mode. If you do this you probably should max out ISO at 400 or so....

    as for focusing settings they are different for the D2X then the D200

    I alwasy have my cameras in Continous AF mode I never use single ever... Maybe manual once in a while..

    D200, does very well in Group dynamics, I have my group dynamic mode set for center area, not closest.
    D2X, does not do that well for BIF's in any other mode then center, for me so there are no settings for that, more the center mode itself of course...

    On both cameras I have the AF/on button only AF and Normal lockon setting. And I have Framrate + focus as my settings for shooting
     
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