D4 for shooting birds

Started Jun 4, 2012 | Discussions thread
2wheel
Regular MemberPosts: 389
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Re: zone system
In reply to corneaboy, Jun 5, 2012

Corneaboy,

Don't mean to be flippant but, several folks have already answered your question.

1st... Your quandary is not D4 specific. Many of us shoot in full manual (Not talking about AF) more often than not and go through a process of target acquisition, test exposures and settling in on ISO, Shutter and Aperture. (Among other settings)

Chances are, if you like the light on the perched bird, you'll like the light on the bird in flight. If you don't, you either have misjudged the exposure (And maybe your position?) to begin with or the lighting has changed somehow.

As an aside... Assuming you are off the mark on the exposure, you have a huge amount of latitude to adjust in post.

2nd... Using the AF-On button does not slow you down one bit and has nothing to do with the exposure mode. A good photog stays flexible and that includes being ready to make adjustments quickly. Even the best photographers don't get the shot 100% of the time.

For the situation you have described, if you lose the bird from the target AF point, which is also your spot or center weighted reference point, you are now metering the sky. If you are in any auto mode: Aperture, Priority, Program, you have now told the camera to expose for that area of the frame and not the target. i.e. The bird.

This problem goes away in full manual.

I'd encourage you to shoot in full manual all the time. It will hone your skills and allow you to judge just when Aperture or Shutter priority modes might work for you.

Even better, pick up an old film body with only manual modes and force yourself to think about the scene.

Lastly, The histogram may show you clipped highlights and more but, with a dark object against a bright background like the sky, it's not all that powerful a tool. Meaning, maybe check it once on the perched bird, and then let it go.

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