D800 for Birds in Flight

Started May 18, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Dileep Kumar
Dileep Kumar Contributing Member • Posts: 698
D800 for Birds in Flight

As many here, I also enjoy Birds in Flight and was so happy when D800 was announced with D4 focusing system.

I felt first time Nikon gave us a camera that is ideal for both birding and wildlife.

I had some setbacks since D800 arrived. First, my 500mm f/4 VR lens started showing some serious focusing problem. When I explained the issues to Nikon regional service centre in Dubai, they told it is likely to cost 2 to 3k US$ to fix it. Later I realized the problem was associated with TC14E.

Then, D800 started showing extreme left focus point issues.

As part of weekend birding preparation, I gave up my TC14E, did some more tests & focus fine tuning on the lens yesterday. And at last took the D800 + 500mm combo out today for the much awaited focusing speed tests of D800 for BIF.

My basic setup:

1.2 crop mode, 6 fps (with grip + AA batteries), D9 or D21, CH, Centre Focus point locked position and hand-held.

I spotted Pallid Swifts in action when I arrived in the fields. I knew I can’t find a better subject to test my new combo than this fast and erratically flying bird.

And those who are into bird photography might know shooting Swifts (especially at close distance) tests the limits of any Pro-SLR camera & lens out in the market. Here I really missed my TC (first birding without a TC14E ever since I bought my tele lens).

When I finished the first round, I didn’t have words to express my joy. I had done similar exercise before with D300, D300s, D700 & D3s and success ratio was limited to probably 2 to 5 %. But this was something so special and all of sudden I found success ratio shooting up to more than 25%. If my posture was right, I found almost every other shot in focus, and at least three or four shots came out sharp in a single burst.

You know, last one week I had been going thru a lot of trouble (problem with both camera & lens), talking to local Nikon service centre, their regional centre, then Nikon USA, and doing several tests with various lens and camera combinations to pin point the issues as requested by Nikon USA.

All of sudden I felt so light and relaxed.

I’m sure you also will enjoy your D800 with its incredible capabilities we have already seen here in various posts.

Kind regards,

Note: I yet to learn to post process D800 images. Also, can't do any sharpening in PP.

1) Pallid Swift (overexposed a bit to control noise & for details).


3) A shot portrays Swallows feeding method for the intended school book


5) Golden Oriole (flight with an insect in its beak)

6) Crop

7) White-cheeked Tern


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