Seeking ways of tracking birds in flight with 500mm lens

Started May 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
SanMat Senior Member • Posts: 2,861
Back (AF) button focusing

Another suggestion, if not mentioned already - use the focus button on the back of the camera, instead of focusing with the shutter release button.  That way, the shutter release button doesn't have to do double duty - the AF system can keep tracking the subject independently of what the shutter-release button is doing.  For moving subjects this is a nice advantage (just make sure you also disable the focus capability of the shutter release button - off hand I can't remember where that is in the camera menus).

If you look on sites/blogs like Arthur Morris/Robert O'Toole et al., they (i.e. pros) all use back-button focusing (I think the Morris blog ( even has a separate tutorial on back-button focusing).  What's unfortunate in the case of the Pentax cameras is the AF button is a bit small, whereas with Nikon/Canon the dedicated AF is more pronounced.

Takes some getting used to, but I switched to exclusively using back-button focusing a couple of years ago (for all situations, not just birds-in-flight), and I have no intention of switching back.


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