Seeking ways of tracking birds in flight with 500mm lens

Started May 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
Greyser Veteran Member • Posts: 4,706
Re: Seeking ways of tracking birds in flight with 500mm lens

I shoot 500/4.5 handheld exclusively. The lens is heavy for the prolonged holding indeed. For the quick rapid shots, while on the go, it is not difficult to hold it. However, the trick is to give yourself as much rest between the shots as you can. I always have a monopod with a sidekick gimbal like setup with me. However, I rarely use it: only when I need to hold the lens for the long time waiting for the shot.

I use very forgiving CarrySpeed two contact points shoulder strap. However, I connect it differently than suggested. Also my lens collar is rotated by 90 degrees clockwise (to quickly adapt the rig to the sidekick   of my monopod). I added a soft pad to the front protruding lip of the collar's tripod mount. I usually place my palm in between the padded front piece and lens body, also supporting the lens with my thumb. It may sound very unusual, but helps a lot to quickly draw the lens when needed. The palm is naturally in the hook when I walk having my camera on the left side of my body, and the rig is immediately ready for action.

There is some other things what works for me, shooting the 500/4.5:

  • Always RAW
  • SR on. When you expect some shooting don't forget to wake up the camera and SR half pressing the shutter button.
  • Av or TAv. The latter is more suitable for the BIF shots. However, you have to watch out for Ev compensation: The metering in TAv is strange sometimes leading to overexposure.
  • Shutter 1/800-1/1000 at least
  • Aperture generally is set to 6.3-7.1. Sometimes I use F5.6 and F8
  • Center point AF and metering
  • ISO up to 800
  • AF.S (AF.C has never worked well for me. Also my K-5 starts flopping the mirror uncontrollably after using AF.C)
  • Continuous 7fps machinegunning as I call it. There is nothing even close to the properly composed fine art of photography, I know, but it works.

Don't hesitate to ask questions. I may remember something else

BTW: congratulations on the lens! It is a BIG step forward.



 Greyser's gear list:Greyser's gear list
Pentax K-01 Pentax K-5 IIs Pentax K-3 Nikon D500 Pentax K-1
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