D800: focus setting for wildlife

Started Mar 29, 2014 | Discussions thread
T O Shooter Veteran Member • Posts: 7,390
Re: D800: focus setting for wildlife

Lance B wrote:

p m h wrote:

Landscape photographer here http://500px.com/protik. Basically zero experience with wildlife photography and AF-S with Single point is the only mode i ever use for landscape photography (well, the truth is most of the time I use contrast detection focus in liveview). However, i've acquired a afs 80-400mm couple of weeks ago and have an opportunity to shoot sandhill cranes this weekend.

So, what focus setting you guys use for wildlife, especially birds in flight?

Firstly, use "Back Button Focusing", or more plainly, use the rear "AF-ON" button for focusing and decouple the focus from the half press shutter. I now use the "AF-ON" button for all my shooting. This way, you can focus and recompose or keep focusing more easily and then press the shutter when it suits you.

Secondly, I use AF-C for birds/animals and switch between single point for stationary birds/animals and either use 9 or 21 point for birds in flight. I have used single point for BIF as well with success, but you need to keep the AF point on the bird as you may lose focus acquisition.

When focusing on the bird, I keep my thumb on the rear "AF-ON" button and then press the shutter at the appropriate time. If using AF-C and 9 or 21 point, just follow the bird and keep your thumb on the rear "AF-ON" button and fire when ready or use Continuous High "CH" or Continuous Low "CL" for number of shutters per second.

Same settings as Lance.  I'd like to know how you make out with this.  Give us an update.  If you happen to be close enough to the cranes ( never seems to happen for me ) that your final images won't be crops, set your AF point or cluster off centre, so that the bird won't be smack in the centre.  Composition wise, it generally looks better if the bird has somewhere to "go" in front of him ( or her I guess )

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