D4 AF - Question to Pros

Started Apr 27, 2014 | Discussions thread
raika Junior Member • Posts: 35
Re: Sports shooter here, can feel you pain :)

Hello JeminiJoseph

may I give you my experience as a (german) bird-photographer and prof. journalist? All the posts before are right especially in that point: it is all about contrast and almost unimportant which camera you use. I don't have the D4 - because I'm reaching the end of my career. (No longer the newest, fastest things which are in fashion.) So I use the D3 since it came out and the D 800 (which is wonderful also for BIF!) My experience is, that only training can get you better. And sometimes the conditions are so bad in the background, that you could get angry, why the camera does not take the bright and clear bird but some branches, fences ore anything else. My technique is the same, as other posters said. Af-On, the absolute must. Always AF-C (9 or sometimes 21 points, never more) lock on as short as possible, but not "Off" which gets you into trouble, if you loose the bird for one little moment. (Lock on "medium" or even longer is good for sports, no doubt, but these targets are a lot of bigger, as you know.) In former times I used to rattle 8 pics/sec, hoping, one ore two could be sharp. It was not always the case. In these days of D 800 I returned back to the origins and learn, that three pics/sec is plenty. if your general technique is good. I always prefocus, so that the camera is near the target zone, where the bird could be (sometimes wrong but often right) Nothing worse, than having too much way to search for the lens. We don't have time, not even a split second- When the bird(s) arrive, I take them far before they are so near,that I can take the picture. I follow the guy with AF-on pressed - breathlessly hoping, I don't loose him. The rest is simple, as you know. I think it is the same like trap-shooting of artificial targets - no I'm no hunter at all. Just loving birds. Single focus point is only good for big and slow flying birds. You can't fix a fast small bird with 800mm lens and one focus point. That is my experience. To get faster and better I often sit just for training and don't mind shooting doves, gulls or sparrows. Training the eye, the important right thumb for AF, all the process, all the calmness during the persuing period that is important for me, and I like it. It has then made it easier to get a sharp picture of those birds, I wanted and travelled a long way to meet them. In short still one thing: I cannot believe that D4 could not do all this better than D300 which I owned for daily work. Even at that times I preferred D2x when shooting birds...

all the best


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