7D II Setting for Birds in Flight

Started 8 months ago | Questions thread
WilbaW
WilbaW Forum Pro • Posts: 11,388
Re: 7D II Setting for Birds in Flight
2

By now you know the answer to your question is to use M with Auto-ISO (and compensate the metering to get the image brightness you want), but are you begging the question of what's the best mode for BIF?

My default is full manual, with the ISO set to give a to-the-right (TTR) histogram for the light, rather than the subject or background. The method goes like this:

  • set the shutter to the slowest that works for controlling blur, e.g. 1/1600, 1/2000;
  • set the aperture to the widest that works for DOF, e.g. f/5.6, f/8;
  • set the ISO so the meter on the right of the viewfinder shows around +1 and 2/3 or +2 on the sky in the direction you expect to be shooting;
  • take a test shot of the sky, check the histogram and blinkies, and adjust ISO if necessary to put the curve TTR;

In practice this boils down to switching into my BIF custom mode (C1, with all the AF settings I want) when I get to the lake, taking a test shot of the sky, and tweaking the ISO if necessary. Then any time I see a BIF I just switch to C1 and I'm all set. I remember to re-check the ISO every hour or so or whenever the cloud cover changes.

This means your metering won't change with the darkness of the bird or the background, so you don't have to constantly fiddle with the compensation to keep the image brightness where you want it, it's set for the light on any bird in the open against any background.

Where you set the meter depends on a couple of things. The light in Australia is typically harsher than in Northern Europe or Northern North America, so I find I need it a bit lower than, for instance, photographers from England or The Netherlands.

You also need to find out the raw headroom for your camera, so you know how far to the right you can have the R, G, and B spikes in your histogram and still be able to comfortably recover highlight detail. In practice I know I'm fine if I have the rightmost spike touching the right side of the histogram border.

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Canon EOS 60D Canon EOS 7D Mark II
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