FT 1 continue focus

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Stefan BW Senior Member • Posts: 1,455
Re: FT 1 continue focus

rronald wrote:

I had buy a V2. I want to know if I buy a FT1 connect to some Nikkor or Sigma lens. Is the continue focus enough for bird flying?

I don't have an FT1, use 95% the CX70-300, and circa 90% for birds or bats in flight.

Anyway, this is how I tend to use the various AF modes for birds in flight.

With the V2:

Large birds (dove, crow and >) with AF-C (= 1 central focusing point), does a fine job.

Small: mostly with locked focus (= estimated distance / luck), 30fps. No AF-A needed.

Thomas Stirr has had success with AF-A catching swallows against the clear sky. These are exceptions, perhaps standing close to a nesting place with tons of birds around. I'd tend to prefer locked focus in a similar situation.

For birds or bats flying over a water surface, I'll sometimes use AF-A, holding the V2 in a 45 degree angle. The outer focusing points may then focus on the water, which may be just right for the fast approaching bat or bird, IF you can press the lock focus at the right moment. This technique needs a fast reaction and lots of practice. Samples below.

Daubenton's bat eating an insect in free flight

The same individual, a panning attempt

So I'd speculate the V2 + FT1 wouldn't profit much in BIF situations from the AF-A mode with more than one central focusing point. With the FT-1 and a Sigma C 100-400, I guess Tord shoots ducks in flight with ease.

With the V3 it is a totally different story.

Large birds: AF-C with center point hardly works for raptors in flight, if they are not very slow or very close. With a lot of practice, I can now catch most larger birds with AF-A against the bright sky. But it's never the smooth, nice shooting experience as with the V2 and the CX70-300.

Small birds: As with the V2 in most cases, here I'll strictly use AF-A combined with the back button focus. BBF is a superb improvement over the V2's "lock focus" press on the wheel. Start with an estimated distance, re-lock the focus in action, and so on.

I tend to think, for large birds in flight the V3 + FT1 would not be a good combination. And that's still the typical use case for most people: ducks, swans, pelicans, cormorants and raptors. With the V2 + FT1 chances are better for these, see above.

For me, who shoots songbirds in flight, the V3 is still a great tool, as this is almost always shooting at "estimated distances", with locked focus and back button focus. Sample:

European robin

 Stefan BW's gear list:Stefan BW's gear list
Nikon 1 V2 Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6
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