Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Use Nikon Autofocus? You MUST Watch this Video by Steve Perry

I have been shooting some wildlife recently with my Nikon cameras. With the spring weather finally here, I love to get out in my kayak and photograph birds and other wildlife.
 
My current telephoto lenses are a 300mm f4 AF-I (very old autofocus lens) and a 500mm f4 Ai-P (manual focus). Both are excellent optics, but are a bit dated. I have worked on my manual focus technique with the 500mm, and can even catch the occasional sharp image of a bird in flight.
Bald Eagle in Flight, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor Ai-P 500mm f4 Manual Focus Lens + 1.4X Teleconverter
iso 1600, f5.6, 1/1000 sec.
 
Of course, things get easier with autofocus, especially Nikon's modern AF-S lenses. I'm about to get my hands on a lovely 200-400mm f4 AF-S VR lens, so I'm reading up on autofocus technique.
 
Here's an outstanding 12 minute video by Steve Perry, showing some of the key concepts for successful autofocus with Nikon DSLRs:
 
If you have problem with getting to the video, (Click Here).
 
One of the techniques that Perry practices is "back button" AF. This means using only the back AF-on button to focus, and not the typical half-press of the shutter release. With the camera set to continuous AF (AF-C), you simply let your finger off of the back button when you want to lock in focus, or keep pressing to follow and focus on a moving subject. Really helpful.
 
Just to try it out, I took my D700 and 70-300mm AF-S VR lens out tonight and gave it a shot with some flying geese. It worked really well. I literally can't wait to get my hands on that 200-400!
 
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