Butterfly

by Rodrigo

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17

The best setting to employ in this situation is back-button autofocus. It will put you in control of when the camera can search for focus and when to stop, and will separate the AF start/lock function from your shutter button, so that pressing the shutter button itself does not start up the AF hunt again when you least want it to. You can set up the ...


16

Single Point Auto-focus: Fastest and most accurate auto-focus mode, great to use in most situations, including predictable action shots where you can keep the object on the point. I like to decouple the auto-focus mechanism from the half-press to avoid focusing on the background if the subject unexpectedly moves off the point. The camera is told which ...


12

Use a large depth-of-field (DOF) or use the fact that object farther than the half of the hyperfocal distance are "acceptably focused". You can use a DOF calculator like this one to calculate what aperture to use for a certain DOF or to calculate the hyperfocal distance. The drawback of large DOF is that you need a small aperture, which limits the amount ...


10

Set it to continuous autofocus: AF-C. The camera will then (a) always try to keep whatever is under the active focus point in focus and (b) fire the shutter whenever you ask, regardless of whether the device thinks it's in focus or not. You might also want to set it to the center focus point and shoot wider than you would otherwise, cropping in post. AF-A ...


10

Obviously, the lens cannot focus any faster just because the drive mode is set to burst. The time it takes to focus is the time it takes to focus. What you can do is tell the camera to take the shot without waiting for focus to lock. This is called Release Priority as apposed to Focus Priority. To change that you have to go to the Setup menu and find the ...


9

In my experience, autofocus rarely works well on flying birds. The worst thing about it is that it's unpredictable — invariably, by Murphy's law, the moment when the eagle you've been tracking for 15 minutes finally spots prey on the ground and decides to do an amazing aerobatic flip-and-dive maneuver is also the exact moment when the autofocus ...


9

Reliability is the true reason. When a camera focuses continuously, it keeps measuring focus and readjusting. In a perfect implementation it would lock focus and follow your subject perfectly but that does not happen. In practice, cameras spend a good percentage of the time catching up to a subject's motion, so your subject may not be exactly in focus at the ...


8

I recently purchased a 7D (with the intent of using its movie capability as well). I will share my experience. Like the 5DMkII, the 7D allows you to autofocus during shooting by pressing the shutter button/AF button. As che suggests in his answer for the 5D, the results are poor if you do this during your live shoot and I would definitely not recommend ...


6

The Sony Alpha A55 is a new ILC (SLD, actually) camera that can do this.


5

Depth of Field (DoF) is a myth. But it is a myth whose effects we can see with our own eyes, so we believe it to be true. That being the case, we use DoF as if it were true. With a camera/lens system focused at any distance other than infinity, there is only a single distance that will result in a point source of light being projected on the film/sensor ...


4

The new Nikon DSLRs (D3100 and D7000) support that feature. As for non-DSLRs, the new Sony SLTs (A33 and A55) and the micro-4/3 models (Panasonic GH1 and newly announced GH2).


4

Turn off autofocus (M setting) and set lens to hyperfocal distance, if the birds are distant. Set the camera for single focus on the initial subject, AF-S. See http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d7000/af-settings.htm


4

We shot round 2 yesterday, and I went back to the 50 to try again. This time, I shot in "AI Focus" mode instead of "AI Servo" mode, and the 50 worked great. This left me feeling a bit unsatisfied, however, because I couldn't really explain why I was seeing the results I was seeing. The user manual, for instance, implies that AI Servo should be ideal for ...


4

This is the kind of situation that honestly takes practice to do well; technology can assist you, but it's not going to solve this kind of problem on its own. In these situations I do try to (a) boost ISO and (b) use a deeper Depth of Field where I can, but often you're in poor light and there's only so much you can do. Where I can I'll shoot at F8 instead ...


3

I have experience with a D7000 and an 18-200 lens. Some of this may be basic. I'm assuming birds at a distance of 20 to 500 feet. First, equipment settings. Ensure that VR (vibration reduction) is on when shooting. (Just remember to turn it off on the lens before you turn the camera off.) Auto ISO with minimum=100. Either shutter mode or manual mode on ...


3

Automatic focus can still be very useful in this case. If the eagle is so far away that you can set the lens to a fixed focus ahead of time, then it will be a small spot in a large picture. If not, you really need to actually focus the lens for that eagle that time. Auto focus can do this much faster than you can manually. Look around in your menus or ...


3

I shoot both a Canon 50D and the micro four-thirds G3 and GX7. I use my 50D/EF 400mm f/5.6L USM combo for bird in flight shots. For me, the difference is chalk and cheese at the speed of reaction I have to have to get a BiF shot. The G3 with my 45-200 OIS are perfectly capable of taking perched/walking bird shots, though, as you suspected. G3+45-200 ...


3

If your lens has a distance scale it will indicate the approximate distance to the point of focus as measured from the film/sensor plane. In the image below, the point of focus is 1.5 meters (5') in front of the film/sensor plane. As the point of focus approaches infinity, the distance measurement becomes less precise. In general, the longer the focal length ...


3

You should check out Canon's new EOS-M. It does continuous autofocus and has the added bonus that you can re-use your canon lenses on it.


2

You could try using AE-L/AF-L.


2

I believe the Nikon D7000 supports autofocus in movie mode, beyond that most that I'm aware of are manual focus.


2

I have a few things I try when timing doesn't allow pre-selecting a focus point: Focus and recompose Using the center focus point I'll half-press the shutter and recompose to my desired composition. Use a smaller aperture You can use a depth of field calculator (such as this one) to ensure the subject you're photographing is in focus within the near and ...


2

It depends on the camera, but in general, even a basic PDAF should be light years ahead of CDAF for any kind of action shot. The problem with CDAF is that it is a guess and check approach. The camera can't tell that it is in focus unless it tries going too far to one side and then too far to the other. For a still object, this works ok, but when the ...


2

If there's lots of birds then the easier answer is probably to pick an area, set up your focus manually, using a tree or rock outcrop or a calculation, and then wait with your tripod and a cable/remote release ready to fire when a bird comes into view. That's how an awful lot of the best nature pictures are taken.


1

Going on the assumption you are asking about using point focus vs area focus, there isn't a perfect answer and it depends entirely on what your skill with the focus system is, the capability of the focus system and what you are shooting. The strength of area auto focus is that it allows the camera to quickly find something to focus on without thinking ...


1

Combining and restating Toph's answer and Matt Grum's comment: learn when to best use the (many! different!) autofocus modes of your camera, and practice with them extensively. There are many combinations of AF modes and some of them will be absolutely horrible for certain situations, while others will be horrible for other situations. You've already ...


1

In addition to single frames shot using "focus and recompose" there may be times when you want to focus and then take multiple frames without refocusing as conditions in the viewfinder may change between each shot. By selecting Single AF and locking in the focus using the camera's back body focus button the camera will hold that focus as you shoot several ...


1

The problem is at such close distances, the depth of field is very shallow. That means that if you move the camera an inch, your subject will no longer be in focus, and the camera will try to refocus. Many autofocus systems will "hunt" as they try to focus on close objects. If you have a tripod, use it. The autofocus will probably work, as the camera ...


1

This question is kind of old, but it doesn't look like anyone's mentioned the recently released Canon 70D. The Canon 70D has a new type of AF built into the imaging sensor ("Dual-Pixel CMOS AF"), so can do phase-detect focusing while recording (or in Live View). While many other cameras can do contrast-based focusing (even during recording), this is a big ...


1

The Canon T4i has continuous autofocus during movie record as well. Actually, for a more comprehensive and up-to-date list, I'd recommend checking out snapsort, which will list all cameras matching a certain feature. In our case: The best recent DSLRs that can focus continuously while recording movies



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