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I am using Nikon D5600 with Kit Lens. I have mostly used Manual Single-Point focus and sometimes Continuous Full-Area focus. When using 70-300mm kit lens, I tried Auto-Focus on a bird at a single place and also when flying.

When the bird is flying and try to focus on it, the focus-point is somewhere else and not on the bird. I have to click it 2-3 times to somehow bring the focus on the bird. By default, it does not recognize moving object and shows focus point on the sky.

Similarly, when the bird is sitting on the pot of water, I use 9 focus points and set the single focus rectangle on the bird. But if the bird is moving from one side to the other of the pot, the auto-focus in not focused on the bird.

enter image description here

I want to know whether I am using it the wrong way or it is the problem of the kit-lens.

This camera I purchased three years ago. I planned to buy a full-frame camera but later, on the advice of experts in this forum, I am sticking to this camera until I master all the functions of this camera and other aspects of photography.

Just in case this camera-lens combination is not suitable for bird or wildlife photography, will it be good to go for another APS-C camera like Fujifilm X-T5/X-H2S or Olympus OM-1. Or, shall I go with any full-frame camera ?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Note: It's actually impossible to tell from such a tiny 25KB jpg, whether that shot is actually in focus or not. I've ignored that in the answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    May 22, 2023 at 18:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: How do I diagnose the source of blurry photos? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    May 22, 2023 at 18:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is this cropped from the original 6,000 x 4,000 pixel size, or just downsized to 444x657? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    May 22, 2023 at 19:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelC Yes. I cropped it to upload from my phone \$\endgroup\$
    – RKh
    May 23, 2023 at 11:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ So this is only 1.2% of the full image? 444/6000 horizontally and 657/4000 vertically? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    May 23, 2023 at 20:36

1 Answer 1

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With any of these modes, you have to be aware that the camera is not actually 'intelligent', nor particularly 'smart'. You have to give it some good clues as you what you're after, and also try your best to follow it yourself.

It's not a bad camera & it's not a bad lens, but it's not …erm …expensive enough to have the latest & smartest eye-tracking & faster than you can blink auto-focus. I have similar but not identical. I have the older D5500 & the even more of a stretch 18-300mm, but I'm going to guess they're similar enough to be a reasonable comparison.

I'm going to assume for this type of shot you're at or near 300mm all the time, which is where it's going to be at its slowest & least forgiving, with an f/6.3 aperture [same as mine]. The smaller your maximum aperture, the slower the focussing will be. In poor light sometimes that can be more 'point & hope' than 'point & shoot'. In decent daylight though, even overcast, it ought to be fast enough to mainly keep up. Your example shot seems predominantly backlit, which I don't think is going to make it any easier.

Most times I just open the aperture right up at minimum zoom, so the camera will always keep it as open as it can wherever you set the zoom to. One less thing to think about. [This doesn't affect the speed of auto-focus, I just like to keep my ISO down & my DoF shallow.] I actually use ISO as much as I can to ball-park my exposure, trying to keep it as fast as possible without running out of headroom & tend to only close down aperture if I run out of compensation on ISO. In Aperture Mode you can set ISO on the Fn button + jog-wheel. [Fn is at the front left of the camera, just under the flash pop-up… & yes, that can be a bit irritating until you get a feel for it;)

After that, it's a case of trying to keep up with your subject. I sometimes use Continuous focus [AF-C] with 3D tracking. Other times, I'll keep it on single point & just do my best to keep up myself. tbh, over a few years I've got better at that than trying to get the camera to be smart enough to know what I actually want all the time.
If you're going to trust to the continuous tracking, I think you'll find that the 3D tracking will be a lot better than the full Auto-area AF. That will force you to hit your subject centre-frame at first half-press, but will then follow reasonably well, so long as you can keep your subject within the 'focus box' marked area towards the centre. If it goes outside, it will lose it.

The other thing is you might have to take 6 shots, none of which work this time… but next time you might nail it. I throw out a whole lot more than I keep. I cull in camera if I know I didn't get the shot then cull again heavily when I have them in the computer. No point keeping the ones that have no hope of being keepers.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You were right. 3D works well with a single-point focus square appearing. Never tried the 3D before. Wondering if cameras have any setting where first it starts with 3D and once focussed it turns automatically to full-area. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – RKh
    May 23, 2023 at 3:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure what you'd hope to gain by it. btw, I can only assume what you're referring to as 'full area' is in fact 'auto-area'. DSLRs don't have a full sensor focus unless they're shooting in Live view, mirror up. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    May 23, 2023 at 6:50

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