Over the last year I have been doing a lot more wildlife photography than previously. Investigating, I found there is a concensus that the following is the best technique:
- Mount the camera and lens on a sturdy tripod
- Use a gimbal head, and mount the camera in a properly balanced position
- Loosen the panoramic axis control, the gimbal mount control and the lens collar mount. The camera is then free to move in any axis, and can pan and tilt to follow the wildlife
- To take photos, press the forehead lightly against the camera while pressing the lens lightly with the left hand, in either the up or down direction
- Roll the shutter button, rather than press it
My equipment is not quite as robust as is assumed by the above. In particular Gitzo recommend their series 3 tripods for the non VF 500mm lens I have, while I only have their series 2 tripod. Also the sources all seem to agree that the above technique cannot be used with a Wimberley Sidekick, which is what I have. All this has led me, as part of my kit familiarisation to test out various techniques. My basic approach is as above, but locking down the lens collar, which does seem to work with the Sidekick. I have tried locking everything down; attaching weights to the tripod; not touching the camera at all while taking photos by using a remote; burst shooting or single shot; and much more, with combinations of all of these approaches. For consistency I have been shooting static photos (of brick walls to facilitate comparison). The rest of my kit is a Nikon D500, and a hahnael Combi TF release.
All this testing has led to unexpected results - at 100% under these test conditions I cannot tell the difference between the approaches.
So my question is, under what circumstances, if any, is it necessary to adopt techniques such as the above to achieve first class results.