I am an amateur photographer and I have a Sony DSC HX400v bridge camera which has 50x optical zoom (quite helpful in taking close-up shots of wild animals). The effectiveness of the zoom lens is however negated when I try to focus on a swiftly moving subject such as an eagle or any other bird in flight. I also have a tripod with me. Can anyone please suggest ways/provide tips to capture a flying bird accurately?

Thanks in advance


There are few options:

  1. Switch to sports mode - this will make shutter speed high and will adjust aperture accordingly.

  2. Switch on Image Stabilization - Your camera will have a way to switch to IS.

Take few test shots and see if you are happy with the results. If the images are not sharp:

  1. Switch to higher ISO - Make ISO 400 or even 800 (not auto).

  2. You can sharpen the picture (slightly) in Lightroom or an equivalent software.

  • This answer doesn't address the problem of actually finding the bird in the viewfinder. My new Nikon 700B has a "snap-back zoom" button next to the T-W button on the lens barrel. Hit it and you can find the bird in the larger frame, then let go and it zooms in on the bird to whatever length you were using. In fact the camera I'm retiring also has one of those buttons but I never knew what it was for, and now that I know, can't get it to do anything other than display "Illegal Operation". Jan 3 '17 at 21:57
  • I looked at sony.com/electronics/cyber-shot-compact-cameras/… and don't see any evidence that your camera has a "snap-back zoom" feature. BTW I did just figure out how it works on my old Sony A300; on that one you push the button multiple times to cycle among 1:1, 1:1.4, and 1:2 zooms. Jan 3 '17 at 22:14
  • @Mehboob I'll try this and let you know
    – Abhay
    Jan 10 '17 at 13:49

In manual mode, focus on a distant object. This distance is called infinity.

Pan -- This is a technique whereby the camera is kept in motion while tracking a fast moving object. Depress the shutter release as you pan i.e. don't stop the panning motions. Don't stab the shutter button, just a steady pressure as you pan. The manning motion likely will render the object sharp however the background will blur. The background blur heightens the illusion of speed.

  • is there a video or tutorial link for this? I tried Manual focusing but I'm not sure I am able to pan properly
    – Abhay
    Jan 10 '17 at 13:47

If you are interested in bird photography, you might want to invest in a red dot sight. Dot sights specifically designed to attach to a camera hot shoes are available. See: What's this device that is attached to the hot shoe?

  • while a dot sight would be useful to find the bird, here I think he is asking help for focusing problems..
    – user152435
    Jan 4 '17 at 18:17
  • @user152435 Somehow, I missed that.
    – Mick
    Jan 4 '17 at 18:44
  • @Mick Is this helpful for adjusting the focus as well?
    – Abhay
    Jan 10 '17 at 13:44
  • @Abhay No. These devices aren't coupled to the camera at all. You will probably need to use manual focusing and rely on depth of field to keep your subject in focus.
    – Mick
    Jan 10 '17 at 13:51

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