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Thread: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

  1. #1
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    I'm very happy with my camera and lens as I can see from my first test run that it will allow me to capture the types of action shots I'm striving for... Still struggling with spot metering.. ie; overexposed white spots on black bird wings and also in less than perfect lighting using an extender the iso must be bumped up, here as high as 1600 which is fine in small size but not full size... Photos are also sharper..

    Still far better than my D80 so I will just have to learn to seek out good light.




    First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens


    First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens


    First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens




    First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens




    First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens



    First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens



    First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens


    Fun with Ducks (I'm working on it LOL)

    First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Just posting to share and I'm pleased that I could capture so many shots. Thank you to all.

    If anyone could comment on 51 point focusing... It sounded like a wonderful thing and the manual recommends it for birds in flight but the reality seems to be that the focus point jumps all over the place... So mostly I used ended up using one spot in the middle...

    Also my Elements 9 does not recognize the raw files so does this mean I have to upgrade my Elements 9?

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    If anyone could comment on 51 point focusing... It sounded like a wonderful thing and the manual recommends it for birds in flight but the reality seems to be that the focus point jumps all over the place... So mostly I used ended up using one spot in the middle...
    Hi Christina,

    Yes, I can't decide between 3D tracking, which uses all 51 points (as far as I know), or single spot, but with "dynamic" help of the surrounding 9, 21 or 51 points.

    On balance, I think I am concluding that 3D is best when the birds are definitely against sky only - but if they might fly in front of trees or anything else, then the greater control of single point + dynamic 9 works better.

    How are you finding the 18 x 12 mode?

    Also my Elements 9 does not recognize the raw files so does this mean I have to upgrade my Elements 9?
    Yes, or use the free DNG conversion first.
    Or LR4/5, if you have it (I can't remember)

    Nice pictures, bet you're having fun

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 12th July 2013 at 07:26 PM.

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Also my Elements 9 does not recognize the raw files so does this mean I have to upgrade my Elements 9?
    Yes, or use the free DNG conversion first.
    Or LR4/5, if you have it (I can't remember)

    Nice pictures, bet you're having fun

    Cheers,
    Also, you can do RAW white balance adjustments in View NX2 (should have been included free with your purchase) but no noise adjustments.
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 12th July 2013 at 09:37 PM. Reason: edit quote to clarify

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Christina,

    The 51 point focusing won't help if you are trying to focus on the eyes, better to use single point if that is your aim. Nice images, glad to see you are enjoying the new lens.

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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    If anyone could comment on 51 point focusing... It sounded like a wonderful thing and the manual recommends it for birds in flight but the reality seems to be that the focus point jumps all over the place...
    Also my Elements 9 does not recognize the raw files so does this mean I have to upgrade my Elements 9?
    Christina, I've just upgraded to a D7100 as well. On Purchase, the focus point is set to "jump all over the place" but you can lock it. See P 75 of the manual. That being so, I still think that a centre spot is probably most effective for BIF. The other bit of good news that I found is that with a 1.4 extender fitted, the camera will still autofocus 9 times out of 10 up to f8 and slightly beyond in good light.

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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    I will just have to learn to seek out good light.
    That's true in all situations. (Notice that I'm taking your comment completely out of context just to give you a hard time. )

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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Very nice pictures, I love the red flippers.

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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Still far better than my D80 so I will just have to learn to seek out good light.
    Hoorah.... finally (smiles broadly).

    Regarding Spot Metering, I use Matrix Metering 95% of the time especially for birds in flight where I use matrix exclusively. Get the focusing point off the bird and the exposure is blown, also with the latitude of fixing exposure when shooting RAW in Lightroom either in the Basic Module or with the Adjustment Brush I can set the exposure I want. Your last image is an example of what can happen with Spot Metering.

    Regarding focusing I do not use 3-D Tracking (don't like the focus point bouncing around...distracting). I set one of the focusing modes to Dynamic with makes all 39 focus points available (51 in your camera), in the other focusing mode I use AF-A which chooses Single focus mode if the subject is stationary or Continuous if the subject is moving ( like a flying bird ). I set the center focus point to be active (showing) and let the camera take care of the rest. I try to get as close to a point and shoot camera as possible with a $1000 + DSLR. I use Auto ISO and set my minimum shutter speed to 1/500.

    Rather than upgrade Elements 9 I would either purchase or upgrade to Lightroom 5, much better for photographers than Photoshop Elements. I only use Elements for my noise reduction add on, the healing tool and the clone stamp otherwise everything I do in in Lightroom.

    Last of all, congratulations on your new camera, I can see a difference in your images.

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Thank you to all for your comments and advice....

    Dave

    I'm finding the 18 x 12 (I think that refers to the size of the photo) a little daunting.. I shoot jpeg and raw so I'm going to have to finish cleaning up my photos and stay on top of deleting the bad ones.. It is nice to have the extra resolution and space for cropping but I can feel my computer working slower. I will try out that 3D thing.

    I have LR 4. Thank you but right now the thought of introducing another type of file to my computer is too, much. Yes, it certainly was fun to be able to click my shutter fast enough!

    John

    Thank you. I have View NX2 but I have yet to try the program. Right now I am doing the tutorials on Lightroom and once I tackle LR I will check it out.

    Yes, I suspect that the single point autofocus on the eyes is what I will use most... I think for a flock of birds 51 points would be good to get them all in... (and a smaller aperature)

    John...
    Thank you for sharing.. Yes, page 75 is earmarked and my center focus is locked. Good to know about the auto focus. I can sense that the focusing with this camera is stronger from my first test run.

    Splashy...
    Thank you... I adore their red flippers, too. Actually I just learned that they are not ducks but "Pigeon Guillimots." The insides of their mouths are red, too.

    Joe...

    As always, thank you for sharing your expertise and taking the time to advise.

    I found with matrix metering that the white portion of the wings was also being overexposed but spot metering is insanely challenging on BIF... I will keep trying both.. Good to know that about that last photo.

    The light wasn't great so I also tried auto ISO with the minimum SS set to 1600 and the max set to 1600 but with the SS at 2000-2500 the iso went to 1600 which is too, noisy full size but I will experiment with it again when the light is not great.

    I used Manual, Dynamic, continuous focus, alternating between setting the iso and using auto iso, SS 1600-2500, A 4 (6.5 with the extender (which is surprisingly heavy for such a small piece),matrix and spot metering, and sometimes exposure bias... Fairly close but I will keep practicing and learning.

    Good to know about Elements. I'm just now really starting to learn my way around Lightroom 4.
    Why should I upgrade to Lightroom 5?


    Mike and Joe
    Yes, the good light thing is finally starting to sink in my head... However, it seems there is always something going on that I want to try and capture... This bird was fishing and pulling little fish out of the ocean.. Of course the light is pretty dismal so these photos will eventually be trashed (yes, another good light lesson for me) but hopefully you can see why I keep trying... I will return one sunny morning to try again.



    First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Hey, Chistina. My goodness, it is obvious that you were equipment limited with your old setup. I always preach the opposite but the evidence is pretty strong here. Yes those are pigeon guillemots. Prolific fishers but difficult to properly expose with their black bodies with white wing patches. The last one with the fish is a nice shot and pretty well exposed. It is nearly impossible to get an animal with true black and white feathers/fur properly exposed. About the best you can do is split the difference and correct in post. If it is mostly one color like you guillemot you can lean towards getting the detail in the black to show and then recover the highlights in post. But if you think about the basic sunny f16 rule, the correction is +1EV for shooting something black and -1EV for shooting snow/white birds. So basically if you expose one or the other "properly" then the other is two stops over/under exposed. Two stops is a push to correct in post even when shooting RAW. If you split the difference then you're pulling both ends in by one stop. Another option is to use the active D-lighting which I'm not a fan of myself. It works OK for landscapes but doesn't do much for situations like this. The good news with these black and white buggers is that it's easier when it's overcast so you should do OK

    Regarding focus points, the only way you can be sure that the camera will focus where you want it to is to use a single focus point. That is the only certain thing that can be said about the various focus options. So for small apertures and flat DOF, that is the only way to get what you want. If you are comfortable letting the camera do the thinking then all of the other various options do that to varying degrees. Your camera has 51 discrete points that it can focus on but it only focuses on one at a time and it does not read your mind to know what you want to be in focus. I understand some of those Canon guys have chips implanted in their heads and can do that but us Nikon shooters are out of luck in that regard. As you can see from the various comments we all do it differently and we all think we're doing it right so good luck figuring out which way works for you. Frankly all we can do at this point is confuse you further with all our help regardless of how well intended.

    And I'll finish up by commenting on shooting in good light. Living someplace like Vancouver (or Alaska), by definition the light is good when and where the wildlife is around. With all due respect to those living in sunnier climes, the only way we can shoot in what most people call good light is to limit our hobby to 12 days a year or take up shooting in a studio. I'm sure we have plenty of kindred spirits in the UK. There are good days to shoot and better days to shoot but barring falling in a ditch or dropping your camera in the water there are no bad days to shoot

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Hi Dan,

    Yes, for BIF the camera makes a difference because when tracking I can now grab focus and click the shutter button fast enough, several times to capture the action I see, whereas with the D80 I couldn't always do this.

    Thank you for the informative and detailed explanation of exposure for B& W and for the focus points. I was thinking that with 51 focus points I would be able to grab 51 points of focus on the bird but when I tried it I could see that this was not happening. I will figure out the best exposure compromise for these birds.

    With respect to good light that is true but I am going to make it a habit to try and find the best light I can and get out on every sunny day when possible.

    Thank you Dan.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Hi Christina,

    I do use a semi-automatic exposure mode most of the time (A) and Matrix metering, with judicious use of EC with my thumb, but in situations like these birds and if the light is constant, I might well "go manual" - setting the best exposure found by trial and error and then I don't need to worry about it any more. I think spot metering on a black and white bird in flight is probably the hardest way possible, but might work for a uniformly coloured, slow moving bird that is close enough to almost fill the frame.

    I have been using AF-ON set by the front lower (Fn) button today, I find it works better for me than the usual AF-L/AE-L button.

    HTH,

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you for sharing.. the photos that I posted here were shot manually but I will figure out what works best... I have photos of black and white dogs and also a zebra in which I somehow managed to expose properly for both the black and the white, and here is a goose which I also managed to expose properly and that I think turned out very nicely.

    This time around I used Aperture priority, matrix metering and set the iso at 200. And the water looks nice too (rich blue), so I figure there has to be a means for me to do the same for b&w birds in flight. I am going to return on a sunny morning and try these settings on the guillimots.

    The only major difference was that the light was gorgeous, I was closer to the subject, the shutter speed is a little slower and I could use an iso of just 200. Of course the guillimots are flying but theoretically I should be able to do repeat this photo with the guillimots on a sunny day.

    First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens



    F4.5 iso 200 SS 1250 (for some reason Elements 9 strips the exif data from my photos when I downsize and sharpen for Cambridge)

    Thank you for sharing. I am going to try setting that function button to AF - on.

    PS On my trip away not an eagle or heron in sight (: just bunny rabbits, dragonflies, geese and deer...

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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Beautiful picture and colors, a deer an dragonfly is nice also.

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Thank you Splashy... Yes, it is just that I was really hoping to find some eagles and herons to practice in flight shots on... Those dragon flies move fast so the practice was good.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Thank you for sharing. I am going to try setting that function button to AF - on.
    What I particularly like with this option is that;
    the forefinger does the shutter button
    the middle or third finger does the AF (via Fn button)
    leaving the thumb free to wind the EC*
    * and no need to simultaneously press +/- button with "Easy Exposure Compensation" set 'On' in Custom menu b:3 (p235 in manual)

    Cheers,

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    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Hello Christina, after reading this thread, especially your comments and Dave's, I have a question. Why are you not using the Auto ISO function on your D7100? It is found in the menu under ISO Sensitivity unless the menu has been changed in the D7100. I use it in all my bird photography. The setting I use is a minimum ISO of 100, a maximum ISO of 3200, and a minimum shutter speed of 1/500. Light outside is constantly changing, without a automatic system it is impossible to keep up with it. Here is an example... I am shooting a bird flying. I have the camera set to trigger the shutter continuously in either the slow or fast mode. I begin tracking and shooting with blue sky, then the bird moves in front of a cloud. Bingo... the light changes. Without the exposure being changed automatically the photographer and camera cannot keep up. Also for stationary bird the camera and software are much better judging exposure than I. There are three things I concentrate on when shooting images...the subject is in sharp focus, there is adequate depth of field for the subject, and that there are no blown highlights. I, like you have paid over a thousand dollars for my camera, I let it do the work and I have fun.

  18. #18
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Hello Dave...

    Truly appreciated. It definitely sounds easier. For sure I will read page 325 and try it out. Thank you for the specific page.

    Hello, Joe...

    As always I am most appreciative that you take the time to share your knowledge and advise me to help me progress with my birds in flight...

    I understand what you are saying and agree that using the auto iso would likely be easier but I'm still not keen on it, primarily because I am submitting to stock photos which means that my photos have to be noise free at full size, and although I know that I can use far higher isos with this camera than my D80, I have to learn just how high an iso I can use...

    For some of these first shots of the pigeon guillimot I did try auto iso, setting the minimum to 100 and the maximum to 1600 (at a shutter speed above 1600 when I needed more light), and some of the shots at 1250 are not bad with respect to noise at full size, but there is a definite loss of detail and colour....

    With the goose photo at an iso of 200 I can't see a speck of noise at full size and the detail and colour is wonderful, so right now I am set on learning to set my exposure for BIF, but for sure I will try auto iso again, likely a few times to see how it works and just how high I can push the iso.

    Ahhh.. Yes, I have to be careful not to sacrifice my depth of field by setting the aperture at 4 all the time. Right now I've just been having fun blurring the background and letting light in... Thank you for reminding me of that.

    And yes, I will try out auto iso again. Thank you.

  19. #19
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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Thanks Joe for that really helpful info. And really thrilled to find this site. I am finding it really difficult to find where to put questions etc. so maybe this question is not appropriate here . I have just upgraded from a D90. I am wondering if you -or someone else here- might be able to explain to me how the fn button works on the 7100. The manual is far from clear! I would like to use it as a depth of field preview button but it seems that if "on" it also operates many other functions at the same time ....which would be very confusing! Is this correct? Or have I got it all wrong.

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    Re: First Shots with Nikon 7100 and 300 mm lens

    Hi Christina,
    Nice shot! which 300mm is this? f/2.8 II?

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