Monday, 2 July 2012

Moving Targets...

Nikon D800  F/5.3  1/400s  ISO-200  PrAP  EV 0  82mm 
...and how to shoot them down

Thought I'd try out my new Nikon D800's focus-follow system.

And what better subject than a two and a half year old kid running around the Buren Columns in the Palais Royal in Paris having more fun than EuroDisney?

The first shot´s straight out of the box, nothing done to it except reduced down in size and a blip of sharpness to compensate.

Obviously he wasn´t moving much here, but he´s nice and sharp and the backgrounds nice and gently fuzzy - just about right for the purpose of this snap.

In the shot below he's running, the way two and a half year olds do, certainly not caring one iota about the sharpness of daddy's photo. Yes, but ah hah! That's where I move over to continuous focus with clever subject following in the auto focus mode.

Nikon D800  F/5.6  1/640s  ISO-200  PrAP  EV 0  120mm

Did it work? Well, kind of. I had the lens as long as it would go, not long enough unfortunately, but if the system is good enough, and with all those pixels to spare, theoretically I can just crop later and get a perfect shot...

OK, so he's not as sharp as he could be. But I've literally done nothing here, plus it's a jpg reduced drastically in size with no further sharpening or anything. I'm going to do this (i.e. nothing) quite often on Nikon and Me in order to show exactly what the camera's doing before any post-processing. Other posts will deal with the latter and will be clearly labelled as such.

Here's an enlarged version of the chirpy chappy himself to show you what we're dealing with here.

All things considered, the fact he was taken on a longish lens, running, not at a spectacularly high lens speed (considering what the camera's capable of), in dullish lighting, with no post-production and compressed down to a jpg, it's pretty good.

We can see also that it's clearly underexposed, due to the dominant lightness of the image; the pure white shirt (this was before the chocolate ice cream) has been reduced to an almost murky shade of light grey here which will certainly have to be sorted out later to produce a 'proper' image.

Flying hair certainly doesn't respect hundredths of seconds, so it's no surprise this beautiful head of flapping glory is a bit of a blur too!

Not to mention the fact that although I was trying to hold the camera steady and let Nikon's subject tracking system work its magic, there was no doubt a bit of following the subject on my part due to force of habit to add even more fuzz to the final image.

The last crop, below, given all of the above considerations, shows what I consider a pretty ok result for a first and fairly messy attempt to try out this interesting feature. I'm certainly excited about the future possibilities once I've had some more time to experiement and see what works best.

And why not...

* Sab Will runs Photo and Curios Tours in Paris, and also manages a variety of Paris and photography-themed sites and blogs. He writes an illustrated Paris Chronicle every day, runs a Meetup group for Paris lovers, interviews Paris personalities and reviews Paris books (on this blog), and even contributes to the city's street art (shh), so feel free to browse some of the links below and in the right-hand column to find out more about what he gets up to out there...

© 2012 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

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