Screamin’ in Love With Nikon AF! But Not in Love with the Price of the MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack Plus Accessories for the Nikon D850 « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Screamin' in Love With Nikon AF! But Not in Love with the Price of the MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack Plus Accessories for the Nikon D850

Stuff

One Sunday we drove up to the high arctic by first heading west and then turning north onto the 890 to get to Gednje and then on to Båtsfjord (where the three of us shared two orders of really yummy French fries. On the way, at Anita North’s suggestion, we turned down a side road to get to the Tana River mudflats. As we drove by a small pool, I commented, “There should be some shorebirds in that.” What happened after that will be the subject of the next blog post 🙂 We found some photographable birds around Gednje as well.

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Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

Common-Gull-wings-raised-screaming-_MAI3523-Vadso,-Norway

This image was created at Vadso, Norway with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens and the Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering + 1 1/3 stops off the gray sky: 1/2500 sec. at f/4.5. CLOUDY WB at 7:57:38pm on a cloudy evening.

Center Group (grp)/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was centered on the bird’s inner right wing; one AF point was on the bird’s face. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +5. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #1: Incoming Common Gull screaming/wings up

The Situation

With a west wind in the late afternoon I decided to take a walk with the 600 to the eastern end of the island. There were about 40 Common Gulls loafing in the grass just before the rocks and the shoreline. Though there were no nests, several birds kept flying right at me screaming. With the dark clouds, dark gray water, and the distant mountains, there were some interesting backgrounds available. I concentrated on the gulls in flight and most especially on the birds that were landing. I stood in the same spot barely moving for close to two hours.

Screamin’ in Love With Nikon AF!

With apologies to all of my beloved Canon-using friends and clients, I must say that in 25 years of using Canon EF lenses and 17 of those years with Canon digital camera bodies, I was never once able to create super-sharp images of birds flying right at me at high speed. Today’s featured images were frames two and three of a three-frame burst, all razor sharp on the bird’s eye.

Common-Gull-incoming-screaming-_MAI3524-Vadso,-Norway

This image, the third in a three-frame sequence, was also created at Vadso, Norway with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens and the Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering + 1 1/3 stops off the gray sky: 1/2500 sec. at f/4.5. CLOUDY WB at 7:57:38pm on a cloudy evening.

Center Group (grp)/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was centered on the bird’s inner right wing; one AF point was on the bird’s face. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +5. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #2: Incoming Common Gull screaming/flat flight

MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack for the D850

I have been remiss here for several months worth of blog posts by not mentioning that my main D850 camera body (identified as MAI) is outfitted with the Nikon MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack ($396.95) and the Nikon EN-EL18b Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery (10.8V, 2500mAh) (149.00). But amazingly, that will not get the job done; Nikon rips you off for another $24.95 for the Nikon BL-5 Battery Chamber Cover for MB-D12 Battery Pack. Not to worry, the Battery Chamber Cover works with the MB-D12, the MB-D17, and the MB-D18 Battery Packs. Just so you understand correctly, they charge you $396.95 for the MB-D18 Battery Pack that is cannot be used without the Battery Chamber Cover; you gotta love that.

Though an over-priced ripoff, these three items enable you to get from seven to nine frames per second. At the cost of the additional weight of course. I renamed the image files from my back-up D850 as BUP. Out of the box all Nikon digital cameras affix DSC as the identifier …

Renaming Your Nikon Camera Body Image Files

To change the three letter identifier on your Nikon body go to the Photo Shooting Menu and scroll down to the fourth item, File naming. Then hit the right arrow, select your new three letter code, and hit OK. This makes a lot of sense if you own more than one body, a must if you do any serious photo trips. Canon names the image files with a camera-specific code right out of the box. As mentioned here previously, that makes a lot more sense to me. One of my 5D Matk IV bodies was _W5A, the other was _P3A. With both Canon and Nikon the underscore before the file number indicates that you are properly set up to capture in Adobe RGB (not in sRGB).

Your Favorite?

Which of today’s two featured images is your favorite, wings up or wings flat? Be sure to let us know why you made your choice.

tight-head-Common-Gull-incoming-screaming-_MAI3524-Vadso,-Norway

An Unsharpened 100% crop of the master TIFF file for Image #2

In Case You Thought That I Was Exaggerating On the Sharpness …

The JPEG above is a 100% crop of the optimized image file. Today’s two featured images were healthy crops to begin with. Thus, the tight crop above is a testament to both the Nikon autofocus system and the amazing quality of a sharp D850 image file.

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Typos

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18 comments to Screamin’ in Love With Nikon AF! But Not in Love with the Price of the MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack Plus Accessories for the Nikon D850

  • Hey Arthur, Both are nice frames really like the first one though. The three toned background is quite neat.

  • avatar ChristianHCG

    Another beautiful example of the “ Miracle of Flight ! “. From that point of view my choice is # 1 … the aerodynamic expression of awesome Purpose . They are ALL GREAT ! If I wished to get all three in one print is the sequence they are in in this e-m, would that be possible?

    In that regard , in the recent e-m responce that got erased, there was a “ landing Gull “ that I was interested in . As I remember, it was the first Image. Availability ?
    Christian

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Christian,

      Thanks for your kind comments. All BIRDS AS ART images are available as signed prints. Shoot me an e-mail to samandmayasgrandpa@att.net and let me know what sizes you are interested in. I am glad that you re-surfaced. I saw your question about the fighting kittiwakes image and was going to repost it in hopes that you would see it. I did not think that I would lose the comments when I had to delete that post …

      with love, artie

  • avatar Steve Wampler

    Just wanted to point out that when shooting RAW, setting for aRGB is meaningless. That will only affect JPEG files. I’m sure you know this, so curious why you use aRGB?

    Nice images, both.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Did not know that 🙂 Why do I do it? Because lots of folks who I was sure were smarter than me told me to do it.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Jerry

    Or, I should have said, the way the wings flow (curvatures).

  • avatar Jerry

    Wings level. Love the way the line of the wing flows.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: Glad you’re getting better opportunities for photography. I do prefer the bird with the flat (spread-out) wings. As for Canon AF, I am sending you separately an image I made a few years ago with my Canon 7DII and the 400 f/5.6L (your “toy lens”) of a great black-backed gull coming at me head-on in really sharp focus. The image quality could be better but not because of any failure of Canon’s AF. I get that the new Nikons have better AF than Canons, but I don’t get that it’s THAT much better.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      HI David,

      Thanks for sharing. For me, the Nikon AF is far, far better. With birds flying right at me at high speed with Canon they were always sharp, sharp on the bird’s feet. Again, that is for me.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Holger Heckler, Germany

    Dear Artie,
    you wrote the following:
    … I must say that in 25 years of using Canon EF lenses and 17 of those years with Canon digital camera bodies, I was never once able to create super-sharp images of birds flying right at me at high speed. …
    This might be true for you, but not necessarily for anybody else. I use (since foury years) for birds in flight photography very successfully a EOS 6D together with the EF 200-400. I was able to create tons of super sharp images of birds flying right at me at high speed at max. focal length and with the center autofocus point only … and that even with the much maligned autofocus system of the EOS 6D. As long as I keep the center autofocus point of the EOS 6D precisely on the subject, the focus acquisition of the 6D is fast enough for fast birds flying right at me. I as well own a EOS 7D MK II. The autofocus system of the EOS 7D MK II is much better in comparison to the EOS 6D and my 7D keeper rate ist higher in comparison to the 6D.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Hogler, Yes, for me. See my comments to David 🙂

      with love, artie

      ps: do understand that the speed of initial focusing acquisition has nothing to g=do with AF tracking accuracy.

  • I prefer the wings flat version. Usually, my tastes lean toward in-flight images with some bend in the wings but not this time. It reminds me of some sort of long-winged jet or glider. Really nice.

  • avatar Adam

    Yes, Artie Canon AF just isn’t up to snuff for BIF especially when they are flying right at you. Now, if it’s a 280# LB filling the frame it seems to do just fine.

  • avatar Jim Spilman

    Superior Nikon AF…….understood….has this improvement come with the introduction of D850 body?

    • I think you should see this sort of autofocus precision with the D850, D5 and even the crop sensor D500. Of those, I personally only have experience with the D500 but I can tell you it blows away my older full frame D800 body for Autofocus.

  • avatar Carol Nichols

    Wings flat for me – not sure why. Gorgeous image!

  • avatar David Peake

    I love the wings level image Artie.

  • Wow! Believe wings level as they match the horizontal lines in the background.

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