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The proper ISO for photographing flying birds
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Mar 14, 2019 14:04:05   #
Imagemine
 
I am mostly an urban & street photographer don't have much experience with wildlife. Can anyone tell me a good ISO for flying birds in cloudy conditions without getting noise I'm using a Nikon d500

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Mar 14, 2019 14:09:36   #
Ched49
 
Don't thing there's any such thing as a perfect iso for flying birds. Getting the right exposure for iso and shutter speed is more important.

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Mar 14, 2019 14:17:55   #
mwsilvers (a regular here)
 
What lens? It really more about a high enough shutter speed, followed by aperture. Within that context should use the lowest ISO to get a good exposure. As a starting point, you can experiment by setting the ISO to auto and see what the camera suggests for an explicit set of lighting conditions once you've selected the appropriate shutter speed, and modify the ISO from there as your preferences dictate. Luckily for you, the D500's sensor allows for pretty high ISO settings before significant amounts of noise creeps in. Unlike for static landscapes you will not a deep DoF so f/8 or wider will suffice allowing you to keep the ISO lower by a stop or two at the same shutter speed. if your birds are static perhaps a shutter speed of 1/320 might be sufficient, but I would use 1/500 as a minimum starting point for flying birds.

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Mar 14, 2019 14:20:07   #
PHRubin (a regular here)
 
Whatever works with your camera and your lens.

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Mar 14, 2019 14:26:37   #
DaveO (a regular here)
 
PHRubin wrote:
Whatever works with your camera and your lens.


Depending on your camera, you may wish to experiment with Auto iso.

https://backcountrygallery.com/manual-mode-with-auto-iso/

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Mar 14, 2019 14:37:18   #
RichardTaylor (a regular here)
 
Ched49 wrote:
Don't thing there's any such thing as a perfect iso for flying birds. Getting the right exposure for iso and shutter speed is more important.



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Mar 14, 2019 14:38:36   #
davesit
 
I shoot birds in flight with a shutter speed of 1/1000 sec. or faster and the lens as close to wide open as possible. That determines what the ISO winds up to be. I am sure others with more experience have better ideas.

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Mar 14, 2019 14:51:22   #
boberic (a regular here)
 
As above, whatever works as birds are no different than any other moving subject.

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Mar 14, 2019 16:21:39   #
Retired CPO (a regular here)
 
davesit wrote:
I shoot birds in flight with a shutter speed of 1/1000 sec. or faster and the lens as close to wide open as possible. That determines what the ISO winds up to be. I am sure others with more experience have better ideas.


Dave, if you're looking for a sharp photo, a wide open lens is probably not going to work. All lenses have a sweet spot as far as sharpness goes. It's usually around two or three stops down from wide open. I would use shutter speed and/or ISO to get the right exposure and shoot at the aperture where the lens is sharpest if at all possible.

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Mar 14, 2019 16:28:29   #
Bill_de (a regular here)
 
Check out this video by Steve Perry. He is a nature photographer, a Nikon shooter, and goes over using auto ISO.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Tos-RK7zgBU

Steve is also a member here and can be reached if needed.

--

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Mar 14, 2019 16:31:53   #
Gene51 (a regular here)
 
Retired CPO wrote:
Dave, if you're looking for a sharp photo, a wide open lens is probably not going to work. All lenses have a sweet spot as far as sharpness goes. It's usually around two or three stops down from wide open. I would use shutter speed and/or ISO to get the right exposure and shoot at the aperture where the lens is sharpest if at all possible.


Actually, the fast primes - 300 F2.8, 400 F2.8, 500 F4, 600 F4 - generally are at their sharpest when used wide open. Under the best of circumstances stopping down will improve depth of field, and some lenses actually lose a little sharpness. I have a 600 F4 that is tack sharp wide open, and ever-so-slightly softer at F8. The differences can be significant, but most of the time they are less so. Here is one of those situations where you use the lens wide open or one stop down, and select a shutter speed that gives you the motion stopping you desire, and let the ISO be what it needs to be for proper exposure.

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Mar 14, 2019 17:02:19   #
Retired CPO (a regular here)
 
Gene51 wrote:
Actually, the fast primes - 300 F2.8, 400 F2.8, 500 F4, 600 F4 - generally are at their sharpest when used wide open. Under the best of circumstances stopping down will improve depth of field, and some lenses actually lose a little sharpness. I have a 600 F4 that is tack sharp wide open, and ever-so-slightly softer at F8. The differences can be significant, but most of the time they are less so. Here is one of those situations where you use the lens wide open or one stop down, and select a shutter speed that gives you the motion stopping you desire, and let the ISO be what it needs to be for proper exposure.
Actually, the fast primes - 300 F2.8, 400 F2.8, 50... (show quote)


Okay. I don't own any big fast primes. I do own a Tamron 200mm to 500mm zoom that is very much sharper when stopped down two steps from wide open. I also own a Nikon 200mm to 500mm which is better than the Tamron but is still sharper stopped down. If I ever own a big fast prime I'll remember your post, Thanks.

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Mar 14, 2019 20:26:11   #
imagemeister (a regular here)
 
Imagemine wrote:
I am mostly an urban & street photographer don't have much experience with wildlife. Can anyone tell me a good ISO for flying birds in cloudy conditions without getting noise I'm using a Nikon d500


Under cloudy conditions and using a decent (1/1250) shutter speed, and 5.6 aperture, I imagine the ISO being at or around 1600 - which should be very doable with the D500.

..

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Mar 14, 2019 22:56:10   #
LarryFB
 
mwsilvers wrote:
What lens? It really more about a high enough shutter speed, followed by aperture. Within that context should use the lowest ISO to get a good exposure. As a starting point, you can experiment by setting the ISO to auto and see what the camera suggests for an explicit set of lighting conditions once you've selected the appropriate shutter speed, and modify the ISO from there as your preferences dictate. Luckily for you, the D500's sensor allows for pretty high ISO settings before significant amounts of noise creeps in. Unlike for static landscapes you will not a deep DoF so f/8 or wider will suffice allowing you to keep the ISO lower by a stop or two at the same shutter speed. if your birds are static perhaps a shutter speed of 1/320 might be sufficient, but I would use 1/500 as a minimum starting point for flying birds.
What lens? It really more about a high enough shu... (show quote)


I have taken lots of photos of birds in flight with a D5100 (somewhat old technology). I shoot in shutter preferred at 1/1000 sec or faster, I also use auto ISO. This has been successful for me!

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Mar 14, 2019 23:34:22   #
mwsilvers (a regular here)
 
LarryFB wrote:
I have taken lots of photos of birds in flight with a D5100 (somewhat old technology). I shoot in shutter preferred at 1/1000 sec or faster, I also use auto ISO. This has been successful for me!


Yep, I only indicated 1/500 as a minimum starting point, maybe for hawks making lazy circles in the sky.

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