Need some tips for bird shooting using my Nikon 55-300mm

edited February 2012 Posted in » Nikon D3100 Forum
Howdy all? I turn away for a while and everything is changed! Right, no problems. :)

I'll be using my Nikon 55-300mm lens for the first time in the outdoor (open field) which is going to be a bit sunny. I want some tips/advice on how to use it effectively to get some decent bird pictures. Thanks.


  • @anupartha - The key to great bird shots is accurate focus and fast shutter speeds. Right off the bat, I would set your focus point to Single-point AF, which will allow you to control the exact location of focus, rather than let the D3100 decide for you. In addition to that, I would set your focus mode to Single-servo AF (AF-S). This setup will allow you to have sniper like focus (no pun intended) through tree branches, shrubs, etc...

    If you're trying to capture flying or highly active birds, you're going to have a tough time with the above setup. In these situations, I would do the opposite and set your focus point to 3D-tracking and your focus mode to Continuous-servo AF (AF-C). This will allow you to track moving subjects and focus continuously as they move about the frame.

    In regards to shooting modes, I would work with Shutter priority (S on the mode dial) and select a shutter speed between 1/250 and 1/2000 depending on how active the bird is. To ensure you get accurate exposures when shooting outdoors, enable Auto ISO.

    Lastly, I would experiment with Spot metering and Continuous (burst) mode. Spot metering will ensure the D3100 exposes the bird accurately, rather than trying to expose the entire scene. Continuous (burst) mode will allow you to rattle off a series of shots in quick succession, improving your odds of finding a few gems.

    Happy shooting! :)
  • edited February 2012
    Whoa...First, thanks for the precise instructions. AF-S is a new domain for me. I will do some homework with the lesson and try my hand in the field. It is indeed very helpful and I was looking for something like this. Thanks Moose, once again.
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