I went out yesterday for about a half an hour to do an experiment photographing a gull taking off at 60fps with my Nikon 1 V2.
As Nikon 1 owners know, when shooting at 30fps or 60fps AF-C is not possible. At these high frame rates the focus of the first frame will lock in the focus on all remaining frames in the burst.
Typically when photographing moving subjects most folks will shoot their Nikon 1 gear in AF-C with subject tracking. This means a frame rate of 15fps with a V2 and 20fps with a V3. Compared to many other cameras these frame rates are excellent, but what if a photographer was trying to capture a very precise moment? Would shooting at 60fps yield images that would otherwise be almost impossible to capture?
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Let’s have a look at the results of my quick experiment from yesterday. What follows are 19 consecutive images shot hand-held at 60fps. This means that all of the images in this burst happened in less than 1/3 of a second.
Note the position of the gull’s left foot in the image above.
Now we see some subtle movement of the left foot.
The gull’s left foot is now lifted off of the cement pier.
More movement forward with the left foot.
Forward step of the left foot in progress.
Left foot further extended…gull is beginning to run as noted by the widening spread between its feet.
Left foot just about to be planted down on the cement pier. Bird’s head is hidden making this an unusable image.
Left foot planted down and right foot moving forward creating a nice moment full of anticipation. Is this the precise moment that a photographer may have had in their mind?
Movement continues of the right leg.
Right leg swinging forward, gull’s head partially obstructed making this image unusable.
Right foot moving further forward, gull’s head totally obscured making this image unusable.
Right foot well forward, gull’s head still totally obscured making the image unusable.
Right foot about to be planted on cement pier, gull’s head now visible again, wings being raised.
Both feet planted, wings in upright position ready for down-stroke.
Gull is now extending from its toes of both feet readying for take-off.
Gull’s wings begin down-stroke, left foot launches.
Down-stroke of wings continues, right foot has almost left the cement pier. Is this the precise moment that a photographer was looking to capture? Perhaps…or it could be the very next one…
The image shows one toe of the gull’s right foot still barely touching the cement pier just as the gull becomes air borne!
The gull is now air borne…with the photo now resembling many others that have been routinely captured as it lacks the intimacy of ‘the precise moment’.
I will be doing a bit more experimentation over the next little while to see how effective shooting at 60fps can be with birds in flight.
Stay tuned for future articles which will show more image examples and discuss using 60fps for birds-in-flight as well as some technique considerations when using this type of high frame rate.
My intent is to keep this photography blog advertising free. If you enjoyed this article and/or my website and would like to make a modest $10 donation through PayPal to support my work it would be most appreciated. You can use the Donate button below. Larger donations can be made to email@example.com through PayPal.
You can also support my efforts when you purchase anything from B&H by using the Thomas Stirr affiliate link. Even the smallest purchases will help support this web site.
As a reminder to our Canadian readers, you can get a special 5% discount when ordering Tamron or Rokinon lenses and other products directly from the Amplis Store by using promotion code AMPLIS52018TS.
Article and all images are Copyright Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation of any kind is allowed without written consent. While we do allow some pre-authorized links to our site from folks like Nikon Canada and Mirrorlessons.com, if you see this article reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use.