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  1. #1
    Senior Member

    shutter speeds with tripod.

    I shoot wildlife handheld for a few years now but with my latest set up d500 and nikon 200-500 are quite heavy after carrying it around for a few hours with my black rapid shoulder strap it gives me shoulder pain. I have purchased a good tripod and a gimbal head will be ordered soon.
    My question is will i be able to slow my shutter speed down or will it stay the same?
    I usually shoot birds stationary and in flight. I reckon birds in flight wont change but stationary birds in trees and ground birds i can change due to no shaking hands.


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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Woodyg3's Avatar

    Re: shutter speeds with tripod.

    Have you been using VR with the 200-500? If so, I imagine you have been able to use slower shutter speeds for stationary subjects. Even stationary animals will move their heads, twist their bodies, etc. Heck, I was shooting a turtle today and he slipped off the log! So, you can slow down, but only with the understanding that your subject might move and ruin your plans.
    Woody Green

    Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose

    D500, D7200, D7100, D70

  3. #3
    Staff
    Super Mod
    Don Kuykendall's Avatar

    Re: shutter speeds with tripod.

    Tripod will help with stationary birds. I use a monopod with my gimbal when shooting with my D750 and Tamron 150-600. People laughed but it works great and it is faster to deploy and easier to carry through the trails. I would be shooting at say 1/1500 to 1/2000 handheld and get great results. With the monopod/gimbal I can cut that to 1/1000
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  4. #4
    Senior Member

    Re: shutter speeds with tripod.

    There is also wind to think about. Even a gentle breeze can bounce around a bird on a branch so you might not be able to go too slow.
    I must have a really good camera.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    nikonpup's Avatar

    Re: shutter speeds with tripod.

    IMO you will not enjoy lugging around a tripod with a gimbal head if you are having physical problems. I, like Don use a monopod but I use a Manfrotto 322RC2 head.
    DO NOT GROW UP!!
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  6. #6
    Senior Member
    lokatz's Avatar

    Re: shutter speeds with tripod.

    Quote Originally Posted by nikonpup View Post
    IMO you will not enjoy lugging around a tripod with a gimbal head if you are having physical problems. I, like Don use a monopod but I use a Manfrotto 322RC2 head.
    That Manfrotto 322RC2 weighs 635 grams. A Jobu Jr 3 is 680 grams and gives you a far sturdier gimbal with all of its flexibility. As has been suggested already, combining a monopod with a gimbal can be very effective. Exactly what is the point about 'lugging around a tripod'?
    Lothar Katz

    Nikon D700, D500, D7100, 1 J5, 200-500 f/5.6, 50mm f/1.8 - Tamron 60 f/2 Macro - Sigma 100-400 f/5-6.3, 17-70 f/2.8-4 - Tokina 12-28 f/4 - Yongnou YN568 - Panasonic TZ101 (a.k.a. ZN100) - Photoshop CS6 - Lightroom 6 - DXO PhotoLab - Aurora HDR 2018


  7. #7
    Junior Member

    Re: shutter speeds with tripod.

    Quote Originally Posted by gaddypaid View Post
    I shoot wildlife handheld for a few years now but with my latest set up d500 and nikon 200-500 are quite heavy after carrying it around for a few hours with my black rapid shoulder strap it gives me shoulder pain. I have purchased a good tripod and a gimbal head will be ordered soon.
    My question is will i be able to slow my shutter speed down or will it stay the same?
    I usually shoot birds stationary and in flight. I reckon birds in flight wont change but stationary birds in trees and ground birds i can change due to no shaking hands.
    I'm new here and this is my first post, with that said, I have 10 years of experience with DSLRs. I think that lowering your shutter speed while using a tripod might help you but you still might have motion blur because animals are rarely super still. Motion blur isn't too always bad especially if it gives added meaning to the shot. For instance, a bird's wings flapping or a squirrel's mouth chewing might give the scene more information. You could also buy a monopod if you don't want to use a full size tripod. Monopods are a lot lighter, quicker and easier to deploy plus you can walk around with your camera still attached. Some even have mini legs that let you leave the camera standing. I would buy a cheap one to start with. They are usually cheaper than tripods i have found them as low as $15.


    Also if you want to increase shutter speed you could bump up your ISO. You might think high ISO noise might become an issue but newer DSLRs do well at high ISO especially in bright light. The noise will look like light film grain. You can also stop up your aperture but you might not want shallow DoF. Try to shoot with the fastest ISO possible while maintaining the DoF you want. You can set this with a practice shot before you find a subject.

    I hope this helps, Good luck.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    spb_stan's Avatar

    Re: shutter speeds with tripod.

    shutter speeds with tripod.
    You will need to experiment to find the real light level and the real depth of field. What distance are you shooting from? Did you calculate the DOF for that distance and aperture?
    If the bird is still shooting with the lowest shutter speed appropriate for the distance and bird size will allow dropping ISO so you can retain as much Dynamic range as possible.
    Shooting with stabilization off when the subject is still and will often result in sharper images, and using a sturdy tripod. Any shutter shorter then 1/500 is defeating the purpose of stabilization, same with a tripod mounting.
    Remember, on modern ISOless sensors you have a wider range of ISO options before noise becomes a problem, but still, dynamic range drops roughly 1 stop per 1 stop of ISO increase. These cameras are spec'd at ridiculously poor Signal to noise ratios you would never print.
    Even a modest 800 ISO you lose 3 full stops of DR, or 3 stops higher noise density. You can slow shutter 3 stops or more if your subject is still or moves within the depth of field. Side to side movement on the same plane will not have DOF problems, however, so motion blur is all you have to worry about shooting wide open and the widest aperture.
    Here is the PDR chart for the D500 in raw just to give you an idea of how narrow a range of ISO you should limit yourself to. If the bird is in shadows, your ISO choice becomes more important. If you do much post processing on these images you will have a lot more data to work with if you stay below 800ISO, the lower the better for files that are printed large or have much processing to be done. Overall, I think the addition of a tripod that is sturdy enough is going to result in much better images, at a lower speed and lower ISO. If you are shooting into backlighting where the bird is in shadows but the area behind it bright, it will be harder to expose the shadows with low noise unless you let the background blow out and spot meter the bird. One way of dealing with that case is used a remote wireless flash. Then you can really lower the shutter speed and fully freeze and movement at the same time. Flash is so short of duration most animals are not spooked by it. In fact, babies, dogs, birds, and horses don't even seem to notice the 1/30,000 of a second flash duration provided you do not use preflash modes like the Optical CLS Nikon remote TTL flash control. Use RF controllers, they do not emit the preflash.

    shutter speeds with tripod.-d500-pdr.png





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