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03-17-2021, 11:35 AM   #1
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Pentax K-1 configuration for birds in flight

I would like to ask a question, to the users of the Pentax K-1, what parameters do you use to photograph birds in flight?
Thank you for your answers.

03-17-2021, 12:55 PM   #2
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What is the lighting? How big are the birds? How fast are they flying? Are they gliders, flyers, divers/stoopers, or hummingbirds? Are they in the woods under the canopy or in the sky? Do you want complete stop action or some motion blur at, say, the tips of the wing?

I guess what I'm saying is how you want to compose a _specific shot_ depends on a lot more than the simple subject of the shot.

Not a K1 but I wanted complete stop action for this one so went all the way to K70 max of 1/6000/sec (plus the sun was fairly bright though at a low angle) at ISO 500 and f5.6 with a PLM:

Basically equivalent sort of shot, but low sun angle as early in the day. So 1/3200sec at f7.1 and ISO320...

This "bird in flight" was taken with a 16-85mm on a K-70, but the action was important. So, I went with 1/60sec, f22, and ISO100.

Try out various settings in various environments until you get to places works for you.

Here is a quick click and pray with current settings when a gannet came out of the sky at 60MPH while I was really trying for some whale pics. VERY bright sun again that day and so thankfully the settings were 1/6000sec. The other settings were f4.5 (on a PLM) and ISO 100.

Here is my first day with a PLM shooting up against the sky. That day was not terribly bright and this shot is zoomed to 300 so the settings were 1/1250sec, f6.3, ISO400

At golden hour things often slow down a bit which allows for other interesting shots but I have no good examples uploaded.

Last edited by jgnfld; 03-17-2021 at 03:56 PM.
03-17-2021, 01:01 PM   #3
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Another approach with the K-1 is to shoot in movie mode, which can yield 1920x1080 frames. These probably won't work for large prints, but do capture the action without missing much. You need a software means to extract the frame you're after if you do this, and it's just another K-1 option that might work for some applications.
03-17-2021, 02:21 PM   #4
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I have the U1 user mode "Birds in Flight" set to TAv, 1/1250 sec, f/5.6, AF.C, 9-pt expanded area AF. It is mostly used with the DFA 150-450. Of course, the aperture is adjusted depending on light levels. Resist the temptation to increase exposure time, and trust in the camera's high ISO ability.

This was 1/1250 s f/5.6 in overcast conditions.

Last edited by Paul the Sunman; 03-17-2021 at 02:28 PM.
03-17-2021, 03:58 PM   #5

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For standard shooting medium speed or leisurely birds I have my camera in TAV mode with 1000 shutter speed and F11 or F13 if I can manage to keep the ISO down (ISO is auto in TAV mode). Otherwise I will adjust the shutter speed to adapt to the speed of the bird movement. I use single point AF area mode, and AF.C AF mode usually.
03-18-2021, 12:26 AM   #6

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Not with a K-1, admittedly, but with my K-70 previously and now with my KP I have my "Birding" User Mode set to 1/1500 @ f/8 in TAv mode, using my Sigma 150-500mm.
The shutter speed to help freeze the subject movement, the aperture to give a modicum of depth-of-field in case of slight focus error.
These numbers were decided on after reviewing a collection of my own pictures that had "worked" and collating the exposure details for an optimum.
I, too, default to AFC with single-spot focussing, though against a clear sky, with no background to confuse the a/f, multi-spot focussing can help track a fast or erratically flying bird.
As previously mentioned, allowing the ISO to do it's own thing hasn't been found to be an issue … I prefer slightly noisy crisp details than the "smooth blurred" look
Inevitably - YMMV
03-18-2021, 02:02 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gopersuel Quote
I would like to ask a question, to the users of the Pentax K-1, what parameters do you use to photograph birds in flight?
Thank you for your answers.
Usually manual, single point focus, between 1/1000s and 1/2500s, and whatever aperture I need and whatever ISO I need. I aim to be under ISO 1600.

03-18-2021, 12:32 PM   #8
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On my K-1, using my D-FA 150-450, I have my U1 user mode set to TAV mode, 1/2000, F8, ISO Auto 100-6,400 (or if it's really overcast, I'll bump the ISO Auto max to 12,800). If it is bright out, I'll increase the shutter speed. Noise is pretty much a non issue on the K-1.
03-19-2021, 12:19 PM   #9
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Thank you for the contributions made, I will take into account your advice.

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