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D500 High Frame Rate Example - Foxhunting

D500 70-200 sports foxhunting education learning example

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#1 ericbowles

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 09:47 AM

Over the past two weekends I have photographed foxhunting opening meets for two clubs.  When I bought the D500, it was with these events in mind.  I am photographing riders on horses jumping barriers.  There is a new rider jumping every 1.5-2 seconds - and often two riders jumping at the same time.  This requires a burst every 1.5 seconds, then picking up and focusing on the next rider for another burst.  Usually there are 30-60 riders including photos of the ones going through a gate rather than jumping.  With the D800E at 4 fps, the buffer always fills slowing the frame rate to 1 fps.  The D500 was designed for this kind of photography and the buffer never fills.

 

Note that while it is called foxhunting, they are often chasing coyotes rather than foxes.  They prefer not to catch the fox and call off the hounds before the fox is caught or injured.  

 

Here is a series of images of a rider falling off her horse because the horse refused to jump.  This is an experienced rider and she was unhurt - just some minor bruises.  She got back on her horse and kept riding.  The action of the series shows the value of the high frame rate of the D500.

 

I used two cameras for the event and took 1250 images.  My primary lens was the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VRII used on both cameras.  I used Group AF rather than Dynamic because Group biases in favor of the nearest subject.  My in focus rate was very high - probably 95% or more.  Generally I was using Manual exposure mode with Auto ISO.

 

I've added a couple of files at the end to show what the event is like.

 

Finally, I use a freeware program called WEGA2 to summarize shooting data.  I've attached a screenprint so you can see the range of apertures, shutter speeds, and focal lengths I used with the D500.  Keep in mind these are FX equivalents.  The images are just the top rated images that are available for sale.

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#2 Art

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 10:30 AM

Nice images, did that guy eventually get up?

 

A friend of mine has a D500 and he has the 200-500mm Nikon lens.  Quite the combination!  Very impressive.


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#3 Wheatsack

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 02:05 PM

Very impressive sequence Eric. 


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#4 james23p

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 03:12 PM

Excellent example Eric thanks for posting.

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#5 ericbowles

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 07:09 AM

Thanks

 

The woman who fell was fine - just a couple of bruises.  She is an experienced rider and that means she also was experienced in falling.  It happens.  She hopped right back on the horse and kept riding.

 

I've also recently used the D500 with the Nikon 200-500 for polo.  Polo involves a huge field - 10 times the area of a football field - so the long lens is required.  AF performance was great and the high frame rate led directly to photo sales.

 

 

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#6 fotofill

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Posted 15 November 2016 - 01:10 AM

Yes, high frame rate for action is a wonderful thing. I bet your 800 frustrated you sometimes. I have not done the horses for a few years, but Its great being around them. Thinking about your group focus comment.


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#7 ericbowles

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 01:57 PM

Phil - You're right about the D800 frame rate and buffer.  I specifically bought the D500 for this type of photography.  I use the D800E for pre-hunt and post-hunt activities, but try to use the D500 for jumping and photographing a large number of riders.   I used the D800E for one of the jumps and after a minute and a half, the buffer was filled and I was not able to shoot bursts any more.  The D500 never had an issue with the buffer being close to full.  

 

As a result of the increased number of frames, I shot and sold more photos of the day.  We're not talking a huge difference, but probably a 25% increase in print sales is directly attributed to the D500 frame rate and focus accuracy.  


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