By the Danube river

Two weekends ago Sani and I were visiting Sani’s cousin in Veliko Gradiste, a small town on the banks of Danube in eastern Serbia. We were attending the birthday of her twin daughters. Before the other guests arrived and the party started on Saturday, I snuck out and went on a stroll along the Danube. For me this was the perfect opportunity to shoot pictures of waterbirds that can’t be found along the small river Mlava in my hometown of Petrovac na Mlavi. Admittedly the Nikon 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 – being too short – is not the best suited lens for these kinds of subjects. It was a fun exercise nonetheless.

Shot with: Nikon 1 V1 & 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6

Nikon 1 V1 & 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 — ƒ/5.6, 110mm, 1/250s & ISO100

Shot with: Nikon 1 V1 & 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6

Nikon 1 V1 & 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 — ƒ/5.6, 110mm, 1/500s & ISO100

Shot with: Nikon 1 V1 & 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6

Nikon 1 V1 & 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 — ƒ/5.6, 110mm, 1/250s & ISO100

Shot with: Nikon 1 V1 & 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6

Nikon 1 V1  &1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 — ƒ/5.6, 110mm, 1/500s & ISO100

Shot with: Nikon 1 V1 & 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6

Nikon 1 V1 & 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 — ƒ/5.6, 110mm, 1/250s & ISO100

Shot with: Nikon 1 V1 & 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6

Nikon 1 V1 & 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 — ƒ/5.6, 110mm, 1/320s & ISO100

I made several attempts to capture birds in flight. I wanted to see how the AF system would perform when given a serious challenge. Prior to these attempts I had only a rough idea of how the Nikon 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 auto focus performs, given that I had mostly used the lens for photographing macro subjects. You can see some of my macro photos shot with the 30-110mm and Marumi DHG200 +5 and Raynox DCR-250 achromatic close-up lenses here and here. Or you can go to my Flickr set, containing all the photos I shot with the lens so far.

I already knew that the 30-110mm had trouble acquiring focus on moving subjects at focal lengths past 80mm. Other owners of the lens, like Jan Masso in the comments of one of my previous blog posts, report of an entirely different experience with the AF of this lens. So it could very well be that my lens is defective in some very unusual way – I say unusual, because the AF works extremely well at short focal lengths, all the way up to 80mm. I bought the lens used and it’s scratched up pretty bad. So who knows, maybe the previous owner did let it fall down, like Jan suggests.

But coming back to my experience with the AF: beyond 80mm and when photographing moving subjects like birds in flight, my keeper rate was around one third. 7 out of 10 shots were out of focus, and not even by a small amount. The out of focus shots were simply unusable. Maybe the hit rate would improve if the birds were closer and filling a larger portion of the frame, but I have no way of testing that. Birds usually don’t fly that close to a person.
Shot with: Nikon 1 V1 & 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6

Nikon 1 V1 & 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 –ƒ/5.6, 110mm, 1/1000s & ISO400

Shot with: Nikon 1 V1 & 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6

Nikon 1 V1 & 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 — ƒ/5.6, 110mm, 1/2000s & ISO200

Shot with: Nikon 1 V1 & 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6

Nikon 1 V1 & 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 — ƒ/5.6, 110mm, 1/1250s & ISO400

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2 thoughts on “By the Danube river

  1. Nice shots and glad you enjoyed your trip. I agree that you would have probably had much better luck with birds that were closer to you. Maybe set up a bird feeder outside of one of your windows.

    • Nice shots and glad you enjoyed your trip.

      Thanks Joni.

      I agree that you would have probably had much better luck with birds that were closer to you. Maybe set up a bird feeder outside of one of your windows.

      That’s just it, I’m not much of a bird photographer, but I wanted to try it out just for fun. And if I was a “birder” I would prefer too photograph birds in the wild. But I would need a much longer lens, one like the Nikon 1 Nikkor 70-300mm.

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