I don't know all the stetting's your using, I did have a quick look at the info above, was the 1.4 convertor included ?Perhaps you are right. May be I am asking for too much out of my kit, which I have started to realise has its limitation. With an aperture of 5.6 light does play huge role in the outcome. There are also a lot of things in the department of camera configuration specifically in focus settings and metering. I made some changes in that today. I used group auto focus with high light weighted metering, instead of spot metering and spot focus ( i was loosing the focus often, hence made this change). Focus tracking also was changed from fast to normal.
I shot this black kite almost in the middle of the day and the sun is right above my head. That is probably the strongest light I can get. I am posting a cropped raw converted as it is to a JPG and with one with the shadows recovered and sharpened. The bird covered no more than 10% of my frame. What you see below is around 30% of the complete frame.
I also noticed a honey bee tailing this kite.. its legs are visible to an extent which makes me feel, this is as far as I can go with my kit.
Let me know if it so .. or there is still some more juice in my kit to squeeze.
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For trial run only so you get to see the results, set the camera to the basic factory settings, then copy any of Steve's D500 recommended settings for wild life if available. His focusing and exposure books are great, but for now just try the following.
In this trial case set the camera as follows...
SS No less than 3200-4000
Turn your VR off on the lens when at these high shutter speeds.
F 8 or F10, get off your F5.6 its a killer, your floating ISO will always balance your exposure.
Float the iso to Auto 6400.
Ev -07 at all times, or if its a really white bird -1 to -2 to keep the detail in the whites. recover the shadows in post.
Continuous HIGH shooting external setting..........
Match the Internal setting to C with focal points either 9 points or 27 points.
Don't use the TC for now..........
Don't use Auto tracking,
Don't use Group
Use matrix for safety or try single point dynamic focus area to see what works for you but if your uncertain stay with matrix for now. You can play with this area later for best results in different situations.
Take some shots and work from there.
Internally I would set the image quality at SD 14 bit shoot raw.
In SD image quality setting Raise the sharpening from say 2 to 6 shoot in Jpeg Fine and see what you get.
This scenario is a starting point and you should get excellent results, you can then build from there.
This experiment is all about you realizing what works well for you.
The comment from Larry Shuman is well founded and I often use the same settings, just don't shoot Vivid at very high iso at night, these setting don't always like each other.
My most common settings are simply most of what I said above and I can just shoot and shoot, the results are excellent.
The most important trio is F8 or above, SS 3200-4000, Float the iso, your in professional auto mode LOL.
There are many variations and other settings you can play with till your head spins but here is a fresh starting point to work from.
Hope it helps mate...
Oz Down Under