Do you have any tips to improve focusing speed on a Nikon P500?

Do you have any tips to improve focusing speed on a Nikon P500?

by Art

I bought a new Nikon P500 for a trip (cruise) to Alaska. In trying it out before i believe I am a bit disappointed in the time it takes to focus while zoomed and also the clarity of zoomed photos. I know a mini tripod will help on the trip - any tips on focusing while zoomed and in improving the focus time of P500?

Answer:

Art,

The first thing to check and try is the auto focus settings on the P500. If you are experiencing slow auto focus speed when zooming in check to make sure the camera is set to Full Time Auto Focus mode instead of the default "single auto focus" setting. Using full time auto focus should help the camera maintain focus while zooming but be aware that it will also likely reduce your battery life.

As for the clarity of the pictures when zoomed in, there could be several things that can help that. First is to make sure the image stabilization feature is turned on. Second make sure you are not using digital zoom. I would recommend disabling the digital zoom feature or avoid using it.

With the optical zoom range the P500 has it becomes very important that you keep your shutter speed high enough when zoomed out to the maximum telephoto range because it does not take much camera movement to induce motion blur with a lens that has a 35mm equivalent focal range of 810mm.



For best results without a tripod you should try and keep your shutter speed around 1/800 of a second when fully zoomed to help avoid camera shake. While that type of shutter speed would be ideal it is not always possible, so it is very important that you learn the proper technique for holding the camera steady. Try using your arms and body to form a triangle that can help stabilize the camera. I would also recommend using the viewfinder instead of the LCD display when possible because that alone will help you hold the camera steadier.

A tripod or mono-pod will help avoid camera shake or there are other products available such as bean bags, puffin pads, etc. that can help stabilize a camera and that are fairly portable.

I hope that these tips help you get the most from your new Nikon P500 and that you are able to capture a lot of great photos on your Alaska cruise. I would encourage you to really learn how to use the semi-automatic modes such as shutter priority or aperture priority modes and learn how to adjust your ISO when needed to be sure the shutter speed is high enough when you are at the maximum zoom range of the camera.

Best Regards,
Alan

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