On Sunday after days/weeks of rain & wind, we had a fine, hot & sunny day, so off I meandered to the beach to seek out some surfers & airborne “B52s” (Pelicans in real life). While sitting out on the breakwater I was approached by another camera-toting bloke who showed lots of interest in “that thing on the top of the camera”. He was asking about the Red Dot Sight that I use for birding, rodeo & camp drafting and of course, these surfers. In fact anything with fast moving activity.
I was introduced to the RDS a couple of years back when I complained to someone else that shooting moving action with the 300mm lens "aint ezy" – as soon as the subject moved sideways, I lost it from the viewfinder, and had to start tracking all over again – which meant that I lost the subject all too often. RDS sights are widely used by competition gun & pistol shooters.
As this other fella had never seen one, I thought that maybe people here don't know about them either ~ so here's a bit about them and how they work.
The RDS is a device that costs around $90 and is used very widely by film & television camera-operators for following action … following a cricket ball etc as it is airborne on its journey to the boundary is one of many uses.
Here's what it looks like :--
The RDS does not have a magnifying lens – rather it has an open sight and a battery-powered bright red dot reflecting off the screen. You / the operator hold the camera away from your eye and follow the fast moving action by moving the red dot with the subject and letting the camera follow- focus and shoot away while on burst. As the subject moves around, your eyes can easily follow the directional movements.
Here's a view thru the RDS: --
The letterbox itself is about 75metres away from my place.
and here's the view thru the camera lens – lens is on 500mm :--
and here's some of last week's images, shot using the Fuji X-s1 whose lens goes out to 625mm [ff equiv] :--
Full frame, uncropped, lens at 625mm; 1/1500s x f5,6; iso-400; hand held,
Full frame, uncropped, lens at 500mm; 1/2000s x f5,6; iso-250; hand held
0ne-quarter of full frame; lens at 350mm; 1/2000s x f5,6; iso-320; hand held
If the idea of having your own RDS unit appeals to you, you can probably get them from any gunshop [they are not found in camera shops] I know that Holliman's in Charters Towers has both RDS units and the camera – hot shoe adapters, so if you google for them, I'm sure that they will be able to look after you.
disclaimer - I'm not involved in the selling of these devices: this note is just an advisory for forum members