#2. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 1
Thank you. I saw that.
But the question is elementary: page 225 of the English manual, re custom setting e3, does not refer to using the SB-600 for wide area AF assist. What is the correct e3 setting (or any other relevant setting)?
#3. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 2
AF assist from the flash is enabled when the the following conditions are met: 1. The flash is on the camera. 2. AF Illumination is enabled on the SB-600 through the SB-600 custom settings. 3. AF-A or AF-S is selected. 4. A valid focus point, as described on page 279, is selected.
The Flash Commander has nothing to do with AF Assist, and AF Assist cannot be used when the flash is being used as a wireless remote. The problem is that the AF-Assist light has to be on the camera.
For wireless operation, the SU-800 Wireless Flash Commander has an AF Assist light built into it.
#4. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 3
But Nikon support (an obviously inexperienced person -- what else is new) told me that the e3 setting on the camera should be to Commander mode. Is this correct? Seems odd, when the SB-600 is on the camera's hot shoe. What is the correct e3 setting on the camera for this procedure?
#6. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 4
Oy vey...don't get me started on Nikon support...anyways...
"e3:Flash Cntrl for Built-in Flash" does exactly what it says...it sets the mode for the *built-in* flash. It doesn't affect a hotshoe flash at all. CMD mode should only be used for wireless flash.
(However, it's been said that setting CMD mode with a flash on the hotshoe affects how AutoISO is processed...but I can't verify that. In any case, the reason people do this is to address their misunderstanding of AutoISO with flash, so I don't recommend it.)
#8. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 7
I meant TTL.
Also, in AF area mode, with 11 points selected in custom setting, & the 3 x 3 array shown (AF area selection)in the control panel, why do I only see one dot in the pane to the right of the the pane showing the array? Another elementary point that the manual does does discuss (or does it?)
#9. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 7
>So it looks like the correct e3 setting is i-TTL, not >commander, right? p. 146)
Right for what? You haven't described what it is that you're trying to do.
If the flash is mounted on the camera, then the e3 setting doesn't matter (except for the previously mentioned possibility of AutoISO behaving differently with the "CMD" setting...for reasons unknown. There are discussions on this you can research.)
If the flash is off camera, then you must set e3 to "CMD" if you want to control the flash.
If you're using the built-in flash alone, then e3 controls its behavior, and "TTL" is the usual setting.
And of course, AF Assist only works when the flash is on the camera.
#10. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 8
>Also, in AF area mode, with 11 points selected in custom >setting, & the 3 x 3 array shown (AF area selection)in the >control panel, why do I only see one dot in the pane to the >right of the the pane showing the array? Another elementary >point that the manual does does discuss (or does it?)
I believe you mean 9-point dynamic-area AF. That's when the 3x3 matrix appears in the CP.
The display to the right of the Area AF indicator is the Metering Mode indicator. A single dot means that Spot Metering is selected. The display indicates Spot Metering because that's what you selected (whether you're aware of it or not.) Selecting a metering mode is described on page 105 of the English D7000 manual.
#11. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 0
Just to reinforce what Gray_Star has said.
Custom setting e3 does not matter if the SB-600 in in the hot shoe. E-3 only effects the operation of the built-in flash.
The Nikon support rep must have misunderstood you or had his "cheat sheet" open to the wrong page. I recommend that you always ask questions here on Nikonians before trying Nikon support. You are more likely to the best possible answers from members here with a lot of hands on experience. This Nikon support reps cannot possibly have firsthand experience with every camera that they field questions about.
Remember, Nikoians are always here to help!
Dave Summers Lowden, Iowa Nikonians Photo Contest Director
Nikonians membership - "My most important photographic investment, after the camera"
#12. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 11
Replying to Gray Star:
I believe I did state that my intent is to use the SB-600 mounted on the D7000 hot shoe for AF assist in dim light. So the questions were: (1) what is the correct setting in the camera, and (2) what is the correct setting on the flash. Those questions have been answered in this forum. When the SB-600 is on the hot shoe, apparently it does not matter what the flash settings on the camera are; only the custom setting on the SB-600 must be set to AF assist.
I did not go into the particular application, but it is AF assist for photographing ballet under dim stage lighting, as suggested to me by Stan in St. Petersburg (I forget the handle) elsewhere in this forum.
I can see that I was confusing the focus mode (9-point dynamic area autofocus) with the metering mode (single point metering).
Also to dm1dave:
I appreciate all the help. I had in fact recently come to the conclusion that the forum people know more than the Nikon support people, even when those people get the camera off the shelf. When I got my D90 a few years ago, support from the Dominican Republic office was so bad that I spoke to the Nikon mgr in upstate NY. He told me that they had hired a lot of new people. I suggested that they get the camera in their hands if they don't know the answer, and stop guessing. I believe that this suggestion was implemented (although it does not guarantee a correct answer -- the person who told me to set e3 had the camera, he said). Anyway, now that they have relocated the support operation to PA, it's deja vu all over again. New people there. But now I have you people!
#13. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 12
Back to Gray Star:
"Only works in AF-A or AF-S." Apparently means it But AF-A switches between AF-C and AF-S, doesn't it? Or am I getting trapped in the Nikon's terminology/ Is it the case -- that AF assist with the SB-600 mounted on the hot shoe -- works when I set the camera to AF-A AND the camera then sets itself to AF-C (or, in other words, acts AS IF it were in AF-C)? What is going on?
#14. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 13
>"Only works in AF-A or AF-S." Apparently means it >>is set to AF-C. > >But AF-A switches between AF-C and AF-S, doesn't it? Or am I >getting trapped in the Nikon's terminology/ Is it the case -- >that AF assist with the SB-600 mounted on the hot shoe -- >works when I set the camera to AF-A AND the camera then sets >itself to AF-C (or, in other words, acts AS IF it were in >AF-C)? What is going on?
AF-A always starts out in AF-S mode. So when the AF-Assist light comes on, you're in AF-S. On my D90, when my SB-600 is mounted, AF-A never switches into AF-C mode. It's as if it's disabled. This behavior is undocumented. So you need to check your D7000 to see if AF-A even switches to AF-C when the flash is on the camera.
When the SB-600 is not mounted, the built-in AF-Assist light comes on for AF-A initially, but remains off when the camera switches to AF-C.
#16. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 14
PS. referring to the D7000 Manual (p 94), the AF-area mode choices are:
single point servo dynamic area AF mode (in AF-A and AF-C) (with 9, 21, or 39 point choices)
So, if AF-A always starts in AF-S, what happens to the area mode if i have selected dynamic area AF? Is dynamic area (where the camera considers info from the focus points surrounding the selected focus point) disabled? Or does the camera get confused? Is it better to simply select AF-Area mode = single point, when using the SB-600?
#17. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 16
>So, if AF-A always starts in AF-S, what happens to the area >mode if i have selected dynamic area AF? Is dynamic area >(where the camera considers info from the focus points >surrounding the selected focus point) disabled? Or does the >camera get confused?
When using AF-A, if the camera switches to AF-C mode, then the Area-AF mode will come into play and the selected mode should be used.
With Dynamic area-AF, the camera will determine the point of focus using the selected focus point only. Once a focus indicator is achieved, the camera will track your subject and adjust focus (in AF-C or AF-A in AF-C mode.) If your subject were to momentarily move away from the selected focus point, and the camera recognizes this, then the camera will use the surrounding focus point to pickup your subject and maintain focus. The purpose of this function is to prevent the AF system from focusing on the background, just because your subject got away from you momentarily.
ViewNX will indicate the active focus point if you happen to take the picture while your subject was under one of the surrounding focus points.
Note that this is not tracking. Exposure is still based on the primary focus point (your selected focus point.) The idea is to keep you from losing your focus while you get the subject back under the correct focus point.
I hear that the camera loses the subject more often when 21 and 39 points are selected...probably because there's a lot more processing going on with all those points. In any case, 9-point seems the most popular.
> Is it better to simply select AF-Area >mode = single point, when using the SB-600?
It doesn't make a difference. When the camera is in AF-S mode (either by having AF-S selected or the AF-S mode of AF-A) then all the Area-AF modes act like Single Point. So there's no need to switch.
Single point is useful with AF-C when you DO want the AF to adjust immediately to a new subject. This is useful when "hunting" through the viewfinder.
#18. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 17
In this case (ballet) , I tend to hunt & find the subject, which I then need to track, as it moves, relatively predictably. . Sometimes the shot is of the moving subject, sometimes it is at the pose to which the movement leads. Often it is one person, or two people together. Sometimes it's a large group (or set of small groups) spread across the stage. Occasionally it's a small group.
#19. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 17
1. Thank for the extended explanation. There is progress, but I must admit that that I am a bit confused, partly by the Nikon terminology: the autofous mode (= AF-A, AF-S, or AF-C), on the one hand; and the "AF area mode" ( = Single, Dynamic <9, 21, or 39), or 3D tracking) on the other hand. Let's assume that the desired focus is at the center of the frame, (excpet where the subject changes, as discussed below).[br /> 2. The overall object is to maintain focus in dim light using the SB-600 for AF assit. The system requires using autofocus mode set to AF-A or AF-S, but not AF-C. But the camera, when set to AF-A autofocus mode, can act as if it were set to AF-S or AF-C autofocus modes, although always starting in the AF-S autofocus mode.
3. When shooting ballet, the object is to prevent the camera from shifting the focus to the backdrop when using AF-S autofocus mode and single point AF area mode (if the subject moves off the center point). The overall objective of this inquiry is: what is the best (1) autofocus mode setting and (2) what is the basrt autofocus area mode setting, under those condftions (when the subject is one or two persons).
4. Comment: Don't you find it strange that, to use the SB-600 for AF assist, i cannot set the camera's autofocus mode to AF-C, but the SB-600 will provide AF assist if the camera itself switches from AF-A to AF-C?
5. You say that "when using AF-A (autofocus mode), if the camera switches to AF-C (autofocus mode), then the area-AF mode will come into play and the selected mode should be used". This seems to mean that the camera WILL use the slected AF-area mode. Is this correct? You later suggest that is 9 point (& whic is what I use, but you also suggest that single point may be preferable; see below)).
6. This also implies that when using AF-A, if the camera, haivng started in AF-S, stays in AF-S (becausee the subject does not move, then the AF-area mode is automatically single point. Is that correct? I think so, from your next-to-last paragraph.
7. You state that "single point is useful with AF-C when you DO want the AF to adjust immediately to a new subject."
There are two situations:
(a) I want to maintain focus on a single person, who is moving (and if I do not move the camera to follow fast enough, the focus shifts to the backdrop, which is undesirable); and
(b) I change subject, and the new subject is at a distinctly different distance.
So what are the bast autofocus modes and AF area modes for each case? That's the whole point.
8. You state that "this is not tracking AF-area mode" Exposure is still based on the primary focus point." Is the distinction that, in the 3D area tracking mode, the focus point moves with the subject, but in AF-C the focuys point (assume it's the center remains the same, but if the subject movbes, say, to the right two feet, the focus remains at the same distance until I align the camera so that the center (focus) point is on the subject? The seems to be the intent, but if this is so, what is the point of using the surrounding area (such as nine points in the AF-area mode) to assist in maintaining the focus?
#20. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 19
AF-S/C/A - HOW to focus. AF-S - Focus just once. AF-C - Focus continuously. AF-A - Starts as AF-S and if the distance to subject changes, switches to AF-C.
AF-Area - WHERE to focus. Single Point - Focus at the selected focus point only. Dynamic - Start at the selected focus point. When a subject is identified, keep focus on the subject even if the subject moves to surrounding focus points. Exposure is always based on the original selected focus point only. 3D-Tracking - Start at the selected focus point. When a subject is identified, keep focus on the subject even if the subject moves to surrounding focus points. When the subject moves, the new focus point becomes the "selected" focus point. Exposure is based on the new focus point. Auto - the camera selects the focus point.
With AF-S, all AF-Area modes act like the Single Point AF-Area. In fact, on the D7000 I don't think you can even select any other AF-Area.
In AF-A mode, the SB-600 will not provide AF-Assist for continued focusing if the camera switches to AF-C. As I had stated above, in AF-A mode, my D90 wouldn't even switch to AF-C mode when the SB-600 is mounted. I don't know if that is true with a D7000. In any case, AF-Assist never works with AF-C (whether it's AF-C mode or AF-A in AF-C mode.)
If you want to maintain focus with AF-Assist then you cannot use AF-C. You should use AF-S and "drum" the shutter (continuously half-pressing and releasing the shutter.) When you want to take the picture, press the shutter fully...don't stop at the half-press, as there's no need (however, make sure that your custom setting "a2:AF-S Priority" is set to "Focus"...you want the camera to fire after it has achieved a focus lock.)
This will also place red lights from the SB-600 on the subject every time you half-press.
Yes, in 3D Tracking the focus point actually moves with the subject. In Dynamic the focus point does not move. The focus points that surround the selected focus point are simply assisting in maintaining focus. The expectation is that you really do want the subject under that one selected focus point. With 3D Tracking, the expectation is that the subject can be anywhere, and so the focus point follows. The difference is composition. Use Dynamic when your composition is fixed and the subject needs to be in the correct spot. Use 3D Tracking when the composition is fluid. 3D Tracking with AF-C is also good for the "focus & recompose" method of composing images. You focus on something in the center of the image, and then recompose. As you recompose, the object you focused on will be tracked, and will be kept in focus. This is necessary when using 35-50mm lenses at large apertures, as the change in composition may blur the object you focused on.
#21. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 20
Thanks so much for being so patient with your full explanation. The result boils down to: for AF assist with the SB-600, use AF-S focus mode and single point AF-area mode. Drum the shutter release.
This also suggests that in continuous shutter release, the subject might move out of focus, becasue the focus locked at the hal-press leading to the (sequence of ) shots (if the subject does that in 1/6 second, or multiples of that), and the images will be out of focus. But that's the tradeoff (price) for using the SB-600 AF assist. Perhaps that's why Stan in St. Petersburg uses single frame shutter release for ballet. (But he says that professional dancers have very predictable trajectories, more so than amateurs, with which I am dealing.)
D-7000 behavior, SB-600 NOT mounted:
() Verifed: when in AF-S focus mode, allows only AF area modes S or Auto;
(b) (expected) when in AF-C focus mode, then AF-C becomes AF-S or AF-A. If it becomes AF-S, then we expect that only the single point AF area mode is active. But if SF-C becomes AF-A, then we would expect that the selected AF area mode (such a 9-pt) would apply Right?
(But if the SB-600 is mounted, we expect that AF-C focus mode would remain in AF-S focus mode, so there is no point in selecting AF-C, just select AF-S -- as you have said several times.)
I have not yet compared the situation with the SB-600 mounted. I'll do that shortly.
I have also found that using these minimal modes appear to make the camera focus faster. Less computing load.
I just reviewed the related material in Darell Young's book. Even he says that this subject is confusing. What he says is, of course, consistent with what you say, and I did not find that he documents the undocumented point to which you referred above (I checked for that days ago).
#22. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 21
>This also suggests that in continuous shutter release, the >subject might move out of focus, becasue the focus locked at >the hal-press leading to the (sequence of ) shots (if the >subject does that in 1/6 second, or multiples of that), and >the images will be out of focus.
That's correct. Also, you're limited on continuous drive speed anyways, because the flash won't recharge that quickly.
>D-7000 behavior, SB-600 NOT mounted: > ... >(b) (expected) when in AF-C focus mode, then AF-C becomes AF-S >or AF-A. If it becomes AF-S, then we expect that only the >single point AF area mode is active. But if SF-C becomes >AF-A, then we would expect that the selected AF area mode >(such a 9-pt) would apply Right?
I'm not exactly sure what you're saying here. AF-C is always AF-C...it never changes. The camera may change AF-C to AF-S if you switch from, say, Dyanamic to Single Point AF-Area. But that's not something that happens in the middle of shooting, so it doesn't matter. Only AF-A changes in the middle of shooting, starting in AF-S and then switching to AF-C if necessary (but not when there's a flash mounted or the built-in flash is raise...at least on my D90.)
#23. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 22
"(b) expected" -- bah -- my bad! I said it backwards. I meant: AF-A starts as AF-S and becomes AF-C (if motion detected), as you said several times.
I'll try again. Suppose AF-A is set.
(a) If the SB-600 is NOT mounted, then, if AF-A remains in AF-S, the camera will act like AF area mode S has been selected. If AF-A goes into AF-C, the (manually) selected AF Area mode comes into play.
(b) If the SB-600 IS mounted, then, if AF-A remains in AF-S, the AF area mode acts like (or is?) is AF-S. If AF-A brings up AF-C, then the SB-600 will not provide AF assist (and probably will not bring up any AF area mode, either -- but that should be irrelevant). Anyway, as we said, for SB-600 AF assist, better to just use AF-S focus mode, and drum the shutter. The AF area mode manual setting then becomes irrelevant (as you said).
So, did I finally get it straight?
As I said I would check: with the SB-600 mounted on the D7000, it IS possible to set the camera manually to AF-C.
About using single frame shutter release. You say that in continuous shutter release, the SB-600 recharge rate can be a limiting factor on the frame rate. I have noticed that effect in daylight sports shooting, using the SB-600 for fill, especially when the batteires begin to run down. But in AF assist for theater work, with AF focus mode = S & the SB-600 mounted & set to AF-assist, then if I am trying to shoot continuously, the SB-600 will not assist shot illumination; it only fires when I acquire focus by a half-press, so the SB-600 recharge rate only limits the frequency of focus acqusition, not the frequency of shots. So the SB-600 would not fire during the burst, only at the beginning, when I acquire focus. True?
#24. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 23
"a" is right.
In "b" you meant to say "the AF area mode acts like Single Point"...not "AF-S"...and that's right. Also, it's my experience that AF-A never switches to AF-C when the flash is mounted (or even when the built-in flash is popped.)
So yeah...looks like you got it.
I don't think there was ever a question of setting the D7000 to AF-C manually with flash. The question was, would AF-A switch to AF-C with flash. It doesn't on my D90, but I don't have a D7000 to try it. That's what we need to check. But I'm pretty sure it doesn't.
Here's how AF-C works with flash...the AF-Assist light will only come on with the initial half-press. Once your fully press the shutter, you won't get AF-Assist on subsequent firings. Once the flash fires, it needs to recharge. During recharging, your camera will continue to fire shots without flash. Those shots will be useless.
It's possible that when shooting at a very low power, the flash will keep up with your continuous shooting. But that only happens when photographing objects with direct flash (no bounce) that are close to you.
#25. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 24
Thank you. Yes, in (b) I meant to say AF Area mode acts like single point area mode. i can't proof read my own stuff!
I wish Nikon had different terminolgy for the focus mode and the AREA focus mode. But they don't. Easy to confuse.
As to whether the camera continues to shoot in AF-C with the flash mounted: I think you assume that the flash is set to AF-assist mode. Suppose I hold the shutter release in. If the camera keeps firing -- without refoussing -- you say that the shots will be useless. Isn't that (uslessness) true only if the focus changes? We are not using the flash to illuminate the subject, except for focussing.
As to the flash keeping up with continuous shooting, in shooting sports in daylioght with the SB-600 for fill flash (not for AF assist, it would keep up for at least a few shots (like 3) starting a burst, until it needed to recharge. (I keep my batteires well charged.
#26. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 25
There is no "AF-Assist" mode that I am aware of. You either have AF-Assist enabled on the flash or you don't, but the flash itself will always fire when turned on. The only way to prevent the flash from firing is to set the Fn button to "Flash off." When you press and hold the Fn button, the flash will not fire (but the AF-Assist still works.) It will be a pain to shoot for extended amounts of time while trying to hold in the Fn button.
I said the shots are useless because there's no flash. I had always presumed you were taking flash exposures...not simply using the AF-Assist for focus. If flash exposures aren't allowed, I would imaging that they'd be equally unhappy with red lines crossing the dancers and stage every so often.
I'm surprised that the lighting is so low that you'd need AF-Assist to focus. Even in a dark setting, the lighting on performers is usually pretty good.
#27. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 26
St Petersburg, RU
Assist does not work on the first or any shot in AF-C or when in AF-A when the camera senses it should auto focus.
The red grid pattern is hardly seen by subjects, it is low energy and not bright and accordingly, I have never heard of anyone complaining about it or even mentioning they saw it.
AF Assist works differently on different models. The D7000 uses it with any focal point while some other cameras only turned on when the center FP is active. One of the conditions for its activation is being a FL between 24-135mm. Stan St Petersburg Russia
#28. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 27
>Assist does not work on the first or any shot in AF-C or when >in AF-A when the camera senses it should auto focus.
Thanks for catching that. I meant continuous drive, not AF-C. We had already established that the situation would required AF-S/A for AF-Assist, and were now addressing continuous drive issues with flash. Sorry for the slip.
#29. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 28
I checked the SB-600 manual. On page 50, "Wide Area AF-assist" is a "feature" not a "mode" of operation of the SB600. But on page 26, it is listed as one of the available "flash mode" settings for the SB-600. I was not referring to the settings on the camera body.
The line art on page 10, point 7, designates the Af illuinators. the manual says nowhere that they are IR (or visible red). I learned that from Stan, and that they are also (dimly) visible red.
#31. "RE: Wide-area AF assist" In response to Reply # 29
>I checked the SB-600 manual. On page 50, "Wide Area >AF-assist" is a "feature" not a >"mode" of operation of the SB600. But on page 26, >it is listed as one of the available "flash mode" >settings for the SB-600.
It's not listed as a mode on page 26. It just happens to be on the drawing of the LCD. The mode selection is displayed on the upper left of the LCD.
>The line art on page 10, point 7, designates the Af >illuinators. the manual says nowhere that they are IR (or >visible red). I learned that from Stan, and that they are >also (dimly) visible red.
As far as I've been able to ascertain, there's no IR from the AF-Assist. The AF system of the camera is a visible-light system. They're simply red lights. If it was infrared, you wouldn't see the light. And since there is visible light, the AF system can see it as well and use it for focus. That's said, if anyone knows for sure that it's otherwise, I'd appreciate a link to that information.
>Also, if the SB-600 is set to AF-assist, and the camera's >built-in falsh is not deploayed, then there will be no flash >to illuminate the capture, rgiht? No need t ohold in the fn >button. Right?
There's no setting the SB-600 to AF-Assist. The only modes of operation are TTL-BL, TTL, and M. As you say, AF-Assist is a feature, and there's no option to disable the flash when the unit is turned on. If it's mounted on the camera and it's turned on, it flashes (in M,A,S,and P modes.) As far as I'm aware, the only way to use the AF-Assist without the flash firing is to use the Flash-off setting of Fn and hold the Fn button.