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Subject: "Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af" Previous topic | Next topic
stanflyfisher Registered since 30th Nov 2007Mon 29-Aug-11 10:57 PM
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"Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af"


US
          

Hello,

I'm Confused (my wife says that's nothing new-she's wrong!). Under which circumstances would you want to use AF-S area mode & Single point af? Any help will be appreciated!
Thanks

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af
Gamecocks Silver Member
29th Aug 2011
1
Reply message RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af
agitater Gold Member
30th Aug 2011
2
Reply message RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af
ericbowles Moderator
01st Sep 2011
3
Reply message RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af
billD80 Silver Member
01st Sep 2011
4
Reply message RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af
Len Shepherd Gold Member
01st Sep 2011
5
     Reply message RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af
ericbowles Moderator
01st Sep 2011
6
          Reply message RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af
Len Shepherd Gold Member
01st Sep 2011
7
               Reply message RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af
ericbowles Moderator
01st Sep 2011
8
                    Reply message RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af
dwaycie Silver Member
02nd Sep 2011
9

Gamecocks Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jul 2010Mon 29-Aug-11 11:57 PM
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#1. "RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af"
In response to Reply # 0


Joanna, US
          

Hi Stan,

Use the AF-S and single point set-up for stationary subjects. Once you begin the shutter the camera will focus on the target area you have selected. In the manual, check out pages 50, 91 and 94. We must be related by marriage because my wife says the same about me. Go figure.

John

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. <><

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Tue 30-Aug-11 04:07 AM
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#2. "RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af"
In response to Reply # 0


Toronto, CA
          

I'm primarily a street shooter, occasionally landscapes and country scenes. All I use is AF-S and single point AF. None of my subjects move very much. Even street shooting people in tight compositions, I prefer AF-S and single point AF. Matrix metering is also SOP for me.

I often pan with a focus on individual people moving parallel to my general plane of focus. It blurs and streaks the background no matter what aperture I'm using. Again, AF-S and single point AF.

Can't remember the last time I use AF-C.

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Thu 01-Sep-11 03:44 PM
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#3. "RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af"
In response to Reply # 0


Atlanta, US
          

I use AF-S for landscapes and macro closeups of static subjects. I use Focus priority for these subjects since I can easily recompose or refocus if focus is not achieved.

I use AF-C for moving subjects - people, animals, insects, active sports, etc. I use Release priority in that I want to fire the camera even if focus is just close. Sometimes with Focus priority the camera will not fire at a critical time.

I have been trying AF-A on the D7000 - letting the camera choose between AF-S and AF-C. Generally it is fine, but once in a while the camera thinks the subject is static, loses focus when it moves, and won't fire. This happened recently two times as two different black bears were emerging from a stream and shaking off water. I lost the shot due to the lack of AF and the camera not firing. I have historically used AF-C on my D300 all the time.

There is no real disadvantage to using AF-C all the time as long as you understand that it may fire without achieving focus. I find that failure to fire is more of a problem than lack of focus (since I am pretty good about achieving focus). And just because it focuses does not mean it focuses on the right place,

I use Single point AF when precision is required and I need to know exactly which sensor is being used. That is most of the time. I have tried Dynamic AF for moving subjects that cannot readily be tracked with a single AF sensor - like birds in flight. With Dynamic or Auto area focus, you are giving control to the camera. That means it might pick whatever is closest to the camera - the nose rather than the ear or even a blade of grass in front of the subject.

I use Normal delay for AF tracking. If a blade of grass comes between you and a moving subject being tracked, the camera will ignore it.

Eric Bowles
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billD80 Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2007Thu 01-Sep-11 05:10 PM
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#4. "RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af"
In response to Reply # 3


US
          

>I have been trying AF-A on the D7000 - letting the camera
>choose between AF-S and AF-C. Generally it is fine, but once
>in a while the camera thinks the subject is static, loses
>focus when it moves, and won't fire. This happened recently
>two times as two different black bears were emerging from a
>stream and shaking off water. I lost the shot due to the lack
>of AF and the camera not firing.

Eric, this is selfish on my part, but may be useful to the wider question. Given your subject matter, have you used the 3D option on the D7000, because it will track specific colors across the field, adjusting focus accordingly.

Your shooting subject matter is very diverse and I'd love your assessment of the effectiveness.

www.billkeane.zenfolio.com

  

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Len Shepherd Gold Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003Thu 01-Sep-11 06:24 PM
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#5. "RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af"
In response to Reply # 3


Yorkshire, GB
          

>This happened recently two times as two different black bears were emerging from a
>stream and shaking off water.
The failure is most likely due to the bears being low contrast and black and poor AF targets rather than the AF settings.
I presume you were in focus priority - which prevents the shutter firing if focus is not good. Shutter priority enables you to get instant shots - at the risk of some out of focus images.

Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.

Len Shepherd

  

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Thu 01-Sep-11 08:17 PM
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#6. "RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af"
In response to Reply # 5


Atlanta, US
          

Bill - I have tried the 3D tracking some. With Dynamic AF, it seems to track nicely on both the D300 and D7000. For subjects moving toward me, it allowed the AF to track the subject much more effectively than simply using AF. The key is you have to be willing to give up a little control and move from single point AF to dynamic AF.

Len - I was set up on a tripod with the sensor tracking the bear perfectly. The only images I missed were when the bear started to shake water off its body. The camera immediately lost focus and could not regain focus until after the behavior was finished. I understand that there was no longer a clean focus target. But it seemed that the camera (set for AF-A) was still trying to use AF-S with focus priority rather than AF-C with release priority. With AF-C it would have fired, or switching AF-S release priority to Release would have caused it to fire. Knowing this, I can work around the issue in the future, but it was a bit of a surprise. I woudl certainly not use AF-A or AF-S for subjects with the possibility of shaking water, feathers, etc.

My point in this thread is not to criticize the camera, but rather to share the limitations I ran into, differences with the D300, and look for help from others who have used the D7000 in challenging situations. If I know the limitations of the camera, I can work around them.

Eric Bowles
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Len Shepherd Gold Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003Thu 01-Sep-11 09:22 PM
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#7. "RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af"
In response to Reply # 6
Thu 01-Sep-11 09:35 PM by Len Shepherd

Yorkshire, GB
          

>Len - I was set up on a tripod with the sensor tracking the bear perfectly. The only images I missed were when the bear
>started to shake water off its body. The camera immediately lost focus and could not regain focus until after the behavior
>was finished. I understand that there was no longer a clean focus target. But it seemed that the camera (set for AF-A)
>was still trying to use AF-S with focus priority rather than AF-C with release priority.
Thanks for the extra information.
Many are learning the strengths and weaknesses of the AF changes - new to Nikon and to us - in the D7000
The likely indirect cause was when the bears started to shake water they stopped walking, the detail in the subject matter changed, and the AF sensor could not detect the fine detail of the shaken water.
The likely more direct cause is hinted at on page 91 of the instruction manual.
In AF-A (auto servo AF) on the D7000 the camera decides if the subject is moving - and selects either single servo AF or continuous servo for static or moving subjects.
I can understand any-ones assumption this means shutter priority regardless of whether the subject is moving or static.
In AF-S (single servo AF) Nikon say at default the shutter can only be released when when in focus indicator is displayed
This seems to indicate, in AF-A if the camera decides the subject is not moving (possible if the bears stopped walking to shake off the water) and the focus indicator was not displayed (possible because of the shaken water) no picture unless menu setting a2 is used to select shutter priority in AF-S
Based on your missed shots with extremely hard to locate wildlife action my view is page 91, the the auto servo AF section, should clarify the camera in default switches to focus priority if it decides the subject is not moving.
It is IMO opinion not good enough for Nikon to hint at the issue with auto servo AF only in the single servo AF section
If I were you I would draw Nikon's attention to the less than ideal detail in the manual.
Edit - just changed a2 menu on my D7000 to release priority.


Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.

Len Shepherd

  

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Thu 01-Sep-11 10:02 PM
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#8. "RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af"
In response to Reply # 7


Atlanta, US
          

Thanks, Len - Good thoughts and very helpful linking back to the manual.

And back to the original post, I hope this discussion has helped to highlight the difference between AF-S, AF-A and the impact of single point AF along with some nuances of practical application.

We have to remember that the AF system in these cameras is very good. When you look at the development of AF over the past 15 years, it has dramatically improved our images but yet we still are stretching the boundaries.

Eric Bowles
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dwaycie Silver Member Nikonian since 23rd Nov 2008Fri 02-Sep-11 12:13 PM
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#9. "RE: Using af-s auto focus mode & Single-point af"
In response to Reply # 8


Buffalo Grove, US
          

I'm a new D7000 owner, and very happy with the purchase -- my D90 will become my backup body, or maybe even go on sale to be replaced with a second D7000.

I, too, have been struggling with the entire issue of focus, as it is even more complex than the D90 was. I found the best (by far) explanation of the focusing process and options in Thom Hogan's D7000 guide. While Digital Darrell's book is easier to use and understand, Thom's explanation of focus options is outstanding.

One interesting item -- on the D90, Thom recommended assigning the EA-L/AF-L button to AF-ON. He doesn't seem to recomment that on the D7000 -- Im not sure why.

Thanks for this thread and the discussion of your problems in wildlife photography -- the conversations have been very valuable.

Dave

  

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