UNDERSTANDING SINGLE, DYNAMIC, AND GROUP AUTOFOCUS SETTINGS (c)
Now, let’s look at figure 12 and Pattern 2 of Group Dynamic Custom Setting a3:
In figure 12, Pattern 2, you will see a smaller pattern than the cross-arrangement in Pattern 1. Instead of a cross shape, the camera provides either a vertical or horizontal line pattern. I have only included the horizontal view in my illustration above. (See page 184 of your D2x manual for a view of both horizontal and vertical patterns.)
Pattern 2 works exactly like Pattern 1 except there are fewer sensors involved. (see + signs). This pattern allows you very fine control of the tracking of moving subjects in a horizontal or vertical direction. Remember, you can move these patterns around with the multi-selector thumb rocker switch.
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DYNAMIC AREA AUTOFOCUS WITH CLOSEST FOCUS PRIORITY
|Remember how the Dynamic Area Focus worked? If a bird landed BEHIND your squirrel, the D2x may decide it likes the bird better? Well, this version of Dynamic Area AF uses Close Focus Priority to completely ignore any objects or people behind your primary subjects.||
You have NO control of what sensor is in use, and no indication in the focus screen. The camera focuses on whatever is closest and/or brightest in the viewfinder.
|Figure 14 is a simplified D2x screen that represents the focus sensors in use in this mode. Notice that no one particular sensor has the initial focus:||
This mode is great for snapshooting, or for group shots, or any time you don’t want to make any focusing decisions, yet still want great pictures. One of my favorite reasons for using it is the old two person background gap problem we discussed before. How many of us have beautiful pictures of the background, while the two people we wanted to take a picture of are completely out of focus? When you focused your camera, YOU were looking at the people, but the camera sees the gap between them, and a nice bright something in the background. Voila, ruined picture!
Close Focus Priority pretty much eliminates that problem, since the subjects are closer than the background. But, what happens when someone walks between you and your subjects? Do you want the camera to focus on the new closer subject? Not usually! So, it is also important that custom setting a4 is left ON with this AF mode. Focus Tracking with Lock-On prevents anything that might move in front of our “locked on” subject from interfering with our focus.
One important note, the Nikon D2x manual on page 77 states the following: “Camera may be unable to select focus area containing closest subject when telephoto lens is used or subject is poorly lit. Single-area AF is recommended in these cases.”
So, all you birders, wildlife shooters, and sports photographers out there take heed. It may not be a good idea to use Closest Focus Priority with your big telephoto lenses, unless the subject has very high contrast. Be forewarned! Why not try regular Dynamic Area AF instead.
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