Even though we ARE Nikon lovers,we are NOT affiliated with Nikon Corp. in any way.

English German French

Sign up Login
Home Forums Articles Galleries Recent Photos Contest Help Search News Workshops Shop Upgrade Membership Recommended
members
All members Wiki Contests Vouchers Apps Newsletter THE NIKONIAN™ Magazines Podcasts Fundraising

D700 Autofocus Modes - 51 Points 3D Focus advice please

colin1957

UK
50 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author
colin1957 Silver Member Nikonian since 01st Feb 2009
Wed 27-Mar-13 09:03 PM

I've had my D700 for about 8 months now and I continue to be impressed by the capability of this superb camera. My previous camera was a D200, which I still use occasionally.

Most of my photography is landscapes, urban, travel - subjects are generally static or slow moving and I am happy with my autofocus technique in these situations. Where I find that the D700 is very different to the D200 is with moving objects. I think that I understand Dynamic-Area AF with Continuous Servo using 9 or 21 points (a1 and a2 set to Focus Priority) - my results are't always brilliant for moving objects but I get a good proportion of shots in focus (see attached cropped image) and things improve with practice (typically 200-300mm, f8-11, 1/400 or faster, VR on, handheld). I've also tried 51 Points (3D Tracking) with Continuous Servo for moving objects (e.g. neighbour's dog) on a few occasions but have so far found it impossible to use with success. With the shutter button held down halfway and me doing my best to follow the dog with the centre focus point the focus bracket jumps around the viewfinder seemingly randomly between the 51 focus points, on and off and back onto the dog and the resulting photos (CL Release Mode) seem hit and miss in terms of whether the camera has focussed on the dog or the lawn - what have I failed to grasp about this 51 Points 3D Tracking mode?

Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (jpg file)

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

JosephK

Seattle, WA, US
7075 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#1. "RE: D700 Autofocus Modes - 51 Points 3D Focus advice please" | In response to Reply # 0

JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 17th Apr 2006
Wed 27-Mar-13 11:05 PM

51-3d is the one mode where the camera will show you which focus point it is actually using. It works quite well when the subject is easily distinguished from the background, normally by color.

In the other dynamic modes (9, 21, 51) the camera is limited to the number of points you select but only shows the point in the center of the group as this this the one used to establish the focus lock.

The fewer points used, the fewer calculations and less decision making needs to be done by the camera.

Objects moving directly at or directly away from the camera are the hardest ones for the camera to track.

---------+---------+---------+---------+---------+
Joseph K
Seattle, WA, USA

D700, D200, D70S, 24-70mm f/2.8, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II,
50mm f/1.4 D, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

colin1957

UK
50 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#2. "RE: D700 Autofocus Modes - 51 Points 3D Focus advice please" | In response to Reply # 1

colin1957 Silver Member Nikonian since 01st Feb 2009
Wed 03-Apr-13 06:44 AM

Thanks Joseph - I will practice some more with the 51-3D setting with different subjects and backgrounds. The key thing that I've picked up is the need for the subject to be easily distinguished from the background - with that in mind I'll see whether I can work out when the camera finds that easy (and of course difficult) and use the setting accordingly.

Colin

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Hotswimmer

St. Paul, US
384 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#3. "RE: D700 Autofocus Modes - 51 Points 3D Focus advice please" | In response to Reply # 2

Hotswimmer Silver Member Nikonian since 01st Apr 2008
Fri 05-Apr-13 12:38 AM

I shoot sports a lot, and my experience, anecdotal though it may be, is that 51-3D works best for things like swimming, where the the subject moves in a fairly uniform and predictable manner. It seems to struggle more when shooting sports like soccer and football, where speed and direction of travel often change rapidly.

hillsidekim

Hillside, US
549 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#4. "RE: D700 Autofocus Modes - 51 Points 3D Focus advice please" | In response to Reply # 0

hillsidekim Silver Member Nikonian since 31st Jan 2008
Sat 06-Apr-13 10:27 AM | edited Sat 06-Apr-13 10:28 AM by hillsidekim

Would having the VR on hamper focusing? I know it takes a small amount of time for the lens to lock on the VR. Would that be enough time for the moving subject to become out of focus?
Kim
Western burbs of Chicago

dm1dave

Lowden, US
13640 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#5. "RE: D700 Autofocus Modes - 51 Points 3D Focus advice please" | In response to Reply # 4

dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006
Sat 06-Apr-13 06:49 PM

“Would having the VR on hamper focusing?”

No ... As long as you can keep the active focus point on the subject the AF will lock-on regardless of VR.

One reason to use VR at faster shutter speeds is that it can sometimes be easier to keep the focus point on subject when the lens is stabilized.

Dave Summers
Nikonians Photo Contest Director
My Nikonians Gallery | Current Nikonians Contests

Click on image to view larger version

G