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

Dynamic area AF versus 3D tracking

Nikon32250

St. Augustine, US
4021 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author
Nikon32250 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Mar 2004
Fri 11-Jan-13 02:40 PM

Can someone help me understand a bit more about the difference between dynamic area AF and 3D tracking? I shoot a fair amount of high school football and soccer games. Page 94 of the manual states that 21 point dynamic area is best for football games when "players are moving unpredictably." 3D tracking is recommended for subjects that are moving erratically." I don't really understand the difference between the two.

Also, does the focus point indicator move as the subject moves or do I simply keep the highlighted focus point on the subject? Typically I use a high burst rate when shooting soccer or football. Which of the two tracking methods works better when in Continuous High?

Thanks

Graham
From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs

http://www.ancientcityphotography.com/>

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

dm1dave

Lowden, US
13630 posts

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

#1. "RE: Dynamic area AF versus 3D tracking" | In response to Reply # 0

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
Fri 11-Jan-13 04:07 PM

>> “does the focus point indicator move as the subject moves or do I simply keep the highlighted focus point on the subject?”

The focus indicator should stay in one place and you should try to keep that point on your subject as much as possible.

I think 3d tracking works best when you subject is fairly large in the frame and moving relatively slow. It also uses the surrounding colors to help keep track of your subject. I would think this could cause problems in team sports where uniform colors could cause focus to shift to another player.

I would probably stick with either 9 or 21 point dynamic area AF for soccer or football.

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

Click on image to view larger version

Nikon32250

St. Augustine, US
4021 posts

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

#2. "RE: Dynamic area AF versus 3D tracking" | In response to Reply # 1

Nikon32250 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Mar 2004
Fri 11-Jan-13 04:51 PM

Thanks Dave, I'll give that a try the next time.

Graham
From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs

http://www.ancientcityphotography.com/>

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

kuzzy

Milford, US
1301 posts

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

#3. "RE: Dynamic area AF versus 3D tracking" | In response to Reply # 0

kuzzy Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Dec 2005
Fri 11-Jan-13 09:55 PM

Graham, I would stay away from both of those shooting sports. As Dave pointed out 3D uses color so on a football or soccer field the AF system can be distracted by the same color (think another player in the same uniform) moving within the frame. 21pt dynamic is usually a little too large an area as well and sometimes the camera will pick out the wrong player to focus on. That can still happen in 9pt dynamic but is less likely than when using 21 pts. Most of the people in the sports forum use single point for football and soccer as well. After much experimentation with all of those settings they have found those two settings (single point & 9 point dynamic) best (with AF-C). Personally I use single point the vast majority of the time.

Here is a link to some af setting tips for sports for the D4. You can use these as a guide.
http://nps.nikonimaging.com/technical_solutions/d4_tips/settings_by_subject/

There is quite a good deal of information about autofocus at this link and although some of the info only pertains to the D4 and its AF settings the D7000 shares many of the same settings and as such much of the information on these pages is helpful.

You may also find it helpful to review some of the posts in the sports forum as most people include their settings when they post images. Good luck.

Marc
There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.-Ansel Adams

http://500px.com/WhatISaw
http://kuzzy.smugmug.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Nikon32250

St. Augustine, US
4021 posts

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

#4. "RE: Dynamic area AF versus 3D tracking" | In response to Reply # 3

Nikon32250 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Mar 2004
Fri 11-Jan-13 10:20 PM

Marc

It is interesting that you mentioned about using single point. The other day I was watching one of the college bowl games, and the cameraman had a still photographer in the picture who was using a D3. I froze the picture to look at his settings and he was using single point. In the past I have also used single point, but I had been wondering if I would do a better job with one of the other settings. Now it looks like I was probably using the best setting all along.

Graham
From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs

http://www.ancientcityphotography.com/>

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

karanjikar

CN
4 posts

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

#5. "RE: Dynamic area AF versus 3D tracking" | In response to Reply # 4

karanjikar Registered since 25th Nov 2012
Sat 12-Jan-13 12:23 AM

With my limited experience I also agree about single point focus..

I tend to think that single point focus would be better in most situations where the central object is well defined.

I tried to use 3D tracking, 21 pt AF and single pt AF for wild life & birds and think that single pt AF gave me the best results in terms of sharpness.

km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
3559 posts

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

#6. "RE: Dynamic area AF versus 3D tracking" | In response to Reply # 5

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Sat 12-Jan-13 06:30 AM

3D tracking works well when the subject color is distinct from the back or foreground so it is aware of the subject itself, even amongst other items of different color in the frame. With a sports team, everyone with a red jersey will be a candidate for capturing the attention of the AF system if the original subject moves out away from the initial focus point. The camera is doing a lot of number crunching so 3D might be a little slower in response, but it does work well if given the right conditions.
AF Dynamic Area is essentially single point with the added benefit of using surrounding focal points to add input if the subject moves out of the range of the selected focal point. The focal point does not change but the surrounding points are used for additional information. This also is calculation intensive so using the fewest number of additional focus points as aids will be faster. Nine point Dynamic is the fastest of the adaptive modes. 39 is the slowest but both are good.
Single point is fast and accurate but limited to data from a single point, which if the center most point will be the most sensitive. It is a cross polarized point that is equally as sensitive to edges that have vertical as well as horizontal components.
Giving the AF system a lot of light really helps all modes so regardless of the aperture you are shooting the frame with, having a fast lens(widest possible aperture)really improves AF performance. AF and metering is done at the widest aperture the lens is capable of, and the camera stops down the aperture to the selected shooting aperture an instant before the shutter opens. A f1/4 lens is the easiest method to improve AF performance even if you are shooting at f/8. A kit lens at its longest focal length might have the widest aperture of f/5.6 so the AF can't be expected to track fast subjects well in anything but very good light. If for AF performance alone is judged, it would be worth renting, borrowing or buying a fast lens for dim light sports.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

MasterDabber

Camberley, UK
3320 posts

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

#7. "RE: Dynamic area AF versus 3D tracking" | In response to Reply # 6

MasterDabber Registered since 10th Dec 2005
Sat 12-Jan-13 07:31 AM

Can I ask a related question. Graham, I don't want to hijack your thread so tell me to go away if you feel I am.

I'm a new D7000 user. I occasionally shoot cycle races. Typically this is either pretty much head on or head on but to the side a bit. I don't usually try and capture straight across eg left to right. Speed of riders perhaps around 30/35 mph. Riders wearing different colour clothing but team members may be grouped together at times.

I'd planned to shoot in AF-C either single point or 9-point. Does that seem to make sense?

Derek

"You might think that, I couldn't possibly comment"
My Gallery
My Nikonians Gallery

Gamecocks

Joanna, US
986 posts

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

#8. "RE: Dynamic area AF versus 3D tracking" | In response to Reply # 7

Gamecocks Registered since 22nd Jul 2010
Sat 12-Jan-13 11:03 AM

Hi Derek,

I've used that combo while doing drag races and have gotten very good results. You can pan and get the type shot, some blur or none depending on the pan, and adjust your aperture for dof or shutter speed to get that perfect shot. If you live near an interstate you could experiment with different settings to find a common starting point; just a thought. Good luck.

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

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Nikon32250

St. Augustine, US
4021 posts

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

#9. "RE: Dynamic area AF versus 3D tracking" | In response to Reply # 6

Nikon32250 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Mar 2004
Sat 12-Jan-13 11:05 AM

Thanks Stan, that is a very informative reply. I have to keep reminding myself that focusing is done at the lens' widest aperture.

Graham
From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs

http://www.ancientcityphotography.com/>

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Nikon32250

St. Augustine, US
4021 posts

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

#10. "RE: Dynamic area AF versus 3D tracking" | In response to Reply # 7

Nikon32250 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Mar 2004
Sat 12-Jan-13 11:07 AM

>Can I ask a related question. Graham, I don't want to hijack
>your thread so tell me to go away if you feel I am.
>
Ask away. The more info that is shared here the better.


Graham
From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs

http://www.ancientcityphotography.com/>

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

richardd300

Dyserth, UK
4507 posts

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

#11. "RE: Dynamic area AF versus 3D tracking" | In response to Reply # 10

richardd300 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2009
Sat 12-Jan-13 02:03 PM | edited Sat 12-Jan-13 02:04 PM by richardd300

As a bird photographer I often use 3D tracking. Like an earlier poster, I also use 3D tracking, 21 pt AF and also sometimes single point AF if the target is slow such as a Raptor just hovering. It takes practice and a good way of learning is to focus on seagulls or some other plentiful bird, e.g. Pigeons. It's fun and an extremely powerful tool too, once ones learned to trust it

Richard

Visit my Nikonians gallery

Visit my website www.pixels4u.co.uk
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. Einstein

MasterDabber

Camberley, UK
3320 posts

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

#12. "RE: Dynamic area AF versus 3D tracking" | In response to Reply # 8

MasterDabber Registered since 10th Dec 2005
Sat 12-Jan-13 04:03 PM

Thanks for the feedback John. And yes, I live on a road with a 40 mph speed limit so that would be a good test with the cars.

I took some Tour de France shots from one of the stages in 2012 and hope to do it again in the future. However, that was with my old D50 so now with the D7000 I'd like to maximise my efforts and use it to the best of its (my) capabilities. In the meantime I'd like to capture some of my cycle club's races.

Derek

"You might think that, I couldn't possibly comment"
My Gallery
My Nikonians Gallery

G