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gorji

Jamesville, US
311 posts

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gorji Registered since 07th Jan 2007
Tue 02-Oct-12 08:57 PM

I realize this is a basic question but I want to find out why would one not use the shutter button to autofocus and then shoot the frame versus using the AF-ON button on the back to focus.

In an earlier thread "If you stop using a half-press on the shutter button and start using the AF-ON button, setting a4 (AF activation) to AF-ON only, so you don't get a focus jump when you press the shutter button, and set a1 (AF-C priority selection) to Release, then set the camera to AF-C using the AF switch and command dial, you add flexibility to the camera. You don't have to focus on something and then try to hold the shutter release half way down as you re-frame your shot. You press AF-ON, with the focus point you want, let go, and you're set. You can re-frame to your heart's content without running the risk of having the focus point jump when you shoot. If a bird flies by you can track it and shoot at what YOU decide is the right point, by holding down AF-ON and pushing the shutter release at the right point." was mentioned which intrigued me. I tried to find the thread to give the author credit but can't find it now.

Thanks
Reza
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Please visit my galleries: Reza Gorji Photography

wesmannmsu

US
302 posts

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#1. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 0

wesmannmsu Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Mar 2011
Tue 02-Oct-12 07:21 PM

Every time I press the shutter button, I want to take a picture.
Not Every time I press the shutter button, do I want to re-focus.

Visit My Website Nikon Fanboy.

emi_fiend

Poway, US
301 posts

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#2. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 0

emi_fiend Gold Member Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 28th Jan 2006
Tue 02-Oct-12 08:29 PM

Reza,

Jason Odell has a blog post that discusses the AF-On button focusing technique.
http://www.luminescentphoto.com/blog/2010/11/05/nikon-af-on-technique/

I find that I use this technique exclusively and won't go back to use of the shutter release button.

There was an older The Image Doctors blog about this technique, but don't remember the number.

Jim

a San Diego Nikonian

walk43

Pennsylvania, US
719 posts

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#3. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 0

walk43 Registered since 07th Feb 2012
Tue 02-Oct-12 08:56 PM

No great reason Reza. Just habit and I don't have to coordinate my thumb and finger with my brain. Also I use a wrist strap and the AF-on is a bit awkward with it.

Dan
(Nikon D800,V2,Sony HX400V,Lumix ZS40)
"I don't read, I just look at pictures" - Andy Warhol

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

gorji

Jamesville, US
311 posts

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#4. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 3

gorji Registered since 07th Jan 2007
Tue 02-Oct-12 09:47 PM

Thanks everyone for the replies. I will try this new technique; old habits maybe hard to break.
-------------
Please visit my galleries: Reza Gorji Photography

walk43

Pennsylvania, US
719 posts

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#5. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 4

walk43 Registered since 07th Feb 2012
Tue 02-Oct-12 10:12 PM

My response was not too clear I am afraid. I use the shutter button for both focus and release as I am not comfortable using 1 finger for the shutter and my thumb for the AF buttom. And I use a wrist strap.. so it is awkward to reach around 2 buttons. Combine that with the fact I have been doing it this way with 1 buttom for 40 years and I just have too may other things to try and remember these days!!!

Dan
(Nikon D800,V2,Sony HX400V,Lumix ZS40)
"I don't read, I just look at pictures" - Andy Warhol

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

gorji

Jamesville, US
311 posts

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#6. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 5

gorji Registered since 07th Jan 2007
Tue 02-Oct-12 10:35 PM

Dan:
LOL!!!
Reza
-------------
Please visit my galleries: Reza Gorji Photography

gorji

Jamesville, US
311 posts

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#7. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 6

gorji Registered since 07th Jan 2007
Tue 02-Oct-12 10:38 PM

Dan and others:
I've tried it for the past 1/2 hour or so as the family watches Dancing with the Stars (I can't stand that show)!!
I can get use to this new way of doing things; With a vertical battery grip (MB_D12) on the D800, I cannot see how to push the shutter release on the grip and thumb on the AF-ON.
Reza
-------------
Please visit my galleries: Reza Gorji Photography

Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
5739 posts

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#8. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 0

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Tue 02-Oct-12 11:19 PM

I'm glad you asked this, as I have been experimenting recently with doing this in sports shots. I think it takes a while to get used to, as I have a lot of out-of-focus shots where I simply forgot to hit AF-ON.

I'm not yet a convert, but I am starting to like it, especially in cases where fast action may move between me and my desired focus point. Like on a kick-off type shot, I get focused on the ball and just stop focusing, while tracking the kicker. So long as they are somewhat in the focal plane, this often works much better than letting the darn AF-C mechanism decide to track the guys foot and suddenly grab some background poster.

It also works very nicely on something like a swimmer, if I time it right -- I can get a focus when they are fully out of the water on a stroke, then keep shooting while releasing as they make a big splash on the next stroke - keeps their arm or water splashing from grabbing focus.

But... I've got 40 years of reflex to reprogram. Takes a while. And really -- the number of times I want to NOT focus while hitting the shutter are pretty small in comparison to when I do, and the number of times I just forget to hit AF-ON... well, it is going to take time.

Thanks for the pointers, I wanted some more insight into this.


Linwood

Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com

gorji

Jamesville, US
311 posts

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#9. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 8

gorji Registered since 07th Jan 2007
Tue 02-Oct-12 11:33 PM

Sometimes the basics need to be revisited to learn new things. This is just such an instance (at least in my case).
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Please visit my galleries: Reza Gorji Photography

fires1

pinellas park, US
81 posts

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#10. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 9

fires1 Registered since 04th Oct 2011
Tue 02-Oct-12 11:43 PM

I have bank A setup for shutter release an bank B set up for A-F on. In my opinion shutter release is the way to go for "static" shots. AF-on is more conducive to movement, with all other settings considered.

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avm247

Rancho Cordova, US
18758 posts

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#11. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 0

avm247 Moderator Awarded for high skills in documentary architecture and aviation photography Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Charter Member
Wed 03-Oct-12 12:19 AM

Using Banks A and B to have AF-ON only and AF-ON + shutter button 1/2 depressed to activate AF is a great idea.

One challenging thing with AF-ON is that when you hand the camera to a person unfamiliar with it, with AF-ON (only) used to activate the AF, you might end up with a blurry picture (my wife still won't let me forget). On vacations, I always make sure I have the shutter activated so when I do hand off my camera (D700 and/or F100) the user can use it easily.

I love using it and won't be switching back anytime soon.


Anthony

The Moderator Page and My Gallery
The important things in life are simple; the simple things are hard.

JosephK

Seattle, WA, US
7108 posts

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#12. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 7

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 03-Oct-12 04:29 AM

The grip has its own af-on button. It should be in the right spot for the vertical buttons.

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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,
17-55mm f/2.8 DX, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

Antero52

Vantaa, FI
2683 posts

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#13. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 0

Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009
Wed 03-Oct-12 04:45 AM

As far as I can see, the posts in this thread appear to be based on assumption that there’s a clearly defined point of interest, and that point of interest can be kept under the focus sensor that determines focusing distance. But what if there are two points of interest. Consider this sequence of mating swans, for example:

https://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=161&topic_id=145915&mesg_id=145915&page=

While the majority of the pictures I published have the two swans close to each other, most of the time the swans were separated by at least a few meters (about 10 – 15 feet). If focusing is coupled to the shutter, the camera may focus on the reeds behind the swans. Yes, I can aim at one of the swans, half-press the shutter, re-compose and wait for action. But it’s much more natural, at least for me, to use my thumb for focusing when the distance to the subject(s) changes and lift my thumb when the distance remains the same. When there’s action, I can simply press the shutter release without worrying about focusing.

Another typical case is an animal moving in a tree or amongst bushes. You re-focus when the animal moves and fire when you want to take a picture.

Regards, Antero

hbrail

Dearborn, US
140 posts

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#14. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 0

hbrail Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 26th Mar 2011
Wed 03-Oct-12 11:59 AM | edited Wed 03-Oct-12 12:08 PM by hbrail

Reza,

Basic questions are good. I've learned a lot from reading answers to basic questions in the Nikonian forums. However, I tend to think your question is actually in the advanced category.

I've taken Nikonian workshops from Mike Hagen, Steve Simon, and Winston Hall over the past year. All of them are strong advocates of using AF-ON also known as "Back-Button Focus" technique. Make sure you have all the settings right, including always using the focus mode AF-C even for stationary objects. The link posted by Jim is spot on.

Once you get in the habit of using two buttons: (1) focus and then (2) shutter each and every time you want to capture an image, you too will be a convert. It is a bit of a learning curve--for me unlearning more than 40 years of pressing just the shutter button, but well worth it. You'll make mistakes in the beginning as nearly everyone does, so don't give up. I do not recommend switching back and forth between using AF-ON and not using it, simply because you need to learn and reinforce the technique until it becomes second nature.

As a D800 (or D4) user, you have another advantage in that VR activates when the AF-ON button is depressed unlike the earlier D300s or D7000 models which only activated VR with a half-press of the shutter button. When shooting moving subjects (AF-ON button continously pressed), the VR activation with the back button means that the up to 1/2 second delay for VR stabilization when previously having to to half-press the shutter button no longer results in missed shots. I always struggled with trying to hold a half-press or remember to half-press when shooting action. Separating focus & VR from shutter release means you can just press the shutter at the exact moment for a single image or series of images at CL or CH.

Herb

Searider

Austin, US
231 posts

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#15. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 0

Searider Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Nov 2004
Wed 03-Oct-12 12:14 PM

I have this setting in my custom menu so it is only 2 or 3 keystroks (button pushing) to change it back and forth. I find that when I am doing static shots I like using the AF-ON button. When I am shooting events I (most of the time) prefer focus on shutter button half-press. I will often follow a subjet with a telephoto for 1-5 minutes waiting for "the shot". My thumb can get tired holding the AF-ON button down for these durations.

-------------------------------------------------
You can't have a light without a dark to stick it in.
-- Arlo Guthrie --
-------------------------------------------------

-Michael-

More Pictures : http://pbase.com/mboswell

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FineArtSnaps

Leesburg, US
401 posts

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#16. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 5

FineArtSnaps Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jun 2012
Wed 03-Oct-12 01:06 PM

>My response was not too clear I am afraid. I use the shutter
>button for both focus and release as I am not comfortable
>using 1 finger for the shutter and my thumb for the AF buttom.
>And I use a wrist strap.. so it is awkward to reach around 2
>buttons. Combine that with the fact I have been doing it this
>way with 1 buttom for 40 years and I just have too may other
>things to try and remember these days!!!

No kidding, Dan? 40 years ago you were using the shutter button to focus? What camera was that?

Russ Lewis
www.russ-lewis.com
www.FineArtSnaps.com

Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
5739 posts

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#17. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 14

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Wed 03-Oct-12 01:51 PM

>As a D800 (or D4) user, you have another advantage in that VR
>activates when the AF-ON button is depressed unlike the
>earlier D300s or D7000 models which only activated VR with a
>half-press of the shutter button. When shooting moving
>subjects (AF-ON button continously pressed), the VR activation
>with the back button means that the up to 1/2 second delay for
>VR stabilization when previously having to to half-press the
>shutter button no longer results in missed shots. I always
>struggled with trying to hold a half-press or remember to
>half-press when shooting action. Separating focus & VR
>from shutter release means you can just press the shutter at
>the exact moment for a single image or series of images at CL
>or CH.

OK, now I'm confused again.

Say I'm not using AF-ON. I assumed that when I hit the shutter button that VR would fire up and get ready, and the shutter would not release until it did. Are you saying that I was supposed to half-press, wait for VR, then full press?

And if so, with AF-ON, doesn't that problem return for cases where I choose NOT to focus on shutter release, since having released AF-ON (let's say on that Soccer ball before the kick), when I hit the shutter release, am I not back to the usual situation?

So isn't it only a VR advantage in that regard if I have AF-ON the whole time, which is the same time I would have had the shutter depressed the other way?

Sorry... I understand that they changed how that work, but I'm unclear now how shutter release and VR "ready" work?


Linwood

Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com

JosephK

Seattle, WA, US
7108 posts

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#18. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 17

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 03-Oct-12 02:35 PM


>Say I'm not using AF-ON. I assumed that when I hit the
>shutter button that VR would fire up and get ready, and the
>shutter would not release until it did. Are you saying that I
>was supposed to half-press, wait for VR, then full press?

Yes, if you don't wait for the VR to stabilize, the picture can be soft/blurry.


>And if so, with AF-ON, doesn't that problem return for cases
>where I choose NOT to focus on shutter release, since having
>released AF-ON (let's say on that Soccer ball before the
>kick), when I hit the shutter release, am I not back to the
>usual situation?

VR activation should be tied to both the af-on button and the shutter button. Thus there should be some overlap in the timing. However, if you are shooting sports, the shutter speed you are using should be negating the need for VR in the first place so that you are not getting the VR lag.

>So isn't it only a VR advantage in that regard if I have AF-ON
>the whole time, which is the same time I would have had the
>shutter depressed the other way?

AF-on activating the VR can help with the focus. VR will always be activated via the shutter button. Your use of both buttons will give the VR system some activation overlap in some cases.

---------+---------+---------+---------+
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,
17-55mm f/2.8 DX, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
5739 posts

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#19. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 18

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Wed 03-Oct-12 02:58 PM

>>And if so, with AF-ON, doesn't that problem return for
>cases
>>where I choose NOT to focus on shutter release, since
>having
>>released AF-ON (let's say on that Soccer ball before the
>>kick), when I hit the shutter release, am I not back to
>the
>>usual situation?
>
>VR activation should be tied to both the af-on button and the
>shutter button. Thus there should be some overlap in the
>timing. However, if you are shooting sports, the shutter
>speed you are using should be negating the need for VR in the
>first place so that you are not getting the VR lag.

Sorry, I probably should not have mixed subjects. It's more a question of whether I ALWAYS use AF-ON to keep the habit in place, or as also suggested here, change back and forth.

In the case of it always being AF-ON focused, you are saying that if you STOP focusing before shutter release, the VR will have to re-settle, and so you need to still give either an AF-ON before, or a half-shutter press and delay?

>>So isn't it only a VR advantage in that regard if I have
>AF-ON
>>the whole time, which is the same time I would have had
>the
>>shutter depressed the other way?
>
>AF-on activating the VR can help with the focus. VR will
>always be activated via the shutter button. Your use of both
>buttons will give the VR system some activation overlap in
>some cases.

When I read Nikon's VR description, it makes it sound like it re-does the VR on full shutter press regardless. Here are their words :

-----
Nikon’s VR System changes operation algorithms when the shutter release button is lightly pressed and during exposure. Therefore, when the shutter release button is lightly pressed, the VR lens gives you a smooth viewfinder image. During the exposure, however, the algorithm changes to compensate for every slight movement. What’s more, just before exposure, the VR lens will reset to central position (optical axis) from an off-centered position which is a result of VR operation during the shutter release button is lightly pressed.
----

Reading this one would think that VR would be going through a full center and re-settle on full shutter press anyway. But you are saying there is a need to allow it time to settle before you press fully?



Linwood

Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com

sxmwb

Longview, US
64 posts

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#20. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 0

sxmwb Silver Member Nikonian since 23rd Jul 2011
Wed 03-Oct-12 05:18 PM

Thanks for asking this question!

I have heard about this and between the URL provided below and the comments here, I am ready to try this out and use it.

I like the decoupling and if there are issues can setup custom shooting as needed.

This has been one of the best discussions on the D800 so far.

Thanks
Mike

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wesmannmsu

US
302 posts

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#21. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 4

wesmannmsu Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Mar 2011
Wed 03-Oct-12 06:20 PM

>Thanks everyone for the replies. I will try this new
>technique; old habits maybe hard to break.


You'll get use to it... Once you do, you might not go back! I never have.

FYI, i didn;t like it with the D7000, always felt like i was going to poke my eye out. but the D800 is every comfortable this way

Visit My Website Nikon Fanboy.

walk43

Pennsylvania, US
719 posts

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#22. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 16

walk43 Registered since 07th Feb 2012
Wed 03-Oct-12 07:10 PM | edited Wed 03-Oct-12 07:11 PM by walk43

Oh my Russ that was a way back in my Pentax Spotmatic days. Again it was an error on my part implying that 1 button also did the focusing back then...I meant that there was only 1 button for me to worry about ... plus twisting the focus ring. Another reason I don't/can't adjust to the AF-On very easily. I still tweak/check my shots alot with manual focus just like in the old days. That plus the zoom ring...just too much for me to coordinate in a matter of a few seconds these days....hahaha. Heck...sometimes I forget to put my SD card back in so thank heaven I have the CF slot!! Enjoy...

Dan
(Nikon D800,V2,Sony HX400V,Lumix ZS40)
"I don't read, I just look at pictures" - Andy Warhol

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

FineArtSnaps

Leesburg, US
401 posts

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#23. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 22

FineArtSnaps Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jun 2012
Wed 03-Oct-12 07:46 PM

Hi Dan, Sounds to me as if you're telling me you're getting too old to switch. Well, I'm 82 and I switched away from focusing with the shutter button about two years ago. I frequently use some manual focus too, and using the AF-On button for my primary focus really helps with that. On the other hand I know from personal experience that it's not easy to make the switch. It takes time and perseverance, but once you get the hang of it you'll never want to go back

Russ Lewis
www.russ-lewis.com
www.FineArtSnaps.com

walk43

Pennsylvania, US
719 posts

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#24. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 23

walk43 Registered since 07th Feb 2012
Wed 03-Oct-12 07:58 PM

Russ,

OK that's the second bit of advice I have received in as many days. The other was to switch to RAW...and I think I am going to do that. Now you and a few others are recommending the AF-ON. What's a fellow to do?

Did you see the dialog lower in this thread?? Seems that Ferguson and some other folks are debating how the AF-ON buttom affects or works with VR. I certainly never thought of that. Read further down about it and let me know what you think. If using AF-ON will help me with better pics then I will be really motivated.

Thanks again..

Dan
(Nikon D800,V2,Sony HX400V,Lumix ZS40)
"I don't read, I just look at pictures" - Andy Warhol

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

sbpatel75

Chicago, US
55 posts

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#25. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 20

sbpatel75 Silver Member Nikonian since 25th Aug 2007
Wed 03-Oct-12 08:13 PM

Ditto. Thanks for asking Reza! I've wondered about this too.

sbp
www.flickr.com/photos/sbpatel75

I tend to clumsily march to the beat of my own off-rhythm drum.

My mom wishes I spent my money on girlie things like dresses, shoes, jewelry, and purses. I'd rather focus on glass.

stappy

Alexandria, US
225 posts

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#26. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 19

stappy Gold Member Nikonian since 06th Aug 2009
Wed 03-Oct-12 09:45 PM

>
>When I read Nikon's VR description, it makes it sound like it
>re-does the VR on full shutter press regardless. Here are
>their words :
>

Note that on cameras prior to the D800/D4 the AF-ON button did not activate VR. In fact, Nikon lens manuals specifically state that AF-ON does not activate VR. As such, I would not necessarily rely on Nikon writing to interpret how VR will work in conjunction with the AF-ON. Particularly anything written prior to the D800 release.
The re-centering can be noticed very clearly when using a macro lens such as the 105 VR. I am not near my equipment but that would seem a good test. That is, with the camera configured for AF-ON, push down and hold the AF-ON and then half depress the shutter and see if the viewfinder jumps again with the half depress. Other lenses focuses close would probably work as well.

Brian

gorji

Jamesville, US
311 posts

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#27. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 0

gorji Registered since 07th Jan 2007
Wed 03-Oct-12 11:17 PM

A great discussion in my opinion. I enjoyed reading all the expert opinions.
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Please visit my galleries: Reza Gorji Photography

gorji

Jamesville, US
311 posts

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#28. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 27

gorji Registered since 07th Jan 2007
Wed 03-Oct-12 11:24 PM | edited Wed 03-Oct-12 11:26 PM by gorji

Now here is another real basic question: How do I use the AF-ON button when I hold the D800 in a vertical position? I am right handed: I hold the camera grip with my right hand with my right index finger on the grip's shutter release button. My left hand usually supports the lens. My fingers are not long enough to reach the AF-ON button. This includes both my hands and all 10 fingers.

I have been taking test pictures with this (new for me) technique and I really like it.
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Please visit my galleries: Reza Gorji Photography

Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
5739 posts

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#29. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 28

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Wed 03-Oct-12 11:48 PM

>> How do I use the AF-ON button when I hold the
>> D800 in a vertical position?

One option is to hold it as usual, and attach one of these:

Click on image to view larger version


Of course, there's also a grip, but I think the above is more generally useful - any angle you want, no need for a Wimberly at all.

Linwood

Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com

Attachment#1 (jpg file)

mikeguil

ELMVALE, CA
453 posts

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#30. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 0

mikeguil Registered since 18th Dec 2005
Thu 04-Oct-12 01:30 AM | edited Thu 04-Oct-12 01:33 AM by mikeguil

I've been using the AF-ON exclusively since the D200. I had trouble with focusing on this camera for some reason, and as soon as I switched to the AF-ON my successes dramatically increased. I did more wedding photography back then, shooting lots of couples. I can focus on one, let go of the button, compose my photo and then just shoot away without having to worry about refocusing, even if my sensor is sitting between the couple.

It took a few days to get really comfortable with it but since then I've used it on my two D300's, the D700 and now the D800e. I'll never go back.. it just works better. As mentioned, you must set a1 to Release and the camera to AF-C.

This is something I teach my students on the workshops I run (assuming of course that they have this feature on their camera) and they are always amazed by the results.

Mike Guilbault
Elmvale, Ontario, Canada
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gorji

Jamesville, US
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#31. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 30

gorji Registered since 07th Jan 2007
Thu 04-Oct-12 08:14 AM

Thank you Mike and everyone else. I also like the fact that I can focus with the back button, then let go, compose, shoot and it will be in focus. So I think I am a convert now as well.
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gorji

Jamesville, US
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#32. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 12

gorji Registered since 07th Jan 2007
Thu 04-Oct-12 08:18 AM | edited Thu 04-Oct-12 01:26 PM by gorji

My goodness I never saw that 2nd AF_ON; sounds crazy but true. Thanks Joseph.
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gorji

Jamesville, US
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#33. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 28

gorji Registered since 07th Jan 2007
Thu 04-Oct-12 08:19 AM

Thanks to Joseph, I found the second AF-ON button; mystery solved!!
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JosephK

Seattle, WA, US
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#34. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 19

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
Thu 04-Oct-12 01:58 PM

>In the case of it always being AF-ON focused, you are saying
>that if you STOP focusing before shutter release, the VR will
>have to re-settle, and so you need to still give either an
>AF-ON before, or a half-shutter press and delay?

When you start the VR system running (af-on or shutter button) it takes about 1/2 second to stabilize. While the af-on or shutter button is held down the VR is in a running state. When you release the button, the VR system will "soon" go into a stopped state.

If you stop focusing with the af-on button and 1/2 press the shutter button soon enough the VR system will stay in a running state. If you leave a big enough gap (which is really small) between the two button presses, then the the VR system will stop and the second button press will need another 1/2 second to stabilize the VR again as it goes back into a running state.

---------+---------+---------+---------+
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,
17-55mm f/2.8 DX, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

txstone12

Texas, US
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#35. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 17

txstone12 Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 12th Feb 2012
Thu 04-Oct-12 02:12 PM

Thom Hogan also has an often cited 'Nikon's VR System Explained' here. I think it's also consistent with the Nikon ref you cited. Note this is a 2010 piece.

http://www.bythom.com/nikon-vr.htm

"But that's not all: when you have VR turned on, your composition isn't going to be exactly what you framed. Yes, the viewfinder shows the VR impact, but Nikon's VR system re-centers the VR elements just prior to the shutter opening. This means that you can get slightly different framing than you saw."

There are two separate processes and algorithms used - of course there is the question of re-centering from where. In earlier refs, there is discussion of allowing the VR system to stabilize, before 'smashing' the shutter release. The references I'm aware of were written prior to the new VR activated by AF-ON D800/E, D4 systems. How fast does the new Nikon VR system stabilize? I haven's seen any recent information on that topic.

David

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briantilley

Paignton, UK
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#36. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 35

briantilley Gold Member Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003
Thu 04-Oct-12 02:57 PM

>The references I'm aware of were written prior to the new VR
>activated by AF-ON D800/E, D4 systems. How fast does the new
>Nikon VR system stabilize?

I don't believe that having the VR system activated by the AF-ON button makes any difference to that. Whether it's initiated by a press on the AF-ON button or a half-press the shutter release, it should take the same (short) time to stabilise.

Brian
Welsh Nikonian

txstone12

Texas, US
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#37. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 36

txstone12 Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 12th Feb 2012
Thu 04-Oct-12 03:42 PM

Brian,

Agree the activation mechanism move to include the AF-ON button does not change the time to stabilize.

The D800/E, D4, and D600 all use the new 'EXPEED 3 image-processing engine', right?

http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d800/features01.htm#a5

I was referring to the time this new processor takes to process VR inputs.

David

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richardd300

Dyserth, UK
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#38. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 37

richardd300 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2009
Thu 04-Oct-12 04:12 PM

Sometimes I wish all my images required use of the D12 grip in portrait orientation as in this mode the AF-ON button is in the perfect place for me.

As said a great thread and although this is my first comment it was very useful.

Richard.

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sxmwb

Longview, US
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#39. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 33

sxmwb Silver Member Nikonian since 23rd Jul 2011
Thu 04-Oct-12 04:47 PM

Where is it? I have not found it. I must be dense today.

Thanks
Mike

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Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
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#40. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 37

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Thu 04-Oct-12 04:48 PM


>I was referring to the time this new processor takes to
>process VR inputs.

I thought the "smarts" for VR was in the lens entirely and only the state (shutter half pressed, pressed, VR ready/off/on) was exchanged with the lens. This seems to imply the body's processor is doing some aspect of the calculation, which is not what I understood (though I am not sure I do understand).

Do you know?

Interesting reading, though not definitive on any of this:

http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/concept/vr/en/in_lens_vr/optimization/


Linwood

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ericbowles

Atlanta, US
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#41. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 31

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 Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Thu 04-Oct-12 04:59 PM

There are a couple of added nuances that have not been mentioned.

Remember that the cross sensors and the center sensor are more responsive and more accurate under low light conditions. As AF becomes more challenging, it is easy to select an AF sensor with the optimum performance regardless of your framing.

The other trick is to hold down the AF-On button and the camera will continue to refocus and track the subject. It is amazing how well this technique works - even with hard to follow subjects you feel like you are guessing on focus but end up with sharp images. This works much better than a focus-shoot-focus-shoot approach.

Eric Bowles
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txstone12

Texas, US
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#42. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 40

txstone12 Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 12th Feb 2012
Thu 04-Oct-12 07:29 PM

>I thought the "smarts" for VR was in the lens
>entirely and only the state (shutter half pressed, pressed, VR
>ready/off/on) was exchanged with the lens. This seems to
>imply the body's processor is doing some aspect of the
>calculation, which is not what I understood (though I am not
>sure I do understand).
>
>Do you know?
>
>Interesting reading, though not definitive on any of this:
>
>http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/concept/vr/en/in_lens_vr/optimization/
>>Linwood

Linwood,

I'll let you decide for yourself - you might call it a punt.

http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Learn-And-Explore/Article/ftlzi4s6/Vibration-Reduction.html

"Nikon VR originates in the lens, not in the image sensor, which means that algorithms optimized to an individual lens are applied. Another advantage of lens-based VR is that a separate algorithm confirms the stabilization effect when you press the shutter release button halfway, giving you the freedom to compose your image more easily. The system can also detect the use of a tripod, recognize panning―an instance in which you wouldn't want the lens to compensate for movement―and address the specific shake caused by the ongoing vibration patterns produced when shooting from a moving vehicle."

http://www.nikonusa.com/en_US/IMG/Images/Micro-Sites/VR/technology/centering/

"The instant the shutter is released, the algorithms are switched. The VR lens group is reset to the center of the optical axis from any off-centered position resulting from VR operation."

I thought the second algorithm and the lens re-centering was likely a system function. OTOH, both algorithms and even the VR lens group re-centering may take place onboard the lens - there is a lens processor and the motion sensors are on the lens. The piece does say that 'Nikon VR originates in the lens...'.

David

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gorji

Jamesville, US
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#43. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 41

gorji Registered since 07th Jan 2007
Thu 04-Oct-12 07:33 PM

Thank you Eric for those great points.
I am really enjoying my D800 as I learn more about its capabilities.
Reza
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gorji

Jamesville, US
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#44. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 41

gorji Registered since 07th Jan 2007
Thu 04-Oct-12 07:41 PM

When I first got the camera, I never thought I pay so much attention to the focus issue as I am doing now. Many of my early photos were out of focus and I was scratching my head to figure out what I was doing wrong. Its not like I never had a Nikon before. When I read the D800 technical manual put out by Nikon in early Feb., I knew this was going to be an issue. So many of the threads are related to the D800 focusing, it still amazes me.
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ibpbob

Anaheim Hils, US
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#45. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 41

ibpbob Silver Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 12th Apr 2006
Thu 04-Oct-12 09:37 PM

I guess we're going to have to remember to turn off the AF-ON when using an off camera cable release.

emi_fiend

Poway, US
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#46. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 45

emi_fiend Gold Member Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 28th Jan 2006
Thu 04-Oct-12 11:38 PM

The AF-ON button focusing method works just fine when using the NIKON MC30 Remote Cable Release. I use it routinely.

Jim

a San Diego Nikonian

gpoole

Farmington Hills, US
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#47. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 45

gpoole Platinum 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. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundrasing Campaing 2014 Writer Ribbon awarded for his article contributions for the Articles library and the eZine Nikonian since 14th Feb 2004
Fri 05-Oct-12 02:31 AM

AF-ON is only active. The a4 setting allows removing focus activation from the shutter button by selecting AF-ON only,

A remote release is like another shutter button. If a4 is set to Shutter/AF-ON the remote will initiate focus when it is pressed half way. If a4 is set to AF-ON only, then the remote will not change the focus. When you use a remote with AF-ON only you need to focus using the AF-ON button before releasing the shutter with the remote.

Gary in SE Michigan, USA.
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walk43

Pennsylvania, US
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#48. "RE: Using AF-ON" | In response to Reply # 41

walk43 Registered since 07th Feb 2012
Fri 05-Oct-12 11:21 AM | edited Fri 05-Oct-12 11:24 AM by walk43

>The other trick is to hold down the AF-On button and the camera will continue to refocus and track the subject. It is amazing how well this technique works - even with hard to follow subjects you feel like you are guessing on focus but end up with sharp images. This works much better than a focus-shoot-focus-shoot approach.<




Eric,

I think you have to be in AF-C mode in order to let the AF continue to work with the AF-ON right? And then it works the same as the shutter button...at least on my D800.

I use AF-S alot, to be more certain I am getting what I think I am shooting. If I have to push the AF-On button every time I have to refocus using AF-S then it just seems easier to me to use the shutter button for both functions.

In AF-C I agree it is easier for me to hold down the AF-ON and then release the shutter when I want the image but if I am shooting a 'tight' image.. where the bird/bug is sitting amoung leaves and branches, it is easier and more certain to just press the shutter button all the way when the AF snaps on.

If I sway or a branch blows across my AF sensor, the AF-ON will focus on the subject... and if I have shallow DOF my 'real' subject will be out of focus and I will have bad pic. But if I use AF-S and the shutter button for both focus and release then even if I sway or a twig gets in the way I still have my subject in focus and I can control that. Yes...I may have a twig blocking a part of my subject but my subject is in focus...not the twig... and many times I can crop out the unwanted intrusion. I seem to get many more keepers that way and using AF-C was a reason that I had so many blurry subjects when I originally started using the D800. Using AF-S, I now have MANY more keepers. Does that make sense??

Dan
(Nikon D800,V2,Sony HX400V,Lumix ZS40)
"I don't read, I just look at pictures" - Andy Warhol

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Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
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#49. "RE: Using AF-ON (Vs. AF-L)" | In response to Reply # 0

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Fri 05-Oct-12 11:32 AM


While we are on this subject does anyone have insight as to why the AF-ON is preferred over using AF-L?

It appears most of the use of the AF-ON comes down to being able to free focus while shooting, i.e. so you can focus, then stop AF from running and shoot. I mean if it's continuously focusing then it's equivalent to just the half-press followed by full-press.

So isn't using AF-L with half-press when you want to NOT focus the equivalent of using AF-ON, and removing your thumb when you want to NOT focus?

With the added advantage if one forgets (or hands it to one's spouse to take a shot) you get AF on shutter press?

Linwood

Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com

walk43

Pennsylvania, US
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#50. "RE: Using AF-ON (Vs. AF-L)" | In response to Reply # 49

walk43 Registered since 07th Feb 2012
Fri 05-Oct-12 12:34 PM

Linwood,

For what it is worth I believe (from my experiences) that this (autofocus technique) subject is the number one reason folks have blurry pics. With the D800 everything involving movement in a 36mp camera subjects your pics to blur. Set up on a tripod, with VR off, AF-S, manual focus, center focus sensor, remote release and there is a VERY high degree of sharpness. Add any contribution to movement and it degrades. This is not a point and shoot camera unless your technique is steady and repeatable.

Dan
(Nikon D800,V2,Sony HX400V,Lumix ZS40)
"I don't read, I just look at pictures" - Andy Warhol

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gorji

Jamesville, US
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#51. "RE: Using AF-ON (Vs. AF-L)" | In response to Reply # 49

gorji Registered since 07th Jan 2007
Fri 05-Oct-12 12:51 PM | edited Fri 05-Oct-12 12:52 PM by gorji

This topic is really stressing my brain; Maybe its time to look this up in Darryl's and Thom's book. Perhaps Darryl can make a comment on this??
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richardd300

Dyserth, UK
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#52. "RE: Using AF-ON (Vs. AF-L)" | In response to Reply # 51

richardd300 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2009
Fri 05-Oct-12 01:04 PM

<<This topic is really stressing my brain;>>

Yes, mine too. I use AF-ON and find it great for uninterrupted shooting i.e. that nothing gets in the way and that's it really.

This has been a great post, but I think it's in danger of winning a convincing discussion towards AF-ON and somehow it's now drifting back to AF-S At the end of the day it shows how user techniques vary which is healthy.

Richard.

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TiggerGTO

Apex, US
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#53. "RE: Using AF-ON (Vs. AF-L)" | In response to Reply # 51

TiggerGTO Gold Member Nikonian since 22nd Feb 2006
Tue 09-Oct-12 10:02 AM

The way I think about using AF-ON only for focus is that it gives you the best of AF-C and AF-S modes without ever having to change any settings. If you want AF-C, simply keep the AF-ON button pressed while you are following your moving subject. If you want to focus and recompose, you can get the equivalent of AF-S by pressing the AF-ON button to focus, then releasing the button to recompose. When you press the shutter release to take the picture, the focus won't change because you have "locked" focus by not activating the AF system.

I hope this description can help de-stress your brain about this topic.

Like another poster mentioned, I have been using AF-ON only for focus since I shot with a D200. When I first changed to this setting many years ago, it took shooting about half of a soccer game to get used to it. The only time I had a problem with this mode was when I let a friend look at my "new" D200. He said, "Hey, why doesn't it focus. I'm pressing the shutter half way and nothing is happening." Since the mode was new to me at the time and he put the other mode in my head, it took me 15 minutes of fiddling to remember that it was a setting I chose rather than something being wrong with the camera.

Since AF-ON only became ingrained I really don't like having the focus activation connected to the shutter button at all. The only time I ever prefer switching back to the shutter button activating focus is for macro shooting when everything is completely stationary, the camera is firmly mounted in a tripod and the composition is such that the subject is under a focus sensor.

Danny
A Nikonian in North Carolina

gorji

Jamesville, US
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#54. "RE: Using AF-ON (Vs. AF-L)" | In response to Reply # 53

gorji Registered since 07th Jan 2007
Tue 09-Oct-12 12:05 PM

Thank you Danny. I have changed the settings on the D800 and am very happy to have done so. I am finding so many more pictures in focus and in fact when they are not in focus, it was my own fault for lack of DOF.

I am very happy with this setting and glad such a button exist on the D800.
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RavenDog

Jeannette, US
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#55. "RE: Using AF-ON (Vs. AF-L)" | In response to Reply # 54

RavenDog Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Jan 2009
Sat 13-Oct-12 01:08 AM

Thanks Danny, your explanation on how to use the AF-On only button clears everything up quite well, as it is all encompassing.

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G