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single point focus -recompose question

geneluck

Reading, UK
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geneluck Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Oct 2004
Sat 02-Mar-13 08:22 PM

Sorry but I am new to the D800 , I searched the forum also found interesting info at
http://photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00bIeZ , but I am still confused.
I am used to the D700 where for static subjects I focus on a particular point, then recompose and press the shutter.

with the D800:
I set AF activation to AF-ON only and AF-S priority selection to FOCUS but I read that with the D800, the priority to FOCUS is ignored unless I set AF activation to shutter/AF-ON.
If I set AF activation to shutter/AF-ON ,press the AF-ON and recompose:
1- do I have to press and release or keep AF-ON pressed until I press the shutter release?
2- from the article above, it looks like I should focus on my single point by pressing and releasing AF-ON, then recompose and press the release button (if AF activation is set to Shutter/AF-ON) then is there a risk that I cause the camera to focus again if I do not press fast enough???
should I set the AF acitvation to AF-ON only or not?
should I press once the AF-On or keep it pressed until I take the shot?
Any help welcome.
Jean-luc

Jean-luc

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venusian

US
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#1. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 0

venusian Registered since 17th Dec 2008
Sat 02-Mar-13 08:13 PM

Jean-luc,

Good luck with the new D800!

Like you, I also came up to a D800(E) from the D700 and went through some contortions in order to focus and recompose without the focus resetting using AF-S mode for still subjects. I set a1 = AF-C priority selection, a2 = AF-S priority selection, a3 is = Focus tracking with lock-on set to OFF, and a4 is = AF activation set to ON.

I'm not 100% sure why, but this allows me to focus and recompose in AF-S (Single-Point AF) mode without the focus resetting when I recompose. For moving subjects, I use the same settings but use AF-C instead of AF-S.

I hope this helps.

Nick (Roxbury, Connecticut Nikonian)

gpoole

Farmington Hills, US
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#2. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 0

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
Sat 02-Mar-13 08:39 PM

If you are using AF-S, I don't think it will matter whether you continue to hold AF-ON or release it after focus has locked. Once focus has locked recomposing in either scenario should not change focus. Because you have selected AF-ON only, the camera will not refocus when you press the shutter button.

If you are using AF-ON only for focus, there is really no point in using AF-S. You can use AF-C all the time. Just focus on the point you want with AF-C. When you achieve focus just release AF-ON and recompose; the focus won't change. To me this is the beauty of AF-ON only. If you release the AF-ON button in AF-C before exposure you essentially have AF-S, i.e. the focus will lock when you release AF-ON. If you continue to hold AF-ON through shutter release you have true AF-C behavior. There's no need to switch focus mode back and forth.

Gary in SE Michigan, USA.
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geneluck

Reading, UK
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#3. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 1

geneluck Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Oct 2004
Sat 02-Mar-13 09:07 PM

Thank you Nick . I am not quite sure what you are saying regarding priority selection.
I read that with AF-ON only selected for AF activation The D800 does not take info account AF-S focus priority setting like The d700.
Jean-luc

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geneluck

Reading, UK
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#4. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 2

geneluck Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Oct 2004
Sat 02-Mar-13 09:19 PM

Thank you Gary. I am not sure that I fully understand. I would like to selected focus priority for static subjects and release priority for moving objects. Using AF-S and AF-C allows me to use 2 different settings .
I do not want to take The shot if i did not acquire focus on the single point when I shoot a static subject.
Jean-luc

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venusian

US
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#5. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 3

venusian Registered since 17th Dec 2008
Sat 02-Mar-13 10:38 PM

Jean-luc

I'll be honest with you...I don't understand how some of these settings interact and do what they do. However, what I sent you were the Custom Settings Menu in the "a Autofocus" section. I arrived at this point after reading many posts and then trying several different "a settings." Unfortunately, I can't provide an explanation for what you said the manual says.

Nevertheless, when I focus by holding down the shutter button halfway and then recompose as described earlier, the focus locks on what I originally focused on so long as I keep the shutter button half-way down. After recomposing, I then press the shutter button all the way down to take the picture.

Nick (Roxbury, Connecticut Nikonian)

gpoole

Farmington Hills, US
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#6. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 4

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
Sun 03-Mar-13 02:12 AM

I don't worry about losing focus priority. When I photograph a static subject I just watch the viewfinder and listen to the lens. When the I sense that the lens has finished focusing I release the AF-ON button. At that point focus is locked on my selected subject. Then I recompose if desired and release the shutter.

The way I shoot static subjects, there is no rush to release the shutter instantly after the camera senses correct focus. For static subjects I can afford the time to take my thumb off AF-ON before releasing the shutter.

I only want immediate shutter response on moving subjects. For moving subjects I just hold my thumb on AF-ON while tracking the subject and release the shutter when I like the image.

I don't want to be bothered with changing my camera back and forth between AF-S and AF-C every time my subject changes. If I spot interesting wildlife in the midst of shooting a landscape, I just change my AF-ON procedure and don't have to make any other change in my camera settings. I'm never in the wrong mode, I just have to depend on my senses to determine the subject is in focus.

Gary in SE Michigan, USA.
Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera.
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geneluck

Reading, UK
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#7. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 6

geneluck Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Oct 2004
Sun 03-Mar-13 05:02 AM

Tanks very much Gary for sharing your experience. I will certainly give it a go as indeed it would make it easier not having to switch back and forth. Also the fact that Nikon has changed the behavior of the option AF-ON only for AF activation from the D700 where now release without focus can happen even if you set the a option to AF-S focus priority defeats its purpose in my mind.
Jean-luc

Jean-luc

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venusian

US
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#8. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 7

venusian Registered since 17th Dec 2008
Sun 03-Mar-13 07:03 PM

Jean-Luc,

I also did not want to switch back and forth using AF-ON...the settings I sent to you earlier eliminates that and the camera focuses as it did on the D700 for still subjects "focus, hold shutter button half way down, recompose" and then take picture.

Nick (Roxbury, Connecticut Nikonian)

km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
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#9. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 8

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Sun 03-Mar-13 07:33 PM

The only reason I can think of to use AF-S with the AF-On button is to access the AF assist light that is disabled in AF-C mode.
As Gary said, AF completely decoupled from the shutter is simpler than how you are making it.
Set the AF mode to AF-C
Start AF with the AF-On button, once locked, release the button and recompose, the focus will not respond to the shutter so you have essential the same action as AF-S.
But when tracking something moving, holding AF-On the entire time you are tracking the subject and press the shutter release when you want.
It ignores the setting for AF-C or AF-S focus priority. That means you can't use Trap Focusing but everything else is easier and fast, no changing modes needed for static and moving subjects.
Unless you change the setting, Shutter still meters at the time of pressing the release so recomposing might result in metering on the wrong light level. To resolve that, use the AE-L button after setting it on the button menu to AE-L in the style you like(lock until reset with another press, lock until shutter release etc). That way you focus and meter on the subject, release the AF-On button to prevent focus change, and press AE-L to lock to exposure. Recompose. Release shutter.
It sounds complicated but trying a few times, you will quickly adapt and wonder how you ever got by without it before.

I made one more button change, I set the Fn button to be AE-L so my thumb only deals with focus on the AF-On and my middle finger locks exposure and index finger releases the shutter, without moving my hand or finger positions.
With AF locking possible with the D4 and D800 at such low light, I seldom miss not using the AF Assist light on the external flash. AF-C mode disables it.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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geneluck

Reading, UK
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#10. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 8

geneluck Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Oct 2004
Mon 04-Mar-13 08:12 AM

Thank you Nick. I am used to using just the AF-ON for focusing for a few years now. I never liked to have to press the shutter release half-way, as I was activating the shutter many times when I just wanted to get focus.
Jean-luc

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geneluck

Reading, UK
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#11. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 9

geneluck Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Oct 2004
Mon 04-Mar-13 08:18 AM

Thank you Stan. Yes, I should learn to use it this way as indeed it is much simpler. The other advantage with AF-S though is that you can get a beep (can be set it to low) when you get focus, but this is not enabled (for obvious reasons) in AF-C. I have tried a bit the AF-C method yesterday and I need to concentrate more now in making sure that I get focus before re-composing and taking the shot.
Jean-luc

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K64drb

Blacksburg, US
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#12. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 0

K64drb Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Feb 2012
Tue 05-Mar-13 11:49 PM | edited Wed 06-Mar-13 01:05 AM by K64drb

Hi Jean-luc,

I frequently shoot with your setup - AF-ON only, AF-S with Focus Priority. What you have read about Focus Priority being ignored in the D800 with these settings doesn't sound quite right. My D800 works fine, but I don't know how it differs from the D700.

In AF-S, when you press and hold the AF-ON button, the camera will try to lock focus one time only. If it can't focus, as long as you keep the AF-ON button pressed, the shutter cannot be released. When you let go of the button, the shutter can be fired regardless of focus status.

If it does acquire focus lock, the shutter can be released with the AF-ON still pressed. But you don't need to keep it pressed since the focus is now locked where you want it. So as soon as you hear the beep or see the green circle in the viewfinder, you can let go. The focus is locked in place and won't change no matter where you point the camera.

Test it out by pointing your D800 at something too close to focus, keep the AF-ON button pressed, and try to release the shutter. It won't. Then let go of the button, press the shutter and it will fire immediately since it is no longer getting information from the AF system that the focus is wrong. Also, try setting the lens at infinity, point the camera to something close by that can be focused on, and press and hold both buttons simultaneously. The shutter will fire only after the lens reaches correct focus, which is my understanding of how Focus Priority is supposed to work.

I think about the AF-ON button as an on-off switch for the whole autofocus system. Releasing the button turns the system off, and information about focus status is no longer available to the camera for shutter release decision making. That may not be exactly right, but it kinda makes sense.

Finally, you mentioned the benefit of the beep to confirm focus lock and as a heads up, if you switch from Focus to Release Priority, still in AF-S, that beep gets disabled for some reason. It makes no sense, but I have another post on that topic.

I hope this helps.

Dave


Dave Badger
Blacksburg, VA
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liamtoh1ps

US
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#13. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 12

liamtoh1ps Registered since 17th Apr 2012
Wed 06-Mar-13 01:33 AM

Dave,

Thanks for a very nice explanation of AF-ON only, AF-S with Focus Priority.

geneluck

Reading, UK
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#14. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 12

geneluck Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Oct 2004
Wed 06-Mar-13 06:38 AM

Thank you very much Dave for your these excellent explanations. Together with other people suggestions, I am well equipped for some more experimentation.I had already noticed that the beep is disabled with AF-C (which in this case make sense to me) but I did not know that this was the same with AF-S release priority as I am always using AF-S with focus priority.
Jean-luc

Jean-luc

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K64drb

Blacksburg, US
324 posts

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#15. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 14

K64drb Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Feb 2012
Wed 06-Mar-13 02:45 PM | edited Wed 06-Mar-13 03:01 PM by K64drb

Pravin and Jean-luc,
You are both very welcome. I am glad to help. Putting the reply together was educational for me too, because I really had to study the issue it to be sure I had things right, and learned something new in the process.

That's a great thing about participating in Nikonians - you can learn so much and if you can occasionally help others along the way, that's even better!

Dave Badger
Blacksburg, VA
My Nikonians gallery, or visit www.AlternateViewsPhotography.com .

"You don't quit playing because you grow old; you grow old because you quit playing."

geneluck

Reading, UK
3206 posts

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#16. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 15

geneluck Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Oct 2004
Thu 07-Mar-13 08:12 AM

Thank you Dave. Do you know what the matrix metering does when you release the shutter without having focus lock: in this case, there will be no focus point, will the matrix metering bias exposure based on the center focus point?
Jean-luc

Jean-luc

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km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
3574 posts

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#17. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 16

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Thu 07-Mar-13 10:17 AM

The metering sensor is low resolution, although very high in the d800 and D4 compared to prior models or other brands, so it is not as concerned with focus as iluminosity at the point of the selected focus point so the resulting metering does not change, between focused or not
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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geneluck

Reading, UK
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#18. "RE: single point focus -recompose question" | In response to Reply # 17

geneluck Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Oct 2004
Thu 07-Mar-13 05:51 PM | edited Thu 07-Mar-13 07:27 PM by geneluck

Thank you Stan. I was wondering as in this case,there is no focus point displayed in VIEWNX2 (with the option to display focus point).

Dave:
I also noticed that when I focus and recompose (using AF-S focus priority)
1- when acquiring focus by pressing and releasing AF-ON before recomposing (making sure focus was locked :green point) the focus point will not be not displayed when looking at the picture afterwards in playback although the point of focus appears indeed to be the one chosen.
2- when acquiring focus pressing AF-ON and keeping pressed, the focus point will be displayed in playback.
Jean-luc

Jean-luc

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G