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HELP: First day with D800 and already in panic!

Clint S

Chula Vista, US
460 posts

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"RE: HELP: First day with D800 and already in panic!"

Clint S Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2011
Thu 27-Dec-12 04:12 AM | edited Thu 27-Dec-12 04:15 AM by Clint S

The a3 focus tracking I have not yet figured out the best settings for. But by making the setting shorter the more likely the camera is to move focus to something I do not want. Especially with more focus points being used. One of the reasons I mostly only use 9 points or a single point.

Set at 1 I have had people just come into view in the viewfinder and the camera instantaneously jumps focus points. In another case I was tracking an F-18 flying perpendicular to me and getting ready to super accelerate, just as soon as the donut of vapor appeared the camera tried to change focus but could not focus quickly enough (maybe a 1/4 to 1/2 second). I've had similar things with race cars and I've missed my shot.

I briefly tried 21 and 51 points with a couple of possible subjects in the viewfinder, such as three planes flying at an angle towards me or a group of people walking, with the camera changing focus to what it wanted. The a3 setting only speed this up or slowed it down. So agin back to the 9 points.

I do a lot of event photography and may have several people in the viewfinder at a time, now my a3 setting typically remains at the default of 3. When I think someone or something is likely to move into the scene I'm more prone to move the setting to 5.

So I guess the more complicated the scene, the more movement, or the more background visible in the scene, the higher setting I move a3 to. Next year I will be trying the 5 setting at some automobile races and with some aircraft.

I did photograph some volleyball games last summer and having a setting of 1 really worked. I was close, and could clearly lock on the subject without many distractions, and it seemed as if the camera was reading my mind when I wanted the focus moved to another subject. And when I have fast moving subjects headed directly at me, I do prefer to be at a setting of 2 or 1.

And I've yet try just turning a3 to off. So I'm still working and learning.

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