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Yet another theory as to poor focusing on the D200

rasworth

Austin, US
1191 posts

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rasworth Basic Member
Sat 12-Aug-06 01:37 PM

I confess I have two agendas in this post, one per the title and the other is to "promote" my approach to focusing.

I have my D200 configured so that only the AF-ON button enables focusing. I also have the camera in continuous focus mode permanently, focus priority off. My normal mode of usage is thumb pressing FV-ON at all times, unless I wish to recompose after focus, in which case I release AF-ON and shift the camera. For most shots, I continue to press AF-ON thru the shutter release phase. I also tend to have the shutter release at half-press, VR enabled, during focusing to better stabilize the target for the autofocus system.

There are two parts to my theory as to why my approach increases the probability of good focus:

(1) The autofocus system has a relatively long time to work, as opposed to the single servo mode. I understand the ss mode should not go green light unitl focus is achieved, but I'm convinced that "smearing" the focus target (I'm usually in wide mode and center only) can only help; there is also some visual and auditory feedback (lens mechanism) as to proper, or at least stable, focus being achieved.

(2) The other advantage is the autofocus system continues to function, for most of my shots, up until shutter release, so that any subject movement is accounted for. Obviously this is the better mode for panning a moving object.

Most of my shooting tends to be grab shots; I just completed a bus tour of Switzerland in which I took 800 or so snaps, most with the 18-200VR and secondarily with a 10-20 Sigma. There were certainly many throwaways, but very few because they were out of focus. I also chase my grandchildren around the house, using flash in a relatively dim environment, with the same focus arrangement. Again, no problems, very few out of focus shots.

Perhaps I am blessed with a well adjusted D200, but I do know my focus "hits" have significantly increased since going to the AF-ON approach. It requires some practice, but fairly quickly it became habit to have my thumb pressing the AF-ON button.

I'm interested in other's opinions, and I would urge those of you who have focusing issues to try this approach. You may still want to send your camera back to Nikon, but at least you will have more info to provide.

Richard Southworth

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