All of them are potentially appropriate. Which one you use depends on your subject and shooting situation. Single point is for situations where your subject is static within the frame. Dynamic Area is when the subject's placement varies across the frame, and Auto Area AF is when your subject is unobstructed and the closest thing within the AF area of your finder. Dynamic Area also includes subcategories related to the number of points that are active, and again, they can all be appropriate.
On a personal basis, I use the Auto Area setting the least, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be fairly useful for other photographers.
AF Mode should be a personal preference and/or a preference dictated by the shooting situation. I tend to use 9 or 21-point AF when I'm shooting action. In particular, I usually use 9-point AF area for soccer with my 200-400. I tend to switch to single point AF when I am shooting macro or landscapes. In both those cases, the subject is usually quite stationary and I typically want to select a very specific spot to focus. I have experimented with the 51 and 51 3D, but haven't used them much. I tend to want to make the decision of exactly where to focus and not rely on the camera.
If you hold the AF-On button in, it continues to focus, which is what you want if your subject is moving rather than static.
For an overall description of the technique, how it's used, and how to configure it, try listening to episode #67 of our Image Doctors podcast (https://podcasts.nikonians.org/indexMore.html). It may help explain how it works.
>If you hold the AF-On button in, it continues to focus, which >is what you want if your subject is moving rather than >static. > >For an overall description of the technique, how it's used, >and how to configure it, try listening to episode #67 of our >Image Doctors podcast >(https://podcasts.nikonians.org/indexMore.html). It may help >explain how it works.
Rick Thanks so much for your reply -- and YES -- I will for sure listen to the podcast -- thanks for the link.
So, Lets see if I am understanding this a little better .... Press and release the AF-ON button if the subject is still -- press and HOLD the AF-ON button if the subject is moving -- and the subject will STAY in focus -- so the focus basically moves with them?
But -- would you then HAVE to track the moving subject with your camera -- of can you keep your camera "still" while holding the AF-ON button -- but the focus point will "track" your originally focused upon subject ?
Am I making this harder than I need to ? (ha)
I am just trying to understand however Thanks again
You'll find that there are times where an AF sensor isn't precisely aligned with where you want the camera to focus. In these situations, you'll need to focus, shift the composition slightly, and then take the shot. If you have the camera set to focus priority, the shutter won't fire, and you'll be unable to take the shot.
Thanks guys -- now I have yet another question(sorry)
What about exposure? Isn't it set when I press my shutter down half way now ? Using AF-ON -- when I press the AF-ON button -- will exposure then be set at my point of focus ?
I can recompose -- and then press my shutter release to take the picture right -- but will my exposure setting point still be the original focus point (hope so)
And -- one more ---- "if" I wanted to -- lets say I wanted to expose for the sky -- but wanted my focus point to be on a person in the scene -- could I then use my AE-AF lock button (assuming it is set to just exposure lock) to set my exposure for the sky (by aiming my center focus point at the sky) and then use AF-ON to focus on the person -- then recompose and take the shot ? Under this situation -- the shutter press would not reset my exposure would it ?
Just trying to really understand this as I want to start using this method Thanks in advance for your help -- and patience
Sat 13-Jun-09 07:56 PM | edited Sat 13-Jun-09 07:59 PM by walkerr
No, you'll only lock exposure when you press the shutter release down if you enable that option as a custom function. The default is for the camera to not do that.
I recommend that you configure your AE/AF lock button to only do AE lock. Whether you have it lock exposure only while you hold the button or whether you have it lock until you press the button again is up to you. The latter can be convenient, but you need to remember to unlock it at the appropriate time. It's easy to forget.
Rick -- I REALLY appreciate the time you are spending with me on this trying to help me understand !
So -- to summarize:
1) Using the AF-ON button approach -- I should set my camera to AF-C 2) Enable the AF-ON button (menu a-1) 3) For still objects I just put my "active" focus sensor (or spot) on the subject -- press and release the AF-ON button and then I can recompose 4) Exposure will be set once I press the shutter button in half way
5)Moving objects -- I put my active focus sensor on the subject where I want focus -- HOLD in the AF-ON button (assuming I have set this up in "Release Mode" and NOT in "Release - Focus Mode") and take the shot when I am ready -- exposure will be set once I press in the shutter button
6) If I want to expose for the sky (for example again) -- I can set my AE - AF button to AE only. Press in and release the AE button (thus locking exposre where ever I point the camera -- the use the AF-ON button as referenced about -- and when I press the shutter release button -- exposure will stay where I locked it originally --
Hoping I finally have this right Please let me know -- and THANKS again for all the help
You're close. The only nuance has to do with your statements regarding exposure being set once you press the shutter button in halfway. It's not. You'll get a reading (and it will change as you change the composition), but it's not setting or locking the exposure.
If you want to use AE lock with moving subjects and the AF-On approach, you definitely want to use the Hold option. Otherwise, you'll need an extra right thumb.
Rick I just pulled up my Thom Hogan ebook on the D700 -- and on menu item C 1 I have it turned ON -- which sets exposure lock when you press the shutter -- and you are correct -- this is NOT the default setting.
If I turn this OFF - is the only other way to set exposure when I shoot is to press and hold the AE button ? (I have this button set for AE only)
If so -- then when you use the AF-ON method -- would you then have to press THREE things at once (AE button for exposure - while pressing the AF-ON button to lock focus (for a moving subject) and then at the same time press the shutter button to take the shot ?
I'm not sure I have enough fingers for that
Keep working with me -- and it will finally sink into my think skull - ha
If you want to lock exposure when using this technique, set up your AE lock button so that it Holds the setting. This means you don't need to keep pressing the button. If you've done that, you only need your thumb and forefinger to work the focus and shutter release.
If you prefer using the shutter release, you can do that, too. It's not my preference for a variety of reasons (I find it too easy to accidentally release the shutter when I'm juggling a big camera like a D3 and a larger lens), but Nikon provides these options so you can configure the camera for your own needs.
You don't, but you also lose out on one of the benefits of this approach: never having to mess with that front AF switch. I find it much easier to just press the AF-On button until focus is achieved, and then release it. Since it's a static subject, the focus isn't changing. If it is, you are better off in AF-C mode.
If you set this up correctly and have an AF-S lens, it's like having manual focus, AF-S, and AF-C active, all without throwing any switches.
>You don't, but you also lose out on one of the benefits of >this approach: never having to mess with that front AF switch. > I find it much easier to just press the AF-On button until >focus is achieved, and then release it. Since it's a static >subject, the focus isn't changing. If it is, you are better >off in AF-C mode. > >If you set this up correctly and have an AF-S lens, it's like >having manual focus, AF-S, and AF-C active, all without >throwing any switches. Got it! In AF-C while shooting a static subject would it be better to just hold the AF-ON button until the shot is taken to prevent mis-focus because of camera movement?
They are, but you're probably looking at a combination of different podcast types. Look at just the Image Doctors ones, and they should be in reverse order, with the highest numbered one (newest) first.
If you want to see just the Image Doctors ones, click the link below in my signature.
Wed 01-Jul-09 03:37 AM | edited Wed 01-Jul-09 03:55 AM by bijnil
I am not an expert and perhaps I am missing something. In AF-C mode, focus-assist doesn't work. And you won't even know, since it will allow you to take the picture even without locking focus. So when it's a bit dark, your aperture will be wide open with low DOF, you might get out-of-focus exposures. This is out of D700 manual: The AF-assist illuminator lights when lighting is poor. AFassist illumination is only available when both of the following conditions are met: 1. Single-servo autofocus is selected for focus mode (pg. 72). 2. Auto-area AF is chosen for AF-area mode (pg. 74), or single-point or dynamic-area AF is chosen and the center focus point is selected.
I got burned in the past and it took a while to realize what was wrong. D700 will take you to low-light places and this will be a handicap. What am I missing?
I've never used focus-assist because I find the light irritating and distracting. If you want it for a special situation, you can always switch to AF-S mode. I've never found it necessary, even in low-light situations.
Hmm. I have found that my D70 tracks subjects while they are moving even in single servo mode. If subject is a race car, it's a different story. Small movements (like walking and body movements) are tracked in single servo.
I'm not clear on exactly what your concern is, but I suspect you have nothing to worry about if you are moving up to a D700 from a D70. The D700's autofocus system is much more capable than that in the D70
Like Rick, I've found no circumstances when it's necessary to use the AF-Assist light; the camera can focus well (including tracking) without assistance in any of the lighting conditions in which I need to shoot, which includes poorly-lit amateur stage productions.
I may be in the minority on this issue, but I tried using the AF-On button for focusing for awhile and decided to go back to using the shutter release button. It has to do with how I hold my camera when shooting verticals. Instead of holding my right hand on top of the camera I much prefer holding my right hand under the camera. Under those conditions I found it to be an anatomical challenge to try to operate the AF-On button with my right thumb while at the same time holding my right index finger on the shutter release button.
I notice that the Nikonians Guides article titled On Handholding Technique advocates holding the camera the same way I do in taking verticals in order to prevent the right arm from inducing rotational motion. There's another reason I prefer to hold my right hand under my camera when taking verticals. I usualiy wear a billed hat, and if I try to shoot a vertical with my right hand on top of the camera I immediately find the bill interfering with my attempt to take the photo.
For shooting verticals I will sometimes hold the camera with my right hand on top of the camera, but even then I still find it less awkward to use the shutter release button for focusing rather than the AF-On button. The one disadvantage, as Rick points out, is having to mess with the front AF switch if, for example, you are shooting a fast action sporting event and suddenly want to shoot a static subject. It's inconvenient to have to make the switch, and sometimes you forget to switch back when you want to concentrate on the action again!
That's why there are OPTIONS for the modes - nobody has to feel constrained to use only the mode deemed best by some camera engineer in Tokyo Half press suits you and you shouldn't need to defend that!