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D7000 Dynamic Area AF - friend AND foe

rasworth

Austin, US
1191 posts

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rasworth Basic Member
Tue 29-Mar-11 01:56 PM | edited Tue 29-Mar-11 02:57 PM by rasworth

I have watched with interest the evolution of Nikon DSLR autofocus modes, from the D70 thru the D200 and D300, and now the D7000. In particular, I have observed the lack of information wrt dynamic area af. So I am creating this diatribe to attempt to clarify, or at least start some discussion.

I have experimented with, and read several references about, D7000 dynamic af, including the Nikon tutorials, Nikon manual, and Thom Hogan's ebook. Without exception all describe its usage wrt moving subjects, and none point out that the camera can't tell the difference between a fixed camera position with a moving subject, and a fixed subject with a moving camera. In the latter situation dynamic area af can be a plus or minus, depending upon the photographer's awareness or lack thereof.

As an af-on only (focus removed from the shutter release and transferred to the AE-L/AE-E button, always in continuous focus mode) focuser I avoid using dynamic area af for static subject shooting. The reason is I tend to keep my thumb pressed on the AE-L/AE-E button as I scan around the scene for the appropriate focus point, and if I am in 9/21/39 dynamic area af it is very easy to "hook" focus on the wrong object, particularly if it is closer than the final desired subject. Again, the camera can't tell the difference between a moving camera and a moving subject, and therefore will tend to lock on the object under the focus target at intial button press, even though one slides off to another target. IMO this is one of the reason for at least some of the complaints about D7000 mis-focusing.

On the other hand one can use dynamic area 3d to lock on one object, say the subjects eye, and recompose without losing the desired focus target. It's almost eerie to watch the focus rectangle jump back to the original focus point during recomposition of the scene. I haven't used this capability extensively, but in my limited experiments it seems to work well.

My main message is don't leave your camera in dynamic area af thinking that it won't affect static shooting and will be there for moving objects, particularly if you are an af-on only focuser. It can easily work against you, and therefore I recommend the default setting for one's D7000 to be single area af.

Added by edit - attached a slanted brick wall shot to illustrate the 3D 39 point capbility, started with the center rectangle on the tape and moved the camera, kept thumb pressed on AE-L/AF-L button and tape area remained in focus.

Added by second edit - I stand (or sit) corrected, upon re-reading Thom Hogan's ebook I found a reference to using 39 point 3D for reframing people shots.


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Richard Southworth

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