Transitioning from DX back to FX I'm finding the smaller AF coverage to be one of the main differences that requires adjustments on technique.
I've been using SinglePoint AF and AF-On button on my DX bodies. With the D300s the dedicated AF-On button and Multi-Selector are first rate. Both are well positioned and the multi-selector is robust & perfectly sized. With my D5100 I found the AE/AF button to be awkward to reach, being a smaller body, the button is always behind my cheek bone and a hassle to get to.
In my experiments with the D600 I've found using the AE/AF button as AF-On to be a very important technique because of the smaller AF area. Using the AF-On button makes focusing within the AF coverage and reframing smooth (as you can release the shutter button and not have the camera refocus after reframing when re-pressing it). Luckily the AE/AF button on the D600 is reasonably easy to reach.
I'd be interested to hear how others are setting up and working with the D600 autofocus for different photography situations. How accurate and useful do you find the Auto-AF Area face recognition? With the limited AF coverage is the 3D tracking practical? What else?
Definitely noticing a step up in responsiveness over a D300s. The D600 acquires focus very quickly and seems to be able to hold it in a challenging scene eg: slender twig in foreground against a treed background. I could hardly force it to miss the twig!
Just like I did on the D7000: back-button, center point, dynamic-9, AF-C.
http://egozarolho.blogspot.com 1. Good content, good aesthetics and good tecnique. On that order. 2. Light is more important than glass and pixels. 3. In the digital photography process, software is as important as gear.
Thu 27-Dec-12 03:08 AM | edited Thu 27-Dec-12 03:14 AM by mpage
I find the shutter release button more sensitive on the D600 than the one on my D300. In practice it is easy to depress the shutter more than halfway down, past the focus lock point, and take a picture unexpectedly.
I assign the AF-ON function to the AE-L/AF-L Button. One needs to refocus quite often, but it is great to depress the shutter and make an image without waiting for the camera to refocus.
U2 (portrait) AF-S, Single Pt. Custom Settings: AF-S Focus, Focus Tracking 3, No. Focus Pts 39. AF-On Assigned to AE-L button
Never mind the merits of U1/U2 I think they will give quick access to these two different AF setups for some comparison and experimentation. I've three days in the mountains coming up and will put these setups through their paces.
No matter the shooting situation I've always been wary of Auto/Dynamic/3D autofocus. I don't like the focus points jumping around as a speeding skier goes by. And let's be honest, the camera manufacturers have used the same lofty hyperbole to describe autofocus for twenty years!. So I've stuck with single-point through everything. But with a new generation of AF (I skipped the D7K) I figure it's time for me to make an effort to see what the current technology can do in real world shooting.
In other AF news: Has anyone been using Auto-Area-AF ? How reliable is it??
He was looking at predictive tracking in the D4, D800, and D600. For his testing with a moving subject, he was using Dynamic 9 point focus with AF-C. This is his normal approach to a moving subject.
The results will speak for themselves - and tracking is very good. As you would expect, it's better with the D4 and D800, but still very respectable with the D600.
3D tracking is different than predictive tracking. In most situations predictive tracking is enough. 3D tracking uses color information of contrasting colors to help track a subject moving rapidly toward you. With 3D focus, the selected focus point will change as the subject moves around the frame.
I prefer to only use Auto Area Focus when I have no idea of where to focus or I'm giving the camera to someone else. My mother is a better photographer with Auto Area Focus than left to her own devices.
Historically, I have used Single point AF most of the time for control, but I have to say that I am very impressed by Dynamic AF for moving subjects like birds in flight.
Thanks for that Eric, I had caught that a few weeks ago, but now I have my D600 probably worth another look.
As hoped, I had a few days of excellent weather and some good opps with some local skiers to shoot. I did work with the 3D tracking mostly as often, skiers are doing exactly that - moving toward the camera rapidly. However there's usually more room to play with as they move across the frame and as in the example below, the colours of dark jackets and trees can be very similar. So I did see the 'dancing' AF point quite a bit but overall I am totally thrilled with the D600's AF ability. I think I'll see how the Dynamic 9-Point compares next time and give the Daniel Cox blog another read.
There was some great low light scenes I had a chance to play with too, but that's another topic..
>Did you move your camera, when skier crossed viewfinder, or >keep it still? Please respond. David
As is typical, I was tracking the skier through the viewfinder, aiming to keep the selected focus point on the skier - however with 3D tracking the focus point would jump around due to the tree being a similar colour. So I would correct it as quick as I could. Luckily the skier was at some distance as were the trees so it had little overall effect on focus.
Tomorrow I will be out with another group and use 9 pt Dynamic and compare the performance. Sounds like weather conditions may be challenging but I'll get the camera out at some point I'm sure
Sat 05-Jan-13 10:59 PM | edited Sat 05-Jan-13 11:01 PM by WildIsle
Well I got my chance to work with the D600 AF and a group of skiers. I set AF-C and 9 Pt Dynamic for the whole day. There was plenty of slow-paced action on the approach and then several opportunities to shoot burst sequences on the way down.
Overall I am very happy with the results - in one 12 frame burst only one of the images (the closest) is OOF, the remaining 11 are as sharp or better than I could of hoped/have been used to with my former D300s. Obviously there was no focus point hunting with the 9 Pt Dynamic setting. The light wasn't great so I'm doubly pleased with the D600's AF response, and it's just so gratifying to see what the D600's dynamic range can do in mediocre light, it makes totally usable images out of lost causes.
Dear Philip. Thank you very for your information. I have photographed in Museum, D600; F-70mm, AF-C mode 11 p., at very low lighting: aperture 2.8; speed 1/125s; ISO auto, W balance auto. With a result of ISO 6400, I got 30% OOF images. Thanks again for your generosity. davidben33