The Nikon D2X AF System Revisited - Editors note
This in-depth review by seasoned Nikonian Ed Erkes, shares with you his findings about the multiple autofocus options available with the D2X. He provides further understanding on how these combined options work, adding to the excellent work on the subject by Digital Darrell: Understanding the Nikon Multi-CAM 2000 AF Module.
If you are the proud owner of a Nikon D2X, D2Xs, D2H, D2Hs, or Nikon F6, and getting tired of spending endless long nights trying to decrypt the manual, this article is for you. It serves as another complementary addition to our "in-the-field" proven group of custom settings to suit your shooting needs, fully illustrated with example images.
Nikon D2X AF System Revisited
The Nikon D2X contains Nikon's most advanced and complicated autofocus system. It offers an unprecedented number of focusing system options that can be accessed through a series of buttons, levers, and custom menu settings, to cater to all amateurs and professionals specific shooting situations and personal styles.
The various combinations of choices can create a confusing number of AF possibilities. Unfortunately, Nikon's instruction manual is not particularly well written and (in my opinion) makes things even more confusing. I also found Thom Hogan's D2X eBook confusing in its description of focus modes — although it does explain very well some aspects of the AF system that are not discussed in the instruction manual.
The best source to learn about this AF system by far is Digital Darrell's article: "Understanding Nikon Multi-CAM 2000 Autofocus Module," previously published here in the Nikon articles of the Resources. His article is a "Must Read" for anyone wanting to better understand the Nikon D2X AF capabilities (or those of the D2H, D2Hs, F6 and now the D2Xs).
This review is my attempt to organize the different AF options in an understandable manner (for me). It initially began as a simple outline with notes, but in the spirit of sharing with others, has been expanded. By carefully considering the various options, how they interact, and one's own shooting style, one can eliminate many of the combinations and narrow down the options for specific shooting situations. I'll discuss the various options as well as the rationale for my own preferences.
To better understand my personal choices, it would probably be useful to discuss my photography style.
I've been a serious amateur photographer since 1982. I do not specialize in sports or weddings and events photography, preferring to concentrate on scenic and nature photography. For the last seven years, photographing birds with telephoto lenses has been my favorite activity. I have been using an autofocus telephoto lens (the 200-400mm f/4G ED IF AF-S VR Zoom Nikkor) for a little over a year. Some of my images can be seen here.
The Nikon D2X/D2Xs autofocus options include: two AF activation methods, three Focus Modes (two autofocus and one manual), four AF Area Modes and control over the Lock-On Predictive Focusing. Your choices from these numerous options combine to determine how the camera's autofocus system functions.
More articles that might interest you