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Auto Focus - 9th Dec issue?

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by BeauJayce, Jul 22, 2020.

  1. BeauJayce

    BeauJayce New Member

    Somehow this issue was on the shelf at Charring Cross on the 6th.
    Nice tidy article and I think much needed for dslrs but I think we need more, here is why.

    I have had a D7200 for about two years and to be honest the focus with either of the Nikon lenses I bought with the body is random at best.

    Static photography with digital is ok though, as an aside I feel I have to dial in more exposure all the time +.7, but moving objects is abysmal. Articles online and in books speak similarly to the AP editorial. Sadly they all seem to skirt the true operation of the systems. For instance AF-C (continuous), which I use moving objects, and prioritization of 'focus' or 'release' in settings. Then most add in back button as an addon.

    Single point focus can be set to 9, 21 or 51 none seem to work well. In resignation to wasted money I had my 40 year old OM2 serviced now am back with something I can use.

    I am prepared to try again with the D7200 but we need articles in logical order and more depth please?
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I can't remember back to December!

    AF for things that move is best done with a single focussing point, much depends on the background. Cameras these days can have a lot of follow-focus customisation, from settings that stick with the subject to settings that respond to anything that gets in the way. The worse thing with supporting focus points is focus jumping to the background but they can be handy for, e.g. birds in flight against clear sky where keeping a single point on the bird is difficult with a long lens.

    Back button focus can be useful. I tend to use it if there is a lot of intervening "stuff" e.g a bird in a reed bed where there is a risk of focus jumping when the exposure is made. These days where cameras have dedicated AF on buttons the name back-button should be changed.

    Image stabilisation, exposure time, camera shake and subject movement are also factors that can affect the results even if the AF locked on. The AF function is with the camera. It is possible for lenses to be not optimally tuned to DSLRs and so there is much made of micro-focus adjustment on cameras. I personally have never come across the need.
  3. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    I had a d7000 and d7100 and they are great cameras the FPS is superb and in fact I rarely shot other than single shot, even with my D4s and D810 I shoot single frame

    I have NEVER used anything other than single focus point, never AF continuous just single shot AF

    D7100, Nikkor 728 to 300 I still have that lens

    Dsc_0933.jpg Dsc_7850.jpg Dsc_8492.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
  4. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    The D7*** range is the simplest and best set to Auto iso, manual mode and chose the shutter speed it is foolproof, as the above images show.

    You say "Single point focus can be set to 9, 21 or 51"

    They are NOT single focus point they are, as stated 9, 21, 51 ???

    1 focus point is "1"


    "how to use the nikon d7200"
  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Come on, be gentle with someone posting for the first time.
  6. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    I am, just answered, I know of no other way to reply !

    I did also PM him, you didn't know that though

  7. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Then perhaps you should think twice about replying?
  8. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    If it is a new member then instead of saying "use Google" provide a link as well.
  9. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    OK guys, play nicely, please. :)
  10. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    I was. That was a neutral suggestion.
  11. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    Thanks, never thought to but I did PM him ok
  12. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

  13. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    I note your very helpful reply, sorry where is it ???? oh............. none ok :)
  14. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    In the past I have been called names here for daring to ask if the person who posted the question has looked at the user manual, so I won't dare suggest it here either, however relevant and helpful it would be.
  15. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    TBH, the average user manual is about as intelligible as finite element analysis these days.
  16. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    The post was calling for more guidance on technique. I agree that the user manual has no part in this.
  17. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Let's be honest with BeauJayce and admit that Pete and Stephen are not beginners and have the knowledge to use their cameras as stated. What is best for them isn't going to be best for everyone. Thus, I would say forget about manual and single focus point and consider how Nikon designed the camera to make it easier for new users.

    Where to start then. Select either Aperture or Shutter priority, I would suggest Aperture because many people complain of a lack of depth of field with moving subjects and/or telephoto lenses, I would set something a stop or so down from wide open. Next select an ISO that gives a shutter speed of around the reciprocal of the lens focal length, even with a VR lens, the idea is to freeze subject movement (for now, let's get our questioner some sharp images to start with). I would suggest setting the release mode to single because it is better to get one good shot than a whole string of not so good ones.

    Now to Auto Focus, Single point AF S is great for the experienced user but AF C is perfectly capable of tracking a moving object, more to the point it will continue to do so after the shutter is pressed negating any delay between achieving focus and releasing the shutter. The choice of focus point/mode comes next, single point can work but there are times when it is difficult to keep that point on the subject so I suggest a multi-point mode, 21 point dynamic area AF should do it. Depending on the subject 3D tracking might be helpful. I would suggest selecting the centre focus point, the camera will focus using this and the other 20 points surrounding it.

    I would suggest forgetting all about "back button" focusing for now, you need to hold a button down for continuous AF and trying to do that with a thumb and then release the shutter with the index finger requires slightly more thought than just a little extra pressure on the shutter button. It is quite possible to shoot at 5 frames per second in single shots if necessary.

    I must admit that dynamic AF can be frustrating at times but then not everybody tries to capture butterflies using a telephoto lens at near the minimum focus distance.

    Unfortunately Nikon don't produce a "Settings Guide" for the D7200 but they do for some other models, where there is such a guide it can be invaluable in finding the best settings for what you want to do.

    Sorry gentlemen but asking a beginner (beginner with AF that is) to use their camera in the way you do after years of experience isn't going to produce instant success. Just because you don't use continuous AF or auto exposure modes doesn't mean that other people shouldn't. If I am out with a camera I don't want to be bothered with a whole range of settings, I want the camera to do most of the work so that I can concentrate on the subject. Manual exposure, for me, leaves too much to chance and if I have to chose I'll go for getting the image over complete control of exposure, the D4 is perfectly capable of doing that for me.
    Learning and Benchista like this.
  18. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I agree that if you find the manual intelligible then you will find FE analysis intelligible. Personally I find manuals fascinating. While still working I used FE Analysis and before we bought in software even worked on in house development of our own. Happy days.
    Manuals tell one what the various functions do. Typically they only tell you once. There is no commentary that tells one when to use each function or the rational behind them.
    I had a D7100 and found that 3D tracking was a jolly good idea. Sadly if the target was moving rapidly then there didn't seem to be enough processing power to keep up. It works well on the slightly more upmarket D500.
    I agree with Geoff that back button focus is not something to use until you are familiar with everything else on the camera. You will know when you need it. It isn't something to set now and again. If you use it then always use it. You need to know how the camera is going to respond when you pick it up. My own cameras are set up for back button focus and AF-C always. That was not the case until only a couple of years ago.
    Its easy to get modes and nomenclature mixed up. AF-C is a focus mode not a drive mode. for example.
  19. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Probably deliberate - they tell you how their version of the function is implemented/behaves and assume that you will have read a general book/website on photography to learn how to put everything together.

    Maybe each company should produce their own general photography book - probably a lot of repetition between makes, but most people tend to stick to one make. Bit like the old Russian book (Discover Rewarding Photography) but with more info and less advertising!
  20. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    One standard reply on another forum used to be "RTFM" :)

    I think because they got fed up with people asking a question easily answered in the manual, and/or they would simply post an image of the page in the manual.

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