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Nikon Autofocus

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by Kettering_Jeremy, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Kettering_Jeremy

    Kettering_Jeremy Well-Known Member


    I have used Nikons for many years, and have been very pleased with the improvements in auto-focus over the years.

    The latest incarnation of the AF module installed in my D500 has 153 autofocus points and 99 cross types. The technical notes say that it is the most advanced AF system ever produced by Nikon, and that its performance is outstanding.

    My question is, does that all really matter if I only use back button focus?

    And the supplementary question, if I use back button focus, do I need to understand the intricacies of the multi-cam af module?


  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    You don't NEED to learn 90% of the crap in the instruction book if all you do is take pictures. There are still buttons on my D70 that I've never used in a decade or more, and one of the first things I did with my Df was disable the wheel on the front that you're supposed to operate with your index finger (though admittedly I had to read the manual to find out how).The only reason I tried all the buttons on the Leica M was that I was reviewing it for American Photo magazine.

    In the 1970s I used to write software manuals and promotional materials, and self-instructional materials for all kinds of things, and I can't believe how bad most camera manuals are.


    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  3. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    All back-button focus does is disconnect the act of focussing from releasing the shutter. Just because it makes it easier to first fix focus using the center focus point and then recompose doesn't mean that using another focus point isn't sometimes a better option. Ditto AF for moving subjects. I don't know what a multi-cam AF module is. I guess your need to understand it depends on whether it is useful or not to you! AF systems can be complicated. Canon had to bring out a supplementary user guide to explain the AF on the 1Div. I have my AF set to not react too quickly to things getting in the way if it is already tracking which is quite useful.
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Pete,



  5. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    How much you need to understand depends upon what you are shooting. If you are after moving targets then you need to know enough to decide on which settings and how to fully exploit them. Remember that Nikon has to satisfy many people who have used their kit for years and are stuck in their ways. The also have to move forward for those of us who are wanting to try better ways of doing things. Some ambitious methods seemed to be too slugish on earllier cameras but now work superbly on theD500 (and presumably on the D5 and D850).
    Often there is more than one method of obtaining the result that you want.
    The manual is exactly that, a manual; it informs you what the system does but does not tell you how you might best exploit it.
    I found this helpful http://www.dslrbodies.com/books/bythom-complete-guides-/nikon-d500-guide.html .
    It does unfortuneatly repeat a lot of stuff from all his guides and which you will already know, however on the D500 specifics he is sound. Unlike some authors of how to do it books he does actully use the kit very successfully.

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