Some Tips for better AF on a Nikon D800 here

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primeshooter
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Some Tips for better AF on a Nikon D800 here
5 months ago

I have been using the Nikon D800 for some time, I found out some things which really help AF which may be useful. I have noticed this stuff over a long period of usage of the camera.

Firstly, if your subject is far away from the camera, use AF-C (even if they are still / motionless - this is important). It's especially important if they aren't filling the frame and you want to isolate them with an f/1.4 lens with shallow dof. Obviously if they are far away and moving, use AF-C as well. People seem to think AF-On and then the shutter to take the picture is more accurate. I've tried both - don't see it myself. I think what people are seeing is what I am describing here, that perhaps the system works better at a distance with AF-C regardless of the subject being static or moving, and works the same whether you use the AF-On button to focus or the shutter to do both (bear with me on this)...

I have found that if you use AF-C for a close up subject (I'm talking about close enough that you need to select an eye as dof will be very shallow), you will (if using AF-C) get a lot of AF misses because in AF-C mode the D800 has rights to switch from the selected AF point to the adjacent if it finds greater contrast. IMO this is a ridiculous idea is what happens is often the system chooses the wrong eye and messes up a good picture.

So moving on, for close range, I always use AF-S, especially if it's portraiture (think 85mm f/1.4 lens) and one eye is a priority or shooting at f/1.4 (you get the idea). AF-S and single point AF mode, forces the system to only focus via that focus point and yields better results IMO.

I can't believe I am writing this, as it truly goes against every bone in my body but I find AUTO mode to be surprisingly accurate with a caveat - in certain situations. (I come from always using AF-S or AF-C true single point mode only as I don't like any other modes really). It detects faces, generally finds the subject in the frame and works even at f/1.4. Give it a trial, seriously! I find that time and time again if i follow the near AF-S and far AF-C rule for (both static subjects I might add) that AF is improved even when checking 100% crops on a monitor.

Nikon D800
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