9, 11, 21 or 51? How to decide?

Started May 13, 2012 | Discussions thread
2wheel Regular Member • Posts: 389
Re: It's not a simple question


Thanks for the kind words. I have a no connection with Nikon. (I wish) Just an semi-amateur photog for more than 30 years.

I'm also a mechanical designer by profession. Which means I over analyze everything.

In an effort to fully understand Nikon's 51 point AF system (When I purchased my D300 in 2007) I spent a lot of time practicing and asking questions. Took me about 6 months to perfect my techniques to the point of comfort that I could assess a situation and choose the best AF options for that situation.

I've found the D4's AF system to be amazing but, it's also very sensitive precisely due to its accuracy. IMHO, the increase in performance between the Single, 9 and 21 Point arrays (From the D300, D3, D3s, D700) actually requires a touch more thought. (And skill when using the Single point.)

The older system was a bit more forgiving when one strayed from the target. The new system will lock onto and stray from a target more readily making the choice of array's more critical.

Additionally... I've not touched on it because I did not want to confuse the original topic but, depending on your situation, you may find the "Focus Tracking With Lock-On" (Menu item a3 on the D4) feature useful.

Sticking with the analogies we've been using... If you are tracking a bird in a flock, this feature will add a time buffer that might work in your favor.

e.g. If you are tracking a bird and another bird passes between you and the target bird, as long as you are still panning the target bird and the obscuring of the alternate bird is within the buffer time set in the Focus Tracking option, the AF system will pause (or assume the last known distance to the target) before considering a new target.

If this feature is set to "Off", all targets passing by the center focus point are assumed to be desired targets and will be acquired.

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