How accurate should one expect autofocus to be?

Started Mar 30, 2013 | Questions thread
primeshooter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,579
Re: How accurate should one expect autofocus to be?

SixtenB wrote:

This is my first post here. I have just recently bought a used D800 (with a AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm 1:2.8G). I intend to use it mainly for taking photos of my family and maybe some nature photos if I ever get the time off. I am a beginner photographer, and this is my first real experience with an autofocus SLR (having previously mainly used a manual focus Minolta film SLR).

Now to my question: I'm having problems getting sharp photos. One typical example would be taking photos of my 2 year old. I set the camera at 70mm, 1/250 (she's never still), ƒ/2.8, AF-C, d9 area mode and keep the AF-point centered on her eye while keeping AF-ON depressed (I have disabled shutter half-press AF). I then wait a few seconds for the right moment and release the shutter. The result is a perfectly sharp eye (when viewed at 100 %) only in about 10 % of the cases. The rest are either significantly back- or front focused (seemingly at random).

Having never operated such a camera before, I don't know if there is anything wrong with my settings, my technique, my equipment or if the results are just what one should expect. All advice is highly appreciated.

As Robin has said, that is a true issue with the camera. Plus, i'd forget "tracking" area modes generally. I never use them for sports. Most people use the single AF-C mode. Ie YOU put the point over the subject and hold down AF-ON, you sometimes will have to move the point with the D pad or the viewfinder (obviously) as the subject moves. Hit rate is much higher. You can also set the tracking delay to OFF which can further help. Tracking is a mode that feels like something in it's first generation, twitchy at best.

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