Focus motors: In-body vs in-lens

Started Apr 15, 2013 | Discussions thread
slimandy Forum Pro • Posts: 17,125
Re: Focus motors: In-body vs in-lens

windsprite wrote:

Stacey_K wrote:

slimandy wrote:

and offers MF override.

This feature makes having a in focus motor worth it. I love AF+MF where I let the AF do it's thing. Yet if it misses the focus point I intended by a bit. I can simply touch up the focus and shoot. I miss being able to do this with my 180mm F2.8D. You have to pick one or the other.

Not necessarily.  If you don't mind doing the AF-ON/"back-button" AF method , you can have this feature on the 180/2.8 and similar lenses.

You just go into the menus and disable the AF on the shutter release button and set the camera to AF using the AF-ON button (or the AEL/AFL button, if your body doesn't have a AF-ON button).  Then you switch over permanently to AF-C and set the switch on the 180/2.8 to MF (also permanently).  Voila, you can autofocus using the back button while being able to use the MF ring any time.   No setting changes or button switches necessary.

AF-ON/back-button AF takes some time getting used to, but IMO it's far superior to using the shutter button to focus, because of the feature mentioned above, and also because you can stay permanently in AF-C and have all the benefits of that mode, plus AF-S and MF, without ever changing any switches or settings.  It's one of the best things about shooting Nikon.  I haven't changed out of AF-C in about three years.

One possible problem is that if your body doesn't have an AF-ON button, you have to use the AEL/AFL one instead, which means you have to switch AE lock over to another function button if you use it a lot.  I feel it's worth doing that to get all the benefits of AF-ON, but YMMV on that.


I do that already but it's not the same thing. When you shooting with very shallow DOF the camera doesn't always focus at the exact point you want it to so a quick tweak to make sure you've nailed it is worth while. I find I mainly use it for macro and portrait. Very occasionally I also use it in low light, low contrast situations to avoid hunting.

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