D800 AF-ON and AF-C

Started Feb 11, 2014 | Discussions thread
(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 2,305
Re: D800 AF-ON and AF-C

primeshooter wrote:

Anyone else totally abandoned AF-S? For some reason, I am noticing the hit rate of using AF-C focusing is much better than AF-S. It's almost like the D800's AF system cannot work properly in AF-S and the AF-C is just better? It's important to note I am talking about all situations, even totally static stuff, (Yes even with a tripod - AF-C is better). I am talking about pure single point (mostly centre), no area, no dynamic no nothing, the basics (detest these AF 3D modes etc - I just like to put the box over what I want to focus on). I am not new to AF-On focusing but certainly new to totally abandoning AF-S focus and constantly using AF-C.

It's almost like in AF-S it finds focus (which can sometimes be slightly off - especially in low contrast situations) but in AF-C it finds focus, then sometimes makes a tiny adjustment which tends to give better focusing etc...It's odd because in low light I've always shot in AF-S and actually only rarely used AF-C for several reasons...

The thing is, AF-C micro hunts like mental compared to say a D3s or D700. In good light it will lock and stay but in anything other than this it's constantly moving. That said, it seems to be slightly better than AF-S. This improvement with AF-C isn't due to using AF-S when people are moving, or the nonsense some of you said about shooting f/1.4 and shallow depth of field. In some basic testing shooting static stuff in crap light, AF-S was just total MINCE (you would think AF-S would be accurate here, nothing is moving so why should we be in AF-C mode?), and AF-C (whist hunting and making the lens sound like R2D2 having a bad day), focus was better and more shots where in focus. I think that AF-S should come with a damn warning on this camera because it simply isn't working properly, I've now owned 2 D800s, one from July 2012 and one from late 2013, and a few days ago used a friends and AF-S just stinks!

For the sake of being fair, it's right of me to post this. I think the camera stinks in AF-S mode in anything other than good contrasty light. But at distances and wide apertures AF-C seems better (even for static subjects - what the heck? Shouldn't AF-S work well on statics? I am talking about camera on tripod, focusing on a chair or another static object in low light - AF-S fails *consistently*, AF-C picks the object up a lot more, in good focus, even when checking 100%. That is wrong, and a flaw in the AF-S system.) Again, before we start with the bad misconceptions, this is nothing to do with the usual sensor resolution argument many of you give here, so let's nip that one in the bud.

However, I am noticing AF-C to be an improvement, i'll come back after another few days of shooting with any more observations. It seems fairly promising.

I have always found this to be true with my D800E, whether using AF-ON or the shutter button to focus. I mentioned it in the note to Nikon service when I sent my camera in for a clean & check, but I don't see any change in that relationship, except it just focuses better all around since the cleaning.

Nikon said they did a firmware update, but it is the same as when I sent it. Maybe they updated the update.

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