D800: focus setting for wildlife

Started Mar 29, 2014 | Discussions thread
T O Shooter Veteran Member • Posts: 7,803
Re: @ mais51 !

mais51 wrote:

JP Scherrer wrote:

mais51 wrote:

T O Shooter wrote:

JP Scherrer wrote:

harshaj1 wrote:

This is what is use for Birds. Here is a blog post I did in the past. Hope this helps


AF-on button activate the AF.(a4)

Drive mode set to CH(high)

AF-C and Af points to D-9

a1 – Release
a3 – Short to Normal
a6 – on
a7 – 51
a8 – off

Metering- My default metering is matrix metering. I use this for 95% of the time and works well. Only instance when this may not work is when shooting in bright sunny days and the eagle is backlit. In those instances I use center weighted matrix metering.


Thanks for the tips !

Now, is there a way to store ALL these settings in one of D800 memory and "call" it whenever one wants to use the AF-ON trick ? ...I mean, I usually use AF-S with the normal settings, but I'd like to be able to recall the complete AF-ON "system" only by changing memory # ?

OTOH, iI did try several times the AF-ON trick, but after so many years of habits of pressing the shutter button, I found very difficult to change my habits.... ! ...maybe the old age doesn't help....


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You can store them, but any changes you make while in there stays. And I tend to change settings, so why bother. U1 and U2 of the 600s and 7000s are the way to go, but Nikon doesn't seem to think so.

You should make another attempt with that AF-ON button unless you are happy with how it works now. Much better. Separates focus from firing

Forefinger on the Shutter Button and Thumb on the AF-ON Button - basically focus by the thumb shoot when ready with the forefinger - helps stabilise the camera too. With a little bit of practice it becomes second habit - just remember to tell your friends if you ever hand them your camera otherwise lots of OOF photos. These days I just reverse back to Shutter button Focus before handing my camera to friends because they always insist that I should be in the photos

Thanks for the quick response and tips !

I did set the AF-ON thing into memory "SHOOT/CUSTOM B" on my D800... but I noticed that the camera ALSO AF when I depress the shutter--button ! Is that normal or is there another setting that "forbid" the shutter-button to AF and only let it take the image ?

With the D800 you have 4 custom settings banks A, B, C and D, the name of each bank can be changed to reflect the settings

Each bank can be tailored to your shooting style independently.

A could be set for General Photography, B for Landscape C could be set for Portraiture yet the fourth one D can be set to mimic a P&S camera etc. A while a go I came across a website listing the recommended settings for each Custom banks for my D300s. Thom may have some infor on this issue, you may have to buy his book though

For example:

Custom setting bank A

a Autofocus

a4 AF activation OFF (only AF-ON activates autofocus, shutter activation is locked out)

Custom settings bank B

a Autofocus

a4 AF activation ON (both shutter and AF-ON activates autofocus)

Just remember to select the right Custom settings bank !


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But keep in mind that any changes you make while in the custom banks will remain when you exit.  U1 and U2 modes on the 600 series and 7000 series reverts to what you have stored originally when you shut the camera off ( I think it's at shut off ). One of the selling points for Ken Rockwell on the Canon MKIII. That camera has that system as well.  Problem I found with the custom memory banks is that I would be using it and change a couple of settings. Then forget. So I'd always have to go back through the bank and look for what I might have changed. ( I know you can put them on a card and re-load - too much fooling around ). I find it easier to go through a few settings before I go out to shoot.  So I'll quickly check picture control, iso sensitivity and auto iso sensitivity control, maybe white balance.  I'll check Afs or afc, maybe number of points, and set single shot or CH. I'll also check battery level.  All or most all of this I have in My Menu and I have My Menu set to fn button. D800e brings up top item in My Menu but D4 is better because it just goes straight to My Menu from fn button and my top 8 items to check are right there. I generally always shoot A priority and use compensation button as needed or shoot Manual with auto iso, which is somewhat like aperture and shutter priority together.

I used the Custom Bank a couple of years back but just became too big of a nusiance. If Nikon listened to anyone on anything this could be quickly fixed with a firmware update.  But they don't.

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