Autofocus for D90

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
John Sheehy Forum Pro • Posts: 24,184
Re: Autofocus for D90

GCA123 wrote:

I've been shooting BIF and have been getting some shots that I'm really happy with (attached), but others that I'm puzzled by. I know I'm going to have lots of misses, but am just trying to do everything I can to decrease the miss rate. I'm attaching a miss as well. My settings are those that I believe are recommended by Glenn Bartley and include: Tracking Sensitivity (Locked On), Accel/Decel Tracking (-1), AF Pt Auto Switching (0), AI Servo 1st Priority (Focus), AI Servo Second Priority (Focus), iTR Face Priority (Off). I am shooting manual with auto ISO and a nine-point focus field. Any suggestions? Is it worth it to try to focus using a single point, or is that a fools errand? Other ideas for why I may be missing a fair number (obviously not all, but many, many) of shots due to focusing problems?

The less points you use, the less the cameras has to try to figure out, and the more that it is down to you to humanly track the bird by moving the lens to get your point or smaller zone on the subject.

Based on my experience, and what I have garnered from other people's experience, the 7D2 is better at using intelligence over a larger AF point zone, but the 90D is better with single-point for a person skilled at using single-point and keeping it on appropriate parts of the subject.  Roger Clark posted here right after the 90D was released, and he is a very skilled single-point BIF photographer, and his experience was more keepers with the 90D than the 7D2.  Almost anyone relying on multi-point intelligence, however, seems to get more consistent focus with the 7D2.

For something like a Bald Eagle, you should get better results with single point if you can stay on the white to brown transition in the neck, than if you used the edge of the bird against the background, or any solid-color area of the bird.

I am not a BIF-centric bird photographer historically, and unfortunately, I usually have my settings set for non-flying birds when a BIF opportunity arises, but in the small amount of time that I have set up for BIFs with the 90D, I have found it important to watch closely in the viewfinder to see if the system is actually focused on the subject when it has seemed to think it has focused, and very quickly re-engage AF again if it is not clearly locked on already.  It is absolutely essential to have the viewfinder diopter accurately adjusted, for this.

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