AF for dynamic fashion shots?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Digital Shutterbug Veteran Member • Posts: 5,274
Re: Model is running how fast?

Paul P K wrote:

Nils wrote:

I am still struggeling which AF is best for shooting a fashion model which is running towards me.

At the beginning she is too far away for the EYE-AF to give me a Yellow Square signaling it is tracking the eye.

1. I tried waiting for the AF to recognize the EYE, both in Wide and Region Eye-AF mode. Several times it did not recognize the EYE at all (no yellow square)

2. Like with my D850 (3D Tracking) I pressed the OK button and placed the square on her face and focussed once I started shooting. Then framed the shot while taking pictures. Mostly all pictures were in focus but not perfectly on the EYE.

What is the best workflow for such a setting? I normally shoot between 70 and 200mm


Practically speaking, I can't see a model running fast towards the camera on high heels. I at least never have in the years I have been shooting fashion encountered a model able to do so without severe risk of spring ankles, falling etc. (and never wanted to expose them to risking that)

In my experience Eye AF (I have 2 Z6's, so while familiar with normal Eye AF and Wide AF, not with Region AF) with isn't a option for shooting a model further away at full out (the AF will simply switch to Face AF), apart from the fact that,also in my experience it really isn't a fast enough AF option for a fast moving subject

Had a D850 (sold it after a long period of not using it when I found that I was using my Z6's for over 95% of my photography work, including fashion, catwalk, dance and event), but never went for 3D tracking, as

Despite the raving reviews of the 3D tracking of eg the D850 (and eg D3 and D800 before that), never went for that option, as I prefer to have the final decision where the AF is to at least start to AF on, rather then just aim the camera in the direction of the model to then let the camera decided what to AF on

I prefer to be the one to select the point the AF starts from, after that, based on my experiences with it from back in my 80's/90's F801/F90X/F100 film shooting days, relying on the 'standard' AF tracking.

After all, I'm the photographer so I should have the decisive voice (and yes, that also means no 'shoot and spray' for me, despite the possible high fps and near bottomless buffers of modern DSLR's and mirrorless)

My standard AF set up with a DSLR (D800/D850, and the D4s I got to replace the D850 in the few occasions I do need the ultrafast reliable AF of a DSLR, like with extreme low light, extreme low contrast, heavy backlighting) for a fast moving subject (not running, but eg model on a catwalk, although those models nowadays do strut down the catwalk in a speed close to racewalking) is AF-C, dynamic AF with one manually selected AF point I aim on the subject to have the AF start from, AF and shutter release on the camera release button

With my Z6's I go for AF-C with Dynamic AF, with the center point, rather then the periferal ones, within the AF box pointed on the model I(usually model's face) as starting point, after which I let the AF tracking take over

Have tried the Z6's (FW 3.20) Eye AF and AF tracking for fast moving subjects, but found them not as reliable enough to pick them over Dynamic AF

Only use BBF in very rare occasions, usually only to AF on a semi static subject, eg at the moment stands still briefly at the far end of the catwalk just before they start their run, after which the AF activation is taken over by activating the shutter relaease (which indeed means still having the AF - also - triggered by the camera release button as main AF release option).

BBF only with separate shutter release triggering, is IMO and experience based on shooting years of fashion, catwalk and surf photography, not feasible for use with a model moving at full speed, as it means triggering having to switch from the AF with the BBF button with one finger, to another finger to take the picture, causing a however slight delay, allowing the moving model from the spot the AF was at on the moment the decision was made to take the shot, to just a bit closer by in the next split second moment later when the shutter release button was pushed

I've never seen anyone set up BBF and use it that way. The BBF button is generally pushed with your right thumb. Your index finger is still capable of pressing the shutter release at any time, completely independent of the BBF button being held depressed or not.

Basically still work on the same settings I found out in the late 80's and 90's after years of experience with the F801/F90X and lesser degree F100 (never really learned to rely on that camera as with the F90/F90x), although of course over the years did pick up the AF improvements I liked with my DSLR's (D1/D1X/D1H/D2X/D300/D3/D800/D850/D4s)ands Z6's

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