AF-ON how many use it and what are it's merits

Started Mar 12, 2007 | Discussions
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michael Regular Member • Posts: 273
AF-ON how many use it and what are it's merits

I would be interested on how many of you use this button and why ?
--
Michael
http://www.pbase.com/yube
http://www.shuttercity.com/ShowGallery.cfm?AcctID=1854

John Cote Senior Member • Posts: 1,475
You be in control..not the camera

michael wrote:

I would be interested on how many of you use this button and why ?
--
Michael
http://www.pbase.com/yube
http://www.shuttercity.com/ShowGallery.cfm?AcctID=1854

Michael,

If you use the shutter button, you need to press an AF lock button or the camera will refocus when you take a photo. I want the camera to be focused on what I focus it on. Not some high contrast area it likes near what I want of a fence behind the subject.

Switching focus to the AF-ON button and off of the shutter button means that after I take my finger off the AF-ON button, focus is locked. When I take the picture the camera can not re-focus.

To me, focusing and taking are two different functions. I do not want the to happen together with the press of a single button.

It takes a while to get used to this but once you do, you will never switch back. It also allows you to manually tweak the focus with AFS lenses and not have the camera refoucs back to where it had mis-focused originally.

IT ALLOWS YOU TO BE IN CONTROL.

-- hide signature --

John Cote
http://www.johncotephotography.com

'Cameras are just cr@p we have to lug around because there is no direct brain to printer connection...yet!'

 John Cote's gear list:John Cote's gear list
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Foxie Contributing Member • Posts: 935
I use it all the time...

...been discussed here often. Depends on your way of working I guess. In my case, I only use the centre AF-sensor and with AF-ON I can focus to any subject, keep it in focus (button pressed) and re-frame and then make the picture without refocussing.
--
CHEERS!

Nigel_L Regular Member • Posts: 102
Re: AF-ON how many use it and what are it's merits

Here is an example: You have a long zoom and are waiting for that "special moment" when your subject does something memorable.

You can pre-focus on the subject (using the AF-ON button) and then press the shutter release as soon as you see the "special moment". The advantage of this is that pressing the shutter release takes the picture immediately - will not cause the camera to try and update the focus - thereby possibly missing the pic.

Advantages - great when you do not want your camera to hesitate (to update focus) before taking the picture and you can pre-focus on the general area beforehand.

Disadvantage - it is easy to forget that you left your camera in "AF-ON" mode especially if you are using a wide angle lens. You can then end up with a whole bunch of images that are not properly focussed.

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Regards, Nigel

jonathanHodd Regular Member • Posts: 267
what john said

fantastic tool for sports photography. definitely wierd to start with, but doesn't take long to get used to.

RangerJoe Contributing Member • Posts: 975
Re: what john said

jonathanHodd wrote:

fantastic tool for sports photography. definitely wierd to start
with, but doesn't take long to get used to.

Most of my pictures are of my kids' sports activities and I'm having a difficult time wrapping my brain around this.

Could you (or someone) describe a sports scenario where you would use this feature along with your "workflow" for capturing a scene?

Regards,
RangerJoe

winnie Veteran Member • Posts: 4,221
Re: AF-ON how many use it and what are it's merits

I am new to the D200 but am I right in thinking then that once the AF-ON is set as the only focus mechanism via the menu's, you only have to press that once to focus. You don't have to keep your finger on the AF-ON button?

Is this what I should be testing works with my Sigma lenses? I read that they sometimes have to be re-chipped.

Cheers

Alex
------------------------------------------------
http://www.alexwinserphotography.co.uk

Jim Carr Senior Member • Posts: 1,530
Always on

I always use the AF-on button to focus.

Having learned photography on manual cameras it only seems natural to have focus separated from the exposure reading.
Jim

vbd70
vbd70 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,456
I do, all the time

My usual setting is AF-ON, and AF-c (continuous focussing). This way I can keep track of my subjects if I want to, and have shutter/metering completely separate. Works great once you got used to it, I would never go back. Best regards,

Vieri

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Thomas Comerford Veteran Member • Posts: 9,745
Re: AF-ON how many use it and what are it's merits

winnie wrote:

I am new to the D200 but am I right in thinking then that once the
AF-ON is set as the only focus mechanism via the menu's, you only
have to press that once to focus. You don't have to keep your
finger on the AF-ON button?

Yep, although if you're using AF-C you might want to keep pressing AF-ON in certain cases.

Is this what I should be testing works with my Sigma lenses? I read
that they sometimes have to be re-chipped.

With the original D200 firmware you'd have to half-press shutter + AF-ON for HSM lenses. The new firmware fixed it.

Cheers

Alex
------------------------------------------------
http://www.alexwinserphotography.co.uk
------------------------------------------------

kenwilkes Regular Member • Posts: 465
Re: AF-ON how many use it and what are it's merits

great info... thanks

John Cote Senior Member • Posts: 1,475
Re: what john said

RangerJoe wrote:

Most of my pictures are of my kids' sports activities and I'm
having a difficult time wrapping my brain around this.

Could you (or someone) describe a sports scenario where you would
use this feature along with your "workflow" for capturing a scene?

Regards,
RangerJoe

Joe,

Kid's field sports, or anybody's field sports are where this technique really shines. The thing you need to look at is the percentage of perfectly in focus photos you get now, and how many of your out-of-focus clicks are the result of the camera being in focus...just not on what you wanted it to focus on. This technique is all about YOU being in control...not the camera. Being in control usually means that you have to do a little more work but it means that your work will pay off in better results.

If you use the AF-ON button, the way it should be used, you will have to be thinking about focus all of the time. You will have to be watching focus in the viewfinder. You will have to be looking for situations which will fool AF, like chain link fences in the background and players running in front of your main subject. You will have to learn when to to let your finger off of the AF-ON button and when to put it back on.

Just think of it like this...taking your finger off of the AF-ON button is like having a focus lock.

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John Cote
http://www.johncotephotography.com

'Cameras are just cr@p we have to lug around because there is no direct brain to printer connection...yet!'

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John Cote Senior Member • Posts: 1,475
Re: AF-ON how many use it and what are it's merits

Nigel_L wrote:

Disadvantage - it is easy to forget that you left your camera in
"AF-ON" mode especially if you are using a wide angle lens. You can
then end up with a whole bunch of images that are not properly
focussed.

Nigel,

This is only a disadvantage if you keep changing from using the AF-ON button back to using the Shutter Button for focus. If you just get used to using the AF-ON button to focus...all of the time...this is not a disadvantage.

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John Cote
http://www.johncotephotography.com

'Cameras are just cr@p we have to lug around because there is no direct brain to printer connection...yet!'

 John Cote's gear list:John Cote's gear list
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RangerJoe Contributing Member • Posts: 975
Re: what john said

John Cote wrote:

Just think of it like this...taking your finger off of the AF-ON button is like having a focus lock.

Thanks, John!

Does it go something like this? Say I'm shooting kid soccer with AF-C, AF-ON and using the center sensor. Press and hold the AF-ON button. Since I'm using AF-C, then the AF is continuously working/focusing. At the moment of peak action, say a header, then release AF-ON and press the shutter?

On paper, it "sounds" awkward; however, I will definately give it a go this weekend!

Regards,
RangerJoe

Gordon Chau Regular Member • Posts: 247
Use AF-ON for D2 but not D40

I use(d) AF-ON for reasons listed for D100, D2H and D2X.

In my latest, the D40, the AE/AF button also serves as "protection On" during the instant playback/review. In continuous shooting mode, the effort on the button trying to focus would instead produce a "protection-on" action during the instant playback. So I cannot use the button effectively for this purpose.

Gordon Chau

Kabe Luna
Kabe Luna Veteran Member • Posts: 9,493
Because I like having AF separate from shutter release.

This is an idea I'm glad Nikon and others have taken from Canon–in fact going one better with a dedicated control for it. I detest cameras with AF coupled with the shutter release, and in fact this is the one thing that drove me to Canon so many years ago.

michael wrote:

I would be interested on how many of you use this button and why ?
--
Michael
http://www.pbase.com/yube
http://www.shuttercity.com/ShowGallery.cfm?AcctID=1854

-- hide signature --
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jaba Contributing Member • Posts: 654
Re: AF-ON how many use it and what are it's merits

michael wrote:

I would be interested on how many of you use this button and why ?

I activated the option to have the focus only on AF-ON when I bought my 70-200 VR and realized the VR was working continuously when I was pressing the shutter just to have the viewfinder in focus.

Apart from the reasons above, this allows you to uncouple VR from AF and save some hard-earned batteries...

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kevm14 Senior Member • Posts: 2,253
Re: AF-ON how many use it and what are it's merits

jaba wrote:

michael wrote:

I would be interested on how many of you use this button and why ?

I activated the option to have the focus only on AF-ON when I
bought my 70-200 VR and realized the VR was working continuously
when I was pressing the shutter just to have the viewfinder in
focus.

Apart from the reasons above, this allows you to uncouple VR from
AF and save some hard-earned batteries...

But doesn't VR need a moment to stabilize itself? Like, about the time it takes to auto focus? I agree on the battery thing though...

fudgebrown Senior Member • Posts: 2,639
Re: You be in control..not the camera

John, forgive me for not simply reading my own D200 manual but i have a question -

does that mean the AF-ON button while held down is essentially AF-C, and as soon as you let go it locks focus - then you can take your shot?

John Cote wrote:

michael wrote:

I would be interested on how many of you use this button and why ?
--
Michael
http://www.pbase.com/yube
http://www.shuttercity.com/ShowGallery.cfm?AcctID=1854

Michael,

If you use the shutter button, you need to press an AF lock button
or the camera will refocus when you take a photo. I want the camera
to be focused on what I focus it on. Not some high contrast area it
likes near what I want of a fence behind the subject.

Switching focus to the AF-ON button and off of the shutter button
means that after I take my finger off the AF-ON button, focus is
locked. When I take the picture the camera can not re-focus.

To me, focusing and taking are two different functions. I do not
want the to happen together with the press of a single button.

It takes a while to get used to this but once you do, you will
never switch back. It also allows you to manually tweak the focus
with AFS lenses and not have the camera refoucs back to where it
had mis-focused originally.

IT ALLOWS YOU TO BE IN CONTROL.

-- hide signature --

John Cote
http://www.johncotephotography.com

'Cameras are just cr@p we have to lug around because there is no
direct brain to printer connection...yet!'

-- hide signature --

'Procrastinate now, don't put it off.'

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jeff-c Senior Member • Posts: 2,092
Re: Because I like having AF separate from shutter release.

Since when Canon has a dedicate AF-ON button?

In fact they just add this button first time to their newly released EOS-1D Mark III due to popular demand.

Contax has been using this for long time.

Kabe Luna wrote:

This is an idea I'm glad Nikon and others have taken from Canon–in
fact going one better with a dedicated control for it. I detest
cameras with AF coupled with the shutter release, and in fact this
is the one thing that drove me to Canon so many years ago.

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