AF-ON dedicated button ?

Started Jan 26, 2008 | Discussions
senorito_ako Regular Member • Posts: 317
AF-ON dedicated button ?

I've a question about this one. When would this be handy/useful ? Isn't it more convenient just to half press ?

I've always wondered why there is a dedicated AEL/AFL and an AF-ON button on the dxxx and dX series...

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Randy Z Senior Member • Posts: 2,559
You haven't tried it.

There are several long threads here on this already, but if you focus/recompose, that means you can't let go of the shutter button without having to refocus/recompose.

You also have to re-focus after every shot if you let off the shutter button.

So having the focus function on its own button separates your shooting from your focusing.

You can also leave your focus on "C," and have continuous focus when you hold the button, or have it "lock" by letting go.

The list goes on.

It takes a minute to get used to, but most never go back.
--
Z-Man

RonHrl Senior Member • Posts: 2,794
Re: AF-ON dedicated button ?

From a wise man on another forum; this is now how I have my D300 set up:

1) change your menu such that AF is activated ONLY with the AF-ON button, and
2) change to AF-C release priority.
3) put your focus mode switch in AF-C and leave it there.

Now, on the fly, you can:

1) Manually focus: just don't touch the AF-ON button

2) Focus and recompose: put the focus point on subject, push AF-ON and release. Recompose and press shutter release.

3) Continuously focus: Track target with focus point while holding down AF-ON. Fire at will.

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Ron
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TrekSF6 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,090
Once you AF-ON, you never go back :) (nt)
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Scott A.

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dannv Veteran Member • Posts: 3,416
and finally (i think)

RonHrl wrote:

From a wise man on another forum; this is now how I have my D300 set up:

1) change your menu such that AF is activated ONLY with the AF-ON
button, and
2) change to AF-C release priority.
3) put your focus mode switch in AF-C and leave it there.

Now, on the fly, you can:

1) Manually focus: just don't touch the AF-ON button

2) Focus and recompose: put the focus point on subject, push AF-ON
and release. Recompose and press shutter release.

3) Continuously focus: Track target with focus point while holding
down AF-ON. Fire at will.

i haven't done extensive testing, but this focus method also appears to save battery life when using VR lenses by limiting the amount of time the VR is active...dav
--
don't wait for technology -- it won't wait for you

RonHrl Senior Member • Posts: 2,794
dannv...

That's probably correct, as the AF-ON button doesn't activate VR as does the shutter button.

i haven't done extensive testing, but this focus method also appears
to save battery life when using VR lenses by limiting the amount of
time the VR is active...dav
--
don't wait for technology -- it won't wait for you

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Ron
CP 5700, D70, D300
http://www.pbase.com/ronhrl

Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts. --Bernard Baruch

OP senorito_ako Regular Member • Posts: 317
Re: You haven't tried it.

I'll experiment now regarding AF-C and AF-on.. funny thing is before when I was playing with AF-C.. whenever I tried to recompose and the subject moved out of the focus area the focus shifts to whatever the focus pt. currently points to (background mostly)...

Randy Z wrote:

There are several long threads here on this already, but if you
focus/recompose, that means you can't let go of the shutter button
without having to refocus/recompose.

You also have to re-focus after every shot if you let off the shutter
button.

So having the focus function on its own button separates your
shooting from your focusing.

You can also leave your focus on "C," and have continuous focus when
you hold the button, or have it "lock" by letting go.

The list goes on.

It takes a minute to get used to, but most never go back.
--
Z-Man

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OP senorito_ako Regular Member • Posts: 317
Re: You haven't tried it.

Tried it... it kinda seems counter intuitive...

AF-ON method
1. Select AF point (thumb)
2. press AF-ON (thumb)
3. Recompose
3. Half press to meter and full press (index)

Default method
1. Select AF pt. (thumb)
2. Half press (focus) Index finger and wait for focus lock confirm (beep)
3. Recompose
4. Full press

Am I doing something wrong ? I'm sure there is a legit reason why it gets a separate button. Can somebody explain to me step-by-step.

Bundled with AF-C... when you release the AF-ON button then the focus is locked... doesnt that make it AF-S as well ? it doesnt track for movement after the AF-ON release right ??

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Jan Anne Offereins Regular Member • Posts: 253
Re: You haven't tried it.

senorito_ako wrote:

Tried it... it kinda seems counter intuitive...

AF-ON method
1. Select AF point (thumb)
2. press AF-ON (thumb)
3. Recompose
3. Half press to meter and full press (index)

When you recompose anyway then don't bother with selecting the AF point, just leave it at the center Af point which is the most sensitive of the bunch.

Default method
1. Select AF pt. (thumb)
2. Half press (focus) Index finger and wait for focus lock confirm
(beep)
3. Recompose
4. Full press

Am I doing something wrong ? I'm sure there is a legit reason why it
gets a separate button. Can somebody explain to me step-by-step.

Bundled with AF-C... when you release the AF-ON button then the focus
is locked... doesnt that make it AF-S as well ? it doesnt track for
movement after the AF-ON release right ??

BINGO, and all that without changing any of your settings. Re-read the third post, you will have AF-C, AF-S and manual available depending on the use of the AF-ON button, nice:-)

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Vince P
Vince P Senior Member • Posts: 1,356
Re: You haven't tried it.

I used it for years F4 etc and carried on blindly using it on the F5 F100 and even on the D2s for a while until it was explained to me. Now we have off centre focus points that also influence the metering and white balance and allow the tracking of off centre subjects. I use the thumb to deal with the other settings, the rear wheel and the AE/Lock if I need it. It's no hardship to keep the button half pressed and that also works with a remote.

I can do everything you suggest with the half pressed shutter but can much more quickly move the focus points whic is better for off centre subjects whilst getting more accurate metering and WB.

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Morbius Contributing Member • Posts: 674
Re: Once you AF-ON, you never go back :) (nt)

S.A. wrote:

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Scott A.

This is so true.

jlacson Regular Member • Posts: 103
Re: AF-ON dedicated button ?

Ron,

Your (the wise man's) advice runs counter to how I have been doing things thus far. But I just tried it and I think with practice I should be able to get good results. Thanks for posting this. Like the OP I was wondering about the usefulness of the AF-ON button. The D300 is my first camera with an AF-ON button.

I do have a couple of questions: Do you ever go back to the default (shutter half-press) focus method? If so, under what circumstances?

Jim

RonHrl wrote:

From a wise man on another forum; this is now how I have my D300 set up:

1) change your menu such that AF is activated ONLY with the AF-ON
button, and
2) change to AF-C release priority.
3) put your focus mode switch in AF-C and leave it there.

Now, on the fly, you can:

1) Manually focus: just don't touch the AF-ON button

2) Focus and recompose: put the focus point on subject, push AF-ON
and release. Recompose and press shutter release.

3) Continuously focus: Track target with focus point while holding
down AF-ON. Fire at will.

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Ron
CP 5700, D70, D300
http://www.pbase.com/ronhrl
Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be
wrong in his facts. --Bernard Baruch

lmpmd Veteran Member • Posts: 3,025
Re: AF-ON dedicated button ?

IMHO with af-c it's great. Your at a public event and you want 6 fps of a person, but you don't want person in center of picture. Hard to do with focus on shutter release and set to center. You have to refocus and recompose over and over. Just focus with thumb on af-on and take you finger off af-on , recompose and take 6 fps. I think when you don't want to take rapid pics (not use af-c) you can go back to putting focus on the shutter release. But I'm thinking switching methods gets confusing and I may just leave focus on the af-on button for good. Appreciate any advice from others.
--
Larry

jarek leo
jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 711
Re: AF-ON dedicated button ?

I tried those settings photographing an event and there is one problem: I ususally take pictures at special events with very little available light and need to use flash. With AF-C I have lots of AF hunting since AF-assist is not enabled in AF-C. I have to go back to AF-S on many occasions because of that.
Jarek

lmpmd wrote:

IMHO with af-c it's great. Your at a public event and you want 6 fps
of a person, but you don't want person in center of picture. Hard to
do with focus on shutter release and set to center. You have to
refocus and recompose over and over. Just focus with thumb on af-on
and take you finger off af-on , recompose and take 6 fps. I think
when you don't want to take rapid pics (not use af-c) you can go back
to putting focus on the shutter release. But I'm thinking switching
methods gets confusing and I may just leave focus on the af-on button
for good. Appreciate any advice from others.
--
Larry

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George Payne Jr Contributing Member • Posts: 614
I'm a little confused. Please take a look.

I have never used the AF-on button. Are you saying, that if I want to continually shoot and not keep the subject in the focus area, I hold done the AF-on button on the back of the camera with my thumb while holding the shutter release button down. Is this correct? I have pushed the AF-on button before, but never see anything in the view finder showing it is activated. Is this correct? Please correct me if I'm wrong!

Thanks
George
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Rob Bye Regular Member • Posts: 156
I've trie both methods

I've tried both methods, and I'm sticking with the shutter release for AF.

I cover many wintertime sports events, and couldn't operate the AF-On button with heavy gloves on. It makes no sense to have a warm weather method and a cold weather method, so I stick with what works in both cases - the shutter release.
--
Rob Bye
http://www.RobByePhoto.com

C Engelke Forum Member • Posts: 75
...I go back sometimes...

...when I hand the camera to others to take a snapshot

In the last weeks I also used shutter-button-AE-lock (custom c1 ON), does someone use that too?

It lets me recompose when the lighting is really difficult (I use the AEL button for AE-hold or FV lock, but its free for other functions then...)

lmpmd Veteran Member • Posts: 3,025
Re: ...I go back sometimes...

I've heard the opposite about handing camera to another person. Focus for them, leave focus on af-on button only, then when they take a picture of you, the focus wont change if the center of the picture isn't you (but rather something far away).
--
Larry

C Engelke Forum Member • Posts: 75
Re: ...I go back sometimes...

But focusing for them means I have to know what will happen, where to tand etc.

I most snapshot situations things change fast...and usually the light is low (and the D300 so good without needing a flash).

I also like the "full auto AF" in those situations; it makes the camera "almost" a P&S for unexperienced friends!

RonHrl Senior Member • Posts: 2,794
Jim...

Like you, this is my first camera with a dedicated AF-ON button; the D70 just has the AE-L/AF-L button (which was programmable). I only learned about this a couple weeks ago, but I like it so far and haven't gone back. I would change if I handed the D300 to another person (who was used to using the shutter release to lock focus) to take a picture.

jlacson wrote:

Ron,

Your (the wise man's) advice runs counter to how I have been doing
things thus far. But I just tried it and I think with practice I
should be able to get good results. Thanks for posting this. Like
the OP I was wondering about the usefulness of the AF-ON button. The
D300 is my first camera with an AF-ON button.

I do have a couple of questions: Do you ever go back to the default
(shutter half-press) focus method? If so, under what circumstances?

Jim

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Ron
CP 5700, D70, D300
http://www.pbase.com/ronhrl

Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts. --Bernard Baruch

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