Re: Nikon support re: Dynamic AF

Started Jun 24, 2017 | Discussions
Ken G.
Ken G. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,313
Re: Nikon support re: Dynamic AF

briantilley said "Thank goodness this thread has only one more post before it gets closed - then we can get on with using our D500's and D5's to take great action photos..."

I hope you didn't really let your D500 sit idle that whole time... 😉

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briantilley
briantilley Veteran Member • Posts: 6,039
Re: Nikon support re: Dynamic AF

Ken G. wrote:

briantilley said "Thank goodness this thread has only one more post before it gets closed - then we can get on with using our D500's and D5's to take great action photos..."

I hope you didn't really let your D500 sit idle that whole time... 😉

Well, it's a D5, but no - I am using it regularly.  It's taken over 4,000 images in a variety of AF modes on two paid assignments and two air displays this month

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n057 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,530
Re: Nikon support re: Dynamic AF
1

Ken G. wrote:

briantilley said "Thank goodness this thread has only one more post before it gets closed - then we can get on with using our D500's and D5's to take great action photos..."

I hope you didn't really let your D500 sit idle that whole time... 😉

JC
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Ken G.
OP Ken G. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,313
Re: Nikon support re: Dynamic AF

briantilley wrote:

Well, it's a D5, but no - I am using it regularly. It's taken over 4,000 images in a variety of AF modes on two paid assignments and two air displays this month

Glad to hear it 👍

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Ken G.
OP Ken G. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,313
Re: Nikon support re: Dynamic AF

n057 wrote:

JC
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C'mon JC, it shouldn't take too long to max out this thread too...

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n057 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,530
Re: Nikon support re: Dynamic AF

Ken G. wrote:

C'mon JC, it shouldn't take too long to max out this thread too...

Yeah, right, should keep us busy till August

JC
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Ken G.
OP Ken G. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,313
Re: Nikon support re: Dynamic AF
4

I'm not dead!

OK, got THIS response from Nikon - yet another explanation of how Dynamic-area AF was changed...

I apologize for the delay, and for the confusion. According to our design group at Nikon Corp, the Dynamic Area AF function has been enhanced with the newest AF sensor, particularly for subjects moving toward or away from the camera.
Dynamic Area AF (9, 53, 72, or 153 point) does not track the subject, however it will expand the area the subject will remain focused should it BRIEFLY leave the initial focus point.
If the subject leaves the selected number of AF points, then the camera will refocus.
If the subject leaves the initial focus area and enough time has lapsed before the subject is recentered, the camera will refocus.
If peripheral data from initial target area has enough of a difference from the initial target (unspecified), then the camera may refocus as well. This is not the intent of the function, but it may happen at times.

Choose the numbered area based on your ability to keep the initial AF area on the subject, and also expected movement path, and always try to follow and center your subject during the burst. If the subject does refocus, and it may, then either let go of the button, reacquire the subject in the center AF area, and continue firing, or, depending on the quality of the subject (ability for the AF sensor to grab and hold), just keep firing and the lens will refocus on it's own. Success is dependent on a combination of subject contrast and user skill and speed of the user and the subject.

If you want you to allow the AF area to track your subject around the frame, then select 3D or Auto. 3D will follow around the subject using a single AF point and Auto will use several points.
The intended performance improvement, again, was for subjects moving toward or away the camera using information from surrounding points, that is one area where the enhancements were noted during testing with this new system.

So, a bit different than previous explanations, which varied from 'it's supposed to act the same as previous models' to 'it's been intentionally changed'.

I may respond to them, and I may not.  I may just let it die...

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larrywilson
larrywilson Veteran Member • Posts: 7,069
Re: Nikon support re: Dynamic AF

Ken G. wrote:

I'm not dead!

OK, got THIS response from Nikon - yet another explanation of how Dynamic-area AF was changed...

I apologize for the delay, and for the confusion. According to our design group at Nikon Corp, the Dynamic Area AF function has been enhanced with the newest AF sensor, particularly for subjects moving toward or away from the camera.
Dynamic Area AF (9, 53, 72, or 153 point) does not track the subject, however it will expand the area the subject will remain focused should it BRIEFLY leave the initial focus point.
If the subject leaves the selected number of AF points, then the camera will refocus.
If the subject leaves the initial focus area and enough time has lapsed before the subject is recentered, the camera will refocus.
If peripheral data from initial target area has enough of a difference from the initial target (unspecified), then the camera may refocus as well. This is not the intent of the function, but it may happen at times.

Choose the numbered area based on your ability to keep the initial AF area on the subject, and also expected movement path, and always try to follow and center your subject during the burst. If the subject does refocus, and it may, then either let go of the button, reacquire the subject in the center AF area, and continue firing, or, depending on the quality of the subject (ability for the AF sensor to grab and hold), just keep firing and the lens will refocus on it's own. Success is dependent on a combination of subject contrast and user skill and speed of the user and the subject.

If you want you to allow the AF area to track your subject around the frame, then select 3D or Auto. 3D will follow around the subject using a single AF point and Auto will use several points.
The intended performance improvement, again, was for subjects moving toward or away the camera using information from surrounding points, that is one area where the enhancements were noted during testing with this new system.

So, a bit different than previous explanations, which varied from 'it's supposed to act the same as previous models' to 'it's been intentionally changed'.

I may respond to them, and I may not. I may just let it die...

Thanks for your effort Ken.  My d810 is hooked up to my Nikon 500 lens and my d500 is sitting on my drafting table.  I thought I would go out with my d810 using dynamic auto focus and see if I like it better than the d500 dynamic auto focus.  It seems somehow that Nikon would have changed the wording in their manual to state that there is a change from previous cameras?  Boy with all these different auto focus modes it seems like its over complicated what mode to use for a certain type of photography.

Thanks Ken for all of your time contacting Nikon and continuing updating us on the progress.

Larry

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Warkari Contributing Member • Posts: 727
Re: Nikon support re: Dynamic AF

Ken G. wrote:

I'm not dead!

OK, got THIS response from Nikon - yet another explanation of how Dynamic-area AF was changed...

I apologize for the delay, and for the confusion. According to our design group at Nikon Corp, the Dynamic Area AF function has been enhanced with the newest AF sensor, particularly for subjects moving toward or away from the camera.
Dynamic Area AF (9, 53, 72, or 153 point) does not track the subject, however it will expand the area the subject will remain focused should it BRIEFLY leave the initial focus point.
If the subject leaves the selected number of AF points, then the camera will refocus.
If the subject leaves the initial focus area and enough time has lapsed before the subject is recentered, the camera will refocus.
If peripheral data from initial target area has enough of a difference from the initial target (unspecified), then the camera may refocus as well. This is not the intent of the function, but it may happen at times.

Choose the numbered area based on your ability to keep the initial AF area on the subject, and also expected movement path, and always try to follow and center your subject during the burst. If the subject does refocus, and it may, then either let go of the button, reacquire the subject in the center AF area, and continue firing, or, depending on the quality of the subject (ability for the AF sensor to grab and hold), just keep firing and the lens will refocus on it's own. Success is dependent on a combination of subject contrast and user skill and speed of the user and the subject.

If you want you to allow the AF area to track your subject around the frame, then select 3D or Auto. 3D will follow around the subject using a single AF point and Auto will use several points.
The intended performance improvement, again, was for subjects moving toward or away the camera using information from surrounding points, that is one area where the enhancements were noted during testing with this new system.

So, a bit different than previous explanations, which varied from 'it's supposed to act the same as previous models' to 'it's been intentionally changed'.

I may respond to them, and I may not. I may just let it die...

So what I am getting from the explanation is this. If I use D25, D72 or D153 for BIF, and the initial focus point slips off the bird, then after a delay, the camera will focus on the background. BUT, if I continue firing away and manage to get the focus point back on the bird, the camera will reacquire the bird quickly. So I don't have to pump my AF-ON button to refocus. So I guess this implies I should keep the delay short so that I can reacquire focus faster?

Amit

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T O Shooter Forum Pro • Posts: 11,302
Re: Nikon support re: Dynamic AF

Ken G. wrote:

I'm not dead!

OK, got THIS response from Nikon - yet another explanation of how Dynamic-area AF was changed...

You're on to something here.

I apologize for the delay, and for the confusion. According to our design group at Nikon Corp, the Dynamic Area AF function has been enhanced with the newest AF sensor, particularly for subjects moving toward or away from the camera.
Dynamic Area AF (9, 53, 72, or 153 point) does not track the subject, however it will expand the area the subject will remain focused should it BRIEFLY leave the initial focus point.

The above is saying that the if you're using Dynamic AF, and say 72 pt, everything within the 72 point area will remain in focus if you drift off the primary point, even BRIEFLY. That's kinda "Gotta Nikon" moment as the above is not correct. The remaining points do not take over.

If the subject leaves the selected number of AF points, then the camera will refocus.

As it always did. But it also refocuses within the selected number of AF points, as soon as it's off the primary point for about a second.

If the subject leaves the initial focus area and enough time has lapsed before the subject is recentered, the camera will refocus.

Well, if it leaves the primary point. The remaining selected number of points doesn't come into play at all.

If peripheral data from initial target area has enough of a difference from the initial target (unspecified), then the camera may refocus as well. This is not the intent of the function, but it may happen at times

It won't make a break for my comment. Anyway............ Would like to see an example of this.

Choose the numbered area based on your ability to keep the initial AF area on the subject, and also expected movement path, and always try to follow and center your subject during the burst. If the subject does refocus, and it may, then either let go of the button, reacquire the subject in the center AF area, and continue firing, or, depending on the quality of the subject (ability for the AF sensor to grab and hold), just keep firing and the lens will refocus on it's own. Success is dependent on a combination of subject contrast and user skill and speed of the user and the subject.

It won't make a break for my comment. Anyway............ Irrelevent info seeing that the remaining points don't work. Should have read "Chose dynamic if you ability allows you to track with single point."

If you want you to allow the AF area to track your subject around the frame, then select 3D or Auto. 3D will follow around the subject using a single AF point and Auto will use several points.

Idiotic comment. They probably believe in fairy tales as well.

The intended performance improvement, again, was for subjects moving toward or away the camera using information from surrounding points, that is one area where the enhancements were noted during testing with this new system.

It won't make a break for my comment. Anyway............ I have no problem with the D810 with good lenses and no problem with the D4/D4s with almost any lenses. Nikon improved something that didn't need improvement, but downgraded something that could have been made better.

So, a bit different than previous explanations, which varied from 'it's supposed to act the same as previous models' to 'it's been intentionally changed'.

I may respond to them, and I may not. I may just let it die...

Please don't let it die.  You're doing a fine job. Thanks again.

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Ken G.
OP Ken G. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,313
Re: Nikon support re: Dynamic AF
2

Ken G. wrote:

I'm not dead!

OK, got THIS response from Nikon - yet another explanation of how Dynamic-area AF was changed...

I apologize for the delay, and for the confusion. According to our design group at Nikon Corp, the Dynamic Area AF function has been enhanced with the newest AF sensor, particularly for subjects moving toward or away from the camera.
Dynamic Area AF (9, 53, 72, or 153 point) does not track the subject, however it will expand the area the subject will remain focused should it BRIEFLY leave the initial focus point.
If the subject leaves the selected number of AF points, then the camera will refocus.
If the subject leaves the initial focus area and enough time has lapsed before the subject is recentered, the camera will refocus.
If peripheral data from initial target area has enough of a difference from the initial target (unspecified), then the camera may refocus as well. This is not the intent of the function, but it may happen at times.

Choose the numbered area based on your ability to keep the initial AF area on the subject, and also expected movement path, and always try to follow and center your subject during the burst. If the subject does refocus, and it may, then either let go of the button, reacquire the subject in the center AF area, and continue firing, or, depending on the quality of the subject (ability for the AF sensor to grab and hold), just keep firing and the lens will refocus on it's own. Success is dependent on a combination of subject contrast and user skill and speed of the user and the subject.

If you want you to allow the AF area to track your subject around the frame, then select 3D or Auto. 3D will follow around the subject using a single AF point and Auto will use several points.
The intended performance improvement, again, was for subjects moving toward or away the camera using information from surrounding points, that is one area where the enhancements were noted during testing with this new system.

So, a bit different than previous explanations, which varied from 'it's supposed to act the same as previous models' to 'it's been intentionally changed'.

I may respond to them, and I may not. I may just let it die...

I decided to send a reply. It can't hurt. --

Thanks for your response. It now appears that Nikon is on it's THIRD explanation of how Dynamic-area AF is supposed to behave. In the beginning of this thread, back in April, Nikon's response was that the D500/D5 should behave just as it's older/previous model cameras behaved - "We contacted our corporate office in Japan and they let us know that the behavior of Dynamic Area on the D500 should be the same as that on previous cameras".

Later in the thread, it was Nikon's position that the behavior of the D500/D5 was intentionally changed - " I received a response from our engineers in Japan that were evaluating your question. They confirmed that behaviors of the Dynamic-area AF in the D500 and D810 are different. It is so because the whole AF system has changed with the D500.".

And now the latest explanation, as you recently reported, stating that - "According to our design group at Nikon Corp, the Dynamic Area AF function has been enhanced with the newest AF sensor, particularly for subjects moving toward or away from the camera."

I think it's interesting that these 'enhancements' were not even mentioned in the User Guide or manual - something any company would usually want everyone to know about. The D500/D5 UG and manual read almost exactly the way previous model's UG's and manuals read.

Again, it seems that Nikon has taken a great feature of it's previous model cameras and virtually eliminated it, leaving photographers to try to use work-arounds to accomplish what used to be handled quite nicely with the Dynamic-area AF as it was originally designed.

I think that Nikon could resolve this issue by adding an option under 'a3 Focus tracking with lock-on' 'Blocked shot AF response' menu that would delay the AF response time to INDEFINITELY. That way, the camera could be set to act just as Nikon's previous models behaved, for those that appreciate the benefit of a truly DYNAMIC-area AF.

I'd like to hear what Nikon corporate thinks of that option.

Thanks again for your time

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ShutterDude Contributing Member • Posts: 889
Re: Nikon support re: Dynamic AF
1

I just came across this thread and the issue:  I am flabbergasted and disappointed at the same time of these details.

I actually purchased the D500 for BIF, action/sports photography and to hear that Dynamic AF mode does not behave the way I thought logically it should is a let down.  This might explain why my keeper count is not as high as I think they should be when using Dynamic AF modes in BIF.

Given that Nikon has 3 different responses, it doesn't give me much assurance that they will address this 'issue' since to them it's normal.  Unless I'm mistaken, and please correct me if I'm wrong, isn't then that all Dynamic AF modes really are useless then?  It's no better than using Single Point focus.   However, if what Nikon says is what it is, it is only good for objects that are moving away or coming towards you (ie.  owl in flight coming toward camera)

I guess for action and BIF shots, I'll use Group Focusing.  I really hope this gets formally addressed and perhaps a Firmware update would address this.

T O Shooter Forum Pro • Posts: 11,302
Re: Nikon support re: Dynamic AF

ShutterDude wrote:

I just came across this thread and the issue: I am flabbergasted and disappointed at the same time of these details.

I actually purchased the D500 for BIF, action/sports photography and to hear that Dynamic AF mode does not behave the way I thought logically it should is a let down. This might explain why my keeper count is not as high as I think they should be when using Dynamic AF modes in BIF.

Given that Nikon has 3 different responses, it doesn't give me much assurance that they will address this 'issue' since to them it's normal. Unless I'm mistaken, and please correct me if I'm wrong, isn't then that all Dynamic AF modes really are useless then? It's no better than using Single Point focus. However, if what Nikon says is what it is, it is only good for objects that are moving away or coming towards you (ie. owl in flight coming toward camera)

I guess for action and BIF shots, I'll use Group Focusing. I really hope this gets formally addressed and perhaps a Firmware update would address this.

I'd like a firmware update as well.

I guess in a small sense it's better than single point. Very small. I haven't touched my cameras in a couple of months ( too busy ) so it took a bit of a refresher from Steve Perry to get me back on track.

The camera body and I guess Nikon software only shows the primary focus point as the one that was used to take the image. But Steve and a couple of fellows used some other EXIF tool that showed the additional points are actually being used. So I'll accept it as "semi" gospel. But what they've determined happens, is that once the primary focus point in lost the focus is handed off to one of the other 24, 71, 152 points. But the catch is it only holds it for a limited amount of time. Very limited. The delay is controlled by the a3 setting for Blocked shot AF response with 1 being the least delay and 5 being the most. But a setting of 5 only gives you about 1 second to get back on the primary focus point. If you don't get back on the primary focus point,  and re-set the timer, focus will switch to the primary focus point and whatever is under it.  Why something called "Block Shot AF response" affects it I have no idea, and more than like neither does Nikon. Knowing how it works and tightening up on the discipline you can work with 1 sec ( to a degree ) But I compose while I'm shooting BIF and I've let the focus drift off to one of the outer points as well, to get the bird where I want it in the frame. ( not an exact science by any means ) But no way to do that with the D500 as it takes all my time to try and keep it on the primary focus point or get it back on in 1 second.

One other thing that Nikon said, and I didn't get it right away, is that they said dynamic AF doesn't track. But I think they mean it doesn't track in and of itself, as in 3D and auto the focus point theoretically follows the bird from point to point as the camera body detects where the bird ( or whatever is ) Dynamic certainly track on my D4s , D810 and other bodies I've owned, but I'm the one doing the actual tracking, not some automatic feature on a camera. Which is the way I prefer it. As I said before, I don't make money at this, and when the challenge goes out of it, I'll stop shooting BIF.

Group works fine ( or even great ) on the D500, but group was suppose to be just another tool in the toolbox, not a workaround for Nikon's screw up. It is somewhat of a niche mode doing double duty to fill in for dynamic.

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Ken G.
OP Ken G. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,313
Another Nikon update re: Dynamic AF
1

This, from Nikon...

Again, sorry for the confusion. New product functions are described to us primarily through a marketing brief and then product training, and then over time with more detailed explanations if needed and if available. I use the products myself and test them when questions like yours are asked, and I report issues if needed or solve problems given the situation.
This question was reported from more than one source, and carefully considered, and translated more than once, so again, sorry for the confusion. I am trying to provide you with the most accurate answer that I can.

Yes, it is true the behavior of the D500 AF sensor is different than previous models, and yes, it has been enhanced. It was unclear exactly how as well, so I questioned our engineers about it. This is a new system, so there are some gray areas.
It was explained, as it is also mentioned in the product brochure, that this AF sensor has a dedicated processor, unlike previous models, to manage more information from a more robust sensor, and manage it faster than before. The autofocus algorithm has been refined as well, and all of this is mentioned in the product brochure.

http://cdn-4.nikon-cdn.com/e/Q5NM96RZZo-YRYNeYvAi9beHK4x3L-8go_p7JUL6JpQM9h_9xTbwyw==/PDF/D500_Brochure.pdf

So, the feature is the same, the function has improved. If you want the camera to track your subject, use 3D or Auto mode. Dynamic Area AF is not tracking, it is dynamic, meaning it will use information from peripheral AF points to maintain focus on the subject- not to "track" it. This is designed to help keep the lens from refocusing, again, BRIEFLY, while in the selected number of AF points. The harder your subject is to keep framed, the wider the area you should select. If your subject leaves the selected area the camera will refocus, as it always did. This camera is just more sensitive to the changes it sees now than before.

AF Lock on is now "Blocked Shot AF response" with 5 settings (durations), and "Subject motion" option for the type of movement, whether start and stop motion, like football or basketball, or steady movement through the frame like auto-racing or speed skating. Both of these options are set to the middle setting, response time is what other cameras were, and the addition of the subject motion pattern recognition is new so I have no test data on how well that functions yet. I would hit up the forums for some real world reviews.

Hope this helps answer your question. Sorry for the long delay in getting there..
Kind regards,

And, my response...

"Thanks for your reply ____.
I would disagree that the Dynamic-area AF feature is the SAME. It acts like it used to BRIEFLY, but then focuses on whatever lies under the chosen focus point. My D300 did not do that. It kept focus on the original subject that fell under the chosen focus point, as long as the subject remained in the area covered (9, 21, or 51). As you know, and stated, the D500 now will only BRIEFLY hold focus (about 1 second when set to '5'), and then focuses on whatever lies under the chosen focus point. This is different, and in a meaningful way.
I understand that Dynamic-area AF does not 'track' a subject. It never did. It would MAINTAIN focus on a subject. Now, with the D500/D5 it only does that for about 1 second AT THE LONGEST.
My suggestion that the firmware be updated to include the option to INDEFINITELY delay the focus shift would solve the issue for the photographers that found Dynamic-area AF so valuable. I'm sure many others would love to see that feature added as well. That would solve an issue that many feel has been a step backward in an otherwise great camera.
What about running that up the flagpole at Nikon to see what the big shots at corporate think?"

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arniebook Senior Member • Posts: 1,282
Re: Another Nikon update re: Dynamic AF

Ken G. wrote:

This, from Nikon...

Again, sorry for the confusion. New product functions are described to us primarily through a marketing brief and then product training, and then over time with more detailed explanations if needed and if available. I use the products myself and test them when questions like yours are asked, and I report issues if needed or solve problems given the situation.
This question was reported from more than one source, and carefully considered, and translated more than once, so again, sorry for the confusion. I am trying to provide you with the most accurate answer that I can.

Yes, it is true the behavior of the D500 AF sensor is different than previous models, and yes, it has been enhanced. It was unclear exactly how as well, so I questioned our engineers about it. This is a new system, so there are some gray areas.
It was explained, as it is also mentioned in the product brochure, that this AF sensor has a dedicated processor, unlike previous models, to manage more information from a more robust sensor, and manage it faster than before. The autofocus algorithm has been refined as well, and all of this is mentioned in the product brochure.

http://cdn-4.nikon-cdn.com/e/Q5NM96RZZo-YRYNeYvAi9beHK4x3L-8go_p7JUL6JpQM9h_9xTbwyw==/PDF/D500_Brochure.pdf

So, the feature is the same, the function has improved. If you want the camera to track your subject, use 3D or Auto mode. Dynamic Area AF is not tracking, it is dynamic, meaning it will use information from peripheral AF points to maintain focus on the subject- not to "track" it. This is designed to help keep the lens from refocusing, again, BRIEFLY, while in the selected number of AF points. The harder your subject is to keep framed, the wider the area you should select. If your subject leaves the selected area the camera will refocus, as it always did. This camera is just more sensitive to the changes it sees now than before.

AF Lock on is now "Blocked Shot AF response" with 5 settings (durations), and "Subject motion" option for the type of movement, whether start and stop motion, like football or basketball, or steady movement through the frame like auto-racing or speed skating. Both of these options are set to the middle setting, response time is what other cameras were, and the addition of the subject motion pattern recognition is new so I have no test data on how well that functions yet. I would hit up the forums for some real world reviews.

Hope this helps answer your question. Sorry for the long delay in getting there..
Kind regards,

And, my response...

"Thanks for your reply ____.
I would disagree that the Dynamic-area AF feature is the SAME. It acts like it used to BRIEFLY, but then focuses on whatever lies under the chosen focus point. My D300 did not do that. It kept focus on the original subject that fell under the chosen focus point, as long as the subject remained in the area covered (9, 21, or 51). As you know, and stated, the D500 now will only BRIEFLY hold focus (about 1 second when set to '5'), and then focuses on whatever lies under the chosen focus point. This is different, and in a meaningful way.
I understand that Dynamic-area AF does not 'track' a subject. It never did. It would MAINTAIN focus on a subject. Now, with the D500/D5 it only does that for about 1 second AT THE LONGEST.
My suggestion that the firmware be updated to include the option to INDEFINITELY delay the focus shift would solve the issue for the photographers that found Dynamic-area AF so valuable. I'm sure many others would love to see that feature added as well. That would solve an issue that many feel has been a step backward in an otherwise great camera.
What about running that up the flagpole at Nikon to see what the big shots at corporate think?"

Thank you Ken! ... It simply cannot be said in a more clear and concise manner than you have put forward to Nikon.

We certainly appreciate the fact that we now have a dedicated AF processor ... we have known that from day one ... a year and a half ago!  But whatever is "mentioned" in the referenced Brochure is certainly NOT about a change in the workings of the Dynamic AF areas.

You have clearly put the "ball in their court" and they should now do something about it. Even I, an admitted "fanboy" am annoyed by their shady, inconsistent, sidestepping responses.

Regards,

Arnie

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T O Shooter Forum Pro • Posts: 11,302
Re: Another Nikon update re: Dynamic AF

Ken G. wrote:

This, from Nikon...

Again, sorry for the confusion. New product functions are described to us primarily through a marketing brief and then product training, and then over time with more detailed explanations if needed and if available. I use the products myself and test them when questions like yours are asked, and I report issues if needed or solve problems given the situation.
This question was reported from more than one source, and carefully considered, and translated more than once, so again, sorry for the confusion. I am trying to provide you with the most accurate answer that I can.

Yes, it is true the behavior of the D500 AF sensor is different than previous models, and yes, it has been enhanced. It was unclear exactly how as well, so I questioned our engineers about it. This is a new system, so there are some gray areas.
It was explained, as it is also mentioned in the product brochure, that this AF sensor has a dedicated processor, unlike previous models, to manage more information from a more robust sensor, and manage it faster than before. The autofocus algorithm has been refined as well, and all of this is mentioned in the product brochure.

http://cdn-4.nikon-cdn.com/e/Q5NM96RZZo-YRYNeYvAi9beHK4x3L-8go_p7JUL6JpQM9h_9xTbwyw==/PDF/D500_Brochure.pdf

So, the feature is the same, the function has improved. If you want the camera to track your subject, use 3D or Auto mode. Dynamic Area AF is not tracking, it is dynamic, meaning it will use information from peripheral AF points to maintain focus on the subject- not to "track" it. This is designed to help keep the lens from refocusing, again, BRIEFLY, while in the selected number of AF points. The harder your subject is to keep framed, the wider the area you should select. If your subject leaves the selected area the camera will refocus, as it always did. This camera is just more sensitive to the changes it sees now than before.

AF Lock on is now "Blocked Shot AF response" with 5 settings (durations), and "Subject motion" option for the type of movement, whether start and stop motion, like football or basketball, or steady movement through the frame like auto-racing or speed skating. Both of these options are set to the middle setting, response time is what other cameras were, and the addition of the subject motion pattern recognition is new so I have no test data on how well that functions yet. I would hit up the forums for some real world reviews.

Hope this helps answer your question. Sorry for the long delay in getting there..
Kind regards,

And, my response...

"Thanks for your reply ____.
I would disagree that the Dynamic-area AF feature is the SAME. It acts like it used to BRIEFLY, but then focuses on whatever lies under the chosen focus point. My D300 did not do that. It kept focus on the original subject that fell under the chosen focus point, as long as the subject remained in the area covered (9, 21, or 51). As you know, and stated, the D500 now will only BRIEFLY hold focus (about 1 second when set to '5'), and then focuses on whatever lies under the chosen focus point. This is different, and in a meaningful way.
I understand that Dynamic-area AF does not 'track' a subject. It never did. It would MAINTAIN focus on a subject. Now, with the D500/D5 it only does that for about 1 second AT THE LONGEST.
My suggestion that the firmware be updated to include the option to INDEFINITELY delay the focus shift would solve the issue for the photographers that found Dynamic-area AF so valuable. I'm sure many others would love to see that feature added as well. That would solve an issue that many feel has been a step backward in an otherwise great camera.
What about running that up the flagpole at Nikon to see what the big shots at corporate think?"

Well said Ken. You're keeping them on their toes!

You seem to have gotten in their pretty good. Someone is certainly going through some effort on your behalf.  Good work.

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Ken G.
OP Ken G. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,313
Arnie & Tom

Very close to the end of my efforts to keep the discussion moving.  There really is not much left to be said on the issue.  Thanks for your comments.

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aVolanche Veteran Member • Posts: 3,912
Re: Arnie & Tom

Ken G. wrote:

Very close to the end of my efforts to keep the discussion moving. There really is not much left to be said on the issue. Thanks for your comments.

Your efforts are much appreciated! True, that there is not much left to be said.

I am still very frustrated at Nikon's decisions......and responses. Here's hoping that they

come to their senses and get this right!

Fred

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ShutterDude Contributing Member • Posts: 889
Re: Nikon support re: Dynamic AF

Thanks for the post TO

In testing yesterday, I changed the Block Shot AF response to 5 and it did help - it depends on the person and how fast they can align the focus point back to where they want it, so it's all relative to one's ability.  Still, I struggled with a 5 setting.  I can't recall, is there a way to turn off Block Shot AF Response ?

Now that I understand about this issue, I will switch over to 3D tracking - I really hope it works well for BIF - I'll have to see how well it performs.

I'm very disappointed that Dynamic AF doesn't work the way I thought it would.

ShutterDude Contributing Member • Posts: 889
Petition or something.......

Yes, thank you for all the effort and keeping persistent with Nikon.  I'm just thinking how we all can support this - the more voices heard, the better.  Think of it like a petition in it's fundamental nature....if Nikon doesn't hear about our opinions and dissatisfaction on this 'issue', they might just bury it and leave all of us in the rut.  [If anybody has any ideas please suggest].  We can all put in support "ticket" to our local Nikon centre I suppose, but I don't know if that will get anywhere - the generic answer of something like "The D500 has a new focusing system, so the behavior is normal", or something like that.....

I like your idea about the firmware update to allow the end user to decide for themselves what they want in terms of how Dynamic AF should behave.

Ken G. wrote:

Very close to the end of my efforts to keep the discussion moving. There really is not much left to be said on the issue. Thanks for your comments.

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