D500 autofocus problems

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richard stern Contributing Member • Posts: 643
D500 autofocus problems

I'm having a problem and I don't know if it's me or the camera. I us back-button focus, and most of the time a 300F4-PF-VR lens with a 1.4TC. I want to try 3D tracking for BIF to see if it's any better than group, which doesn't seem to work well. I have menu setting A9 set to limit autofocus settings to single point and 3D tracking only. But when I try and use setting F1 to assign the AF-on button to single point and the joystick to 3D, 3D is not listed as an option, only single point. I can list all the other options by ticking the boxes in A9. So how do I program the joystick to get 3D? (All other settings work fine, and the problem is with all lenses, and they work fine on a D5600, so I'm thinking it's some setting in the camera).).

Thank you,

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Richard (rb_stern),
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 richard stern's gear list:richard stern's gear list
Nikon D500 Panasonic G85 +1 more
Nikon D500 Nikon D5600 Sony a9
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DAVID MANZE Veteran Member • Posts: 6,214
Re: D500 autofocus problems

richard stern wrote:

I'm having a problem and I don't know if it's me or the camera. I us back-button focus, and most of the time a 300F4-PF-VR lens with a 1.4TC. I want to try 3D tracking for BIF to see if it's any better than group, which doesn't seem to work well. I have menu setting A9 set to limit autofocus settings to single point and 3D tracking only. But when I try and use setting F1 to assign the AF-on button to single point and the joystick to 3D, 3D is not listed as an option, only single point. I can list all the other options by ticking the boxes in A9. So how do I program the joystick to get 3D? (All other settings work fine, and the problem is with all lenses, and they work fine on a D5600, so I'm thinking it's some setting in the camera).).

Thank you,

Very good question ..... I wanted to know how too! ........ the joystick center button can only be programmed to "auto area" as a focus mode ....... I have it programmed to "select center focus point" ........ you will have to configure "3D" mode to the PV button.

......... So press and hold the AF A/M switch center button near the lens mount ....... use the front or rear dial (depending on how they're configured... SS or aperture) until "3D" lights up in OVF ....... that gives the 3D mode ....... that should now function using PV .......

...... configure the remaining buttons to taste!

......... now it's a long time since I set up the D500 and I did want 3D at the time, but now I use auto area mode instead ....... essentially you can interchange 3D for auto area mode by doing the above.

now I have "single AF point" on the back button focus button ....... "group" on the FN1 button ......... and "auto area" on the PV button ..... and "recenter AF" point on the center joystick button.

You can choose how you configure the buttons except for 3D which as you say is not a choice in the config menu ...... so it has to chosen with the AF A/M switch button and one of the front/rear dials ....... until "3D" appears in the OVF.

It is confusing I know but a quick play should get you there........ good luck!!

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 DAVID MANZE's gear list:DAVID MANZE's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D Nikon AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D +16 more
Old Greenlander Senior Member • Posts: 4,268
Re: D500 autofocus problems

Richard

try without the TC and see what happens

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Old Greenlander
"I show the world the way I see it"
40 years of photography and still learning
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arniebook Senior Member • Posts: 1,221
Re: D500 autofocus problems

richard stern wrote:

I'm having a problem and I don't know if it's me or the camera. I us back-button focus, and most of the time a 300F4-PF-VR lens with a 1.4TC. I want to try 3D tracking for BIF to see if it's any better than group, which doesn't seem to work well. I have menu setting A9 set to limit autofocus settings to single point and 3D tracking only. But when I try and use setting F1 to assign the AF-on button to single point and the joystick to 3D, 3D is not listed as an option, only single point. I can list all the other options by ticking the boxes in A9. So how do I program the joystick to get 3D? (All other settings work fine, and the problem is with all lenses, and they work fine on a D5600, so I'm thinking it's some setting in the camera).).

Thank you,

If you haven't gotten your answer on how to set 3D as a custom setting for bbf, the first thing you must know is that 3D must be set as the default AF mode (as if you were going to use the shutter button to focus)! So, once you've done that, then set any of the programmable buttons to "AF-ON". That's it. Setting any button to "AF-ON" activates the default AF area mode when pressed.

Another trick I and some others on DPR use is what I call "Group to Single". As you had mentioned, group didn't work well for you. Group will always lock on the nearest subject in the group array. For that reason, it can often select a wingtip and render the head and eye soft. But it is easy to get a lock on a moving target with Group, and that is why we use it. Here is the solution ... Set group as your default AF area mode, and set the shutter button to "focus" so that you can now focus using group with the shutter button. Then set a programmable button of your choosing to single point (we'll use the AF-ON button for this description). Now use the shutter button and Group to obtain focus on a bird in flight and shoot at will ... try to put the head of the bird in the center of the Group. Once Group has a lock anywhere on the bird, you can keep shooting and press the AF-ON button to switch to Single Point on the fly while now trying to keep the single point on the head.

The camera is designed so that the Back Button Focus Button (AF-ON in this case) you've chosen overrides the default setting on the shutter button, even when you are fully pressing the shutter button. You can continuously switch back an forth between group and single (or any other two focus area modes you choose) simply by pressing or releasing the AF-ON button ... all while constantly focusing and shooting.

Of course this takes practice ... lots of it. The more you practice, the luckier you get!

I cannot take credit for this. A guy named Jim described using this technique with exactly the same gear you are using more than three years ago. I'm unable to find him with a search on DPR, but if he reads this he will know it is he I am crediting with this technique.

Arnie

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OP richard stern Contributing Member • Posts: 643
Re: D500 autofocus problems

Thanks Arnie,

I have been trying this since I saw your post, and it does work well. I have got sharp pictures of starlings flying fast against the background of a field, and a swallowtail butterfly flying fast and irregularly,using these settings. I'm surprised that it doesn't seem to be mentioned in Steve Perry's videos on the Nikon autofocus system.

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Richard (rb_stern),
richard-s.smugmug.com

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Nikon D500 Panasonic G85 +1 more
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