D780 settings for AF problem with black dog faces

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
Kelley Hoffman Senior Member • Posts: 1,299
D780 settings for AF problem with black dog faces

I started out in 2007 with a Nikon D200, got setting recommendations from DP Review. In 2012 bought a D7000, set it up same way -- center weighted metering usually, always with one focal point. I could manually put the focal point where I wanted it. I shoot a lot of dog portraits and dog sports shots. My dogs/puppies have a black mask meaning their faces are black. For portraits I focus on their eyes. Have always used a 70-200 f2.8 VR, first generation until recently. I bought a new one with my new D780. Gave my D7000 to my daughter. Problem with the D780 is indoors and even outside in shade, it refuses to focus on my dogs faces if I zoom in, even though more than just their black face are in the frame. Just blinks in viewfinder and is like, "nope can't focus on this" and can't release shutter. If I move left or right so dog face is out of the frame no issue it focuses and I can release the shutter. Shutter speed is acceptable. I shoot in aperture mode at 2.8. I assume the black face is the problem, but maybe it is something else. I never had this problem before. I need to get portraits of puppies indoors. How can I do the same settings on D780 as what I used before OR get past this problem? I have googled, read manual, can't figure out how to solve the problem. For $5000 there must be way, right? Lol


Nikon D200 Nikon D700 Nikon D7000
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tony field Forum Pro • Posts: 12,172
Re: D780 settings for AF problem with black dog faces

Possibly try setting the camera to release priority rather than focus priority

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FingerPainter Forum Pro • Posts: 10,510
Re: D780 settings for AF problem with black dog faces

AF systems tend to need a line of contrast between something light and something dark in order to be able to focus. Dark eyes in a dark face may not provide a sufficiently contrasty target to focus one. Try to place the AF point over the most contrasty part of the face.

Are you using your D780 in live view or are you shooting through the viewfinder? If the former, it will be using contrast-detect AF, which may be more prone to this problem than the phase-detect AF used in viewfinder shooting on a dSLR.

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