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Nikon's flawed dynamic AF modes. D5/D500


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#1 dave's clichés

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 06:43 AM

I don't know if anyone here has noticed a sudden flurry of posts and threads about the dynamic AF modes on the D5/D500 DSLRs?

 

 Since having the D500 I've taken quite a lot of birding shots but very little BIF shooting, although I did give it a spin at the aircraft model club where I got a high keeper rate. 

 Now the hunting season is over and the risk of picking lead pellets out of one's posterior or worse, is over , I've been out and about trying to find some flying birds to shoot, there haven't been many but the few that I have shot haven't been giving me many sharp shots. 

 I've been trying the dynamic 153 point mode which basically covers the width of the frame and after coming home and looking at the shots I found a load of OOF images. I checked my settings and all seemed well

   Then I stumbled across a thread at DPreview linking to Fred Miranda's site where Steve Perry (Of Black country video productions) has put out a call to D5/D500 owners asking to check their AF dynamic modes.

 The bottom line is, on previous models (D750/ 810) the dynamic modes would focus on the subject from the single AF square   and follow it within the  9/25/51 point dotted area...It worked fine!

 The D5/D500 now has the choice of 25/72/153 points, the new flawed implementation version locks on to the single square within the area only, the rest of the dotted outlined area does nothing and while  keeping the subject within that area it jumps focuses to the background.  What it's giving you is "single point" while duping you into thinking it will track the subject within the area chosen.

  The test is easy, you put a box (or whatever) on a table and put the camera into one of the dynamic modes using AF-C, the 153 point mode using is easiest, you focus using the center square on the box and then point the camera away from the box, as soon as the AF square moves off the box, the camera focuses on the background, just like it would in single point mode. 

  Strangely nobody apart from one or two users had noticed this flaw and after Steve's thread all of a sudden hundreds head scratching uses have posted that they have indeed got the same result.

  

 

 Basically it means the three dynamic focusing modes are absolutely useless, except against a blanc background.....that leaves only, single point, group, 3D and auto (which actually works like dynamic 153 point should have done as long as the subject is the closest to the camera)  

 At least it explains some of my problems!

   

  ..What were Nikon thinking?

 

  Now we need a  FW update to rectify the issue!

 

Here's the link to the thread at Fred Miranda's site for those interested or D5/D500 owners.

 

http://www.fredmiran...m/topic/1478115



#2 JoJu

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 08:58 AM

"What were Nikon thinking?"

 

What was Dave thinking? The magic just happens?  :D To me, it already is incredible to get some in foucs shots when doing AF-C. Matter of fact, it is my standard focusing mode - not AF-S. On the D810, that is. On a Fuji X-T2: so much hunting that you'd be calling for a dogs pack to hunt the bloody focus down.

 

Back to Nikon: There are a couple of parameters to tweak AF-C. Out of interest: Did you assign the AF-L button to get the focus? I use the release button only to relase the shutter. So I feel more free to switch between highly dynamic AF-C to AF-M just by put my thumb away from AF-L button.

 

Saying, there are a couple of parameters, I would never ever expect a camera to follow a subject through the range of 153 phase detectors. I use Single Point AF-C, or 9 or sometimes 21, never  the 51 I could use. So I first would need to look into the question, if my D810 is better on 51 points than your highly sophisiticated DSLR is at 153. I guess, the answer would be "no".

 

Why don't you use AF-C with 3D? And set the a3 parameter to something between 3 and 5. I don't know, how the a3, a4 and a5 parameters work on a D500, but sometimes it might be good to read the manual. And complain later...

 

Edit: From page 101 on there's a lot of information to AF in general and the parameters as well, see manual download



#3 stoppingdown

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 10:00 AM

the risk of picking lead pellets out of one's posterior or worse, is over 

 

Man, I know what you mean!

 

Did you assign the AF-L button to get the focus? I use the release button only to relase the shutter

 

 

 

It's the first thing I do when setting any camera. But for static subjects only. For BIF I find that absolutely impractical, because you can't control how the wing will be frozen. I mean, with BIF I see I have to shot bursts and then pick the good ones. This means I have to continuously AF, and keeping a finger constantly pressed on the AF-L is impractical.


stoppingdown.net

 

Sony a6300, Sony a6000, Sony NEX-6, Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS, Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS, Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS, Sigma 150-600mm ƒ/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary, Samyang 12mm ƒ/2, Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN | A, Meyer Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm ƒ/2.8, Samyang 8mm ƒ/3.5 fish-eye II | Zenit Helios 44-2 58mm ƒ/2 
Plus some legacy Nikkor lenses.

#4 JoJu

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 10:17 AM

Hmmm, I find impractical when the camera always would try to AF-C when I push the shutter release. I also do bursts (on the rare occassions I find a very patient bird flying in slowmo, like swans). In bursts, how do you control the freeze of a wing?  :D



#5 dave's clichés

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 10:19 AM

 Hi  JoJu!

 

     Yes I use back button focus, and pretty much uniquely, AF-C release only too  I'm familiar with the focus lock A3 menu as I also have the D750, as it happens I don't use any delay, it's dynamic range AF works perfectly and I use it often especially as the AF coverage is much more limited, you need all the coverage you can get for BIF. 

        With the D500 the A3 menu has been extended and as well as the focus lock delay (5 settings) it also has a extra setting for "erratic- even" in three positions, depending on the style of bird you're tracking.

  As I said this change of dynamic or crippling of the old system has now become known and gone viral, once Steve Perry brought it to light the response was unanimous from users, one by one confirming that in fact it has change from the D750/D810 and no longer functions as before. I just followed along the crowd and confirmed it for myself.

  Nikon in fact brought out a FW update for the D5 to give it 9 point dynamic AF and the expectations were for another to be released for the D500.....it never came, at least up till now.

  It's not the end of the world though, that does leave Group focus (although a little small in coverage) and 3D which I have tried but the jury is still out as to whether it reacts fast enough and auto AF, which covers all the  frame.

 Steve Perry, who reviewed the camera and is very knowledgeable, waited a month  going through all the possible menu settings before publishing his findings. The few who had noticed, posted and were attacked as troublemakers are now resurfacing with plenty of "I told you so's".

 

  So there's no doubt that's how it is!....but now I know I can adapt my shooting around it, as I said the little BIF I have done was not encouraging, but things were better yesterday as I was shooting in mainly group mode. I think I might drop down to 7/8 FPS as 10 FPS is sometimes over the top.

 

   We are on a learning curve here! 

 

 

https://www.flickr.c.../124690178@N08/



#6 JoJu

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 10:47 AM

Yes, we are on a learning curve.

 

You don't use any "delay" - actually, its' a time window for how long the AF-point needs to react for a change of focus. Having no "delay" I expect the AF jumps over to each more shiny object. I confess, I don't try a lot more with my AF-C settings, I found some working for me and keep them on a bench setting. I could also say, they changed something by (re)introducing which is the Group AF and again, I have to confess I don't really understood the working strategy behind that.

 

And now, they didn't destroy the old system. They just followed (I guess) a lot of user requests and added more functions - like it happened form D800 to D810. Waht they didn't do was trying to simplify the use. Like typical windows users: lots of switches to set-up is a good thing to configure everything. More is always better, no?

 

Remindes me when I switched to Mac and was searching all these switches, no success, but working with the Mac was for this reason always faster - some people took the responsibility to actually think "waht does he want to do and how can he do it the fastest way". The fastest way to listen to music is tun on a radio, not switching on and adjusting a 48 chanel mixing console with a 64 band stereo equalizer and compressor. But this way of complicating things goes on with each iteration of a camera type.

 

I was faster with switching from one usual situation to another by just truning the dial from U1 to U2 on a D7000 than I am these days when I have to dig down in menus of a D810 - but that is even faster than adjusting a free of all benches, custom mode options of an X-T2. 

 

And although it's fast when set up properly - the "set up properly" is time consuming. My reason not to call it a professional camera.



#7 dave's clichés

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 11:13 AM

  I read the manual basically it says,

 

Dynamic AF, The camera will focus based on information from surrounding focus points if the subject briefly leaves the selected focus point. The number of focus points depends on the mode selected.

 

 It then goes on to say:  Dynamic 153 points.Choose when subjects are moving quickly and are difficult to frame in the viewfinder eg Birds!

 

                                    Briefly in this case means, the time that you chose in the focus lock A3 menu, (0-5)..            0= approx 0.3 sec.....  5= 0.6 sec.

 

 If you select "even" from the "erratic- even"  menu ....that will give you about a 1 second delay.    Which means, if you cannot hold the AF point on the bird for one second the AF will focus on the background, and if you get the AF point back on the bird it will take 1 second to reacquire focus!

 

   Your bird has flown away, no frozen wings here!

 

  In my book that pretty much renders the dynamic mode useless for anything smaller than a large family car.

 

  My guess is that Nikon bring bring out a FW that changes the tittle from:

 

        "Dynamic AF mode"  to  "Dynamic TGV train AF mode"  :P



#8 JoJu

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 11:29 AM

II Blocked Shot AF Response
 
Choose how quickly focus responds when something passes
between the subject and the camera. Choose from values
between 5 (Delayed) and 1 (Quick). The higher the value, the
slower the response and the less likely you are to lose focus on
your original subject The lower the value, the quicker the
response and the easier it is to shift focus to objects crossing
your field of view. Note that 2 and 1 (Quick) are equivalent to 3
when 3D-tracking or auto-area AF is selected for AF-area mode.
 
II Subject Motion
 
Select Steady for smooth focus when photographing subjects
that approach the camera at a steady pace, or Erratic for
improved response when photographing subjects prone to
sudden starts and stops.


To me, birds in flight do not fly in sudden starts and stops, once they are airborne.

#9 dave's clichés

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 11:37 AM

Perhaps you're just way better at panning BIF than I am, but this latest Nikon implementation does not seem to be appreciated for it's ease of use! 

 

  Do you know who Steve Perry is?

 

http://www.fredmiran...m/topic/1478115



#10 JoJu

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 11:57 AM

Not in person, but I expect he now became someone who discovered the gap between manual and reality (of bugs...)

 

I don't think anymore we can solve this just by reading the f...g manual. The manual appears to be better than the current implementation of AF-C. No doubt for me, a serious and highly disappointing bug. Happens everywhere, but Nikon must not be disturbed in hibernating... They already party their 100th anniversary.



#11 dave's clichés

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 05:50 PM

 So there you have it, Nikon went from a very useful dynamic mode on the D750/D810 which I use successfully to a crippled version which doesn't have real use.

 

 Anything written in the user manual is vague at best and could well be just erroneous at worst.

   

   What surprised me though is it passed by many reviewers Steve Perry, Thom Hogan, Jared Polin, Kai from Digi rev and Tony Northrup amongst many others.....

 

     ...and not a word!



#12 JoJu

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 06:34 PM

User manuals... I write them for a living and I know how difficult it is to get the truth out of the developers, designers and engineers - not to speak about what reality makes out of their truth. Plus added my mistakes, misunderstandings and simply being delayed after development.

 

I could not imagine one of these guys having the time to check up 700 menu functions and settings. But what I really compalin about is the obviously very low standard of Nikons's testpilots. These guys really need to test every single function - but here as well: They are testing prototypes. I would not be surprised, if the PTs have a firmware like D810, D4/5 or the like an dNikon finalizes their product shortly before it finds it's way in cardboard boxes.

 

Mind you, how often and how many users were urging to get a D400... alright, after sch a long period of development these kind of bugs malfunctions should be dead.


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#13 dave's clichés

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 08:49 AM

   Just a quick one JoJu!!

 

  I have been following the "D5/D500 dynamic AF mode scenario" at DPreview and Fred Miranda's forum sites.  I posted my thoughts and exchanged ideas with Steve Perry, in the main we are agreed.

 

 I brought to light that in spite of the obvious differences between the operation of the D750 perfectly working AF dynamic mode and the crippled version on the D5/D500......

 

The description "in the manuals" of the 3 dynamic AF modes of the two cameras is..

 

           .....word for word the same.. exactly..word for word!

 

       The three AF dynamic modes D5/D500 does not do what it says "on the can"!

 

 

 

    Nikon states that in order to get the best out of the camera it is necessary to read the user manual....

 

         ironically,    they haven't read it themselves!!!   

 

       Is that black poetry or what?



#14 JoJu

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 10:26 AM

No.

 

In my everyday routine, this is normality. In our office we're two guys writing manuals for machinery. Only 4 different series with different modifications, options and also hardware differences, leading to different behaviour and maintenance. The manuals we publish are full of descriptions and procedural instructions which are plain wrong today and were plain right only months ago. If you know a recipe how to change them in real time, with all the influences it has to the rest of our drawings, texts and software procedures, we can pay you as external counsellor - but it has to be real good advice  ;)

 

We publish for each machine 600 pages manual for hardware, 400 for software (only the interface), another 600+ for programming, plus spareparts lists, plus electrical documentation for the system, plus installing descriptions, plus transportation advice. Only the first two documents are changing a lot, because of hardware changes and customer requests for new functions we have to listen to. 

 

I'm sure, Nikon has the same disclaimer as we have: "Changes related to technical progress can happen at any time without notification" and progress in terms of software behaviour I've seen so much in the last 5 years that it will become a never ending story. And this is the situation in genuine language German - not to mention 8 other languages we also provide and take care for translations. 

 

I perfectly understand your point of view, as the law is on your side - saying that (at least in Europe and here in the countries where the expression "state of contemporary technology" is a well known phrase) you can ask for rebate or refuse an item if you have no appropriate manual or a manual with lots of flaws. But since you bought on grey market, it could be a bit more difficult - and the AF-C section is how many % of the 500 pages? Nikon is not listening, not even offering an official mail-address to put such complaints in place (currently they would be drowned by mails...) I'm afraid you have to live with that flaw and try to make your own manual.

 

Can be interesting. I did that a couple of times for myself with VueScan software, Solmeta Geotagger (horrible manual) and others. At least, the Solmeta manual was good enough that the importer gave me a power bench for free  :D And that's about the ordinary payment state. As technical writer you write things nobody cares about usually, only if problems occur - and here's where the good and bad manuals come to light. You're usually too late. Last changes of the product are made before the first user hits the "PowerOn" switch. 

 

I once read, the offices for technical documentation are independent from the manufacturer in Japan. Hard to believe. But possible. And the usual "lost in translation" stuff, like Fuji talking about "frames" in English, meaning "exposed pictures" and translating into German says "cadre" (frame of a painting or a window, door).

 

Yesterday I got a brandnew book of Rico Pfirstinger, German guy writing about Fuji X-T2, 120 professional tipps. It finally came out as book in German, an English ePub it was already available for longer time, sic. For tomorrow, Fuji's Kaizen firmware improvement will make some insightful observations about AF, especially AF-C, outdated. It's the first wave of 23 new functions (4 of the 33 announced are for X-Pro2 and already in X-T2), 6 more will come in May, which also affect the book.

 

Of course, I get used to it - but also very tired about that "progress".

 

I will machine the Arca socket of my Tamron 150-600 to make it fit better in my quick-release clamps - the difficult and picky FHM types. A project with clear start and end. Sometimes I need that. Because documentation is never ever finished - except the machine I describe runs out of production. Sorry for the lengthy post - my colleagues over in japan will have the same troubles.



#15 dave's clichés

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 11:35 AM

  I understand that it a tough call for a user manual to appear in the same box as the camera itself on the prescribed date of release, it must be a logistic nightmare all of it's own, the fact that that all happens, the design of the product, manufacturing processes, ordering and supply of the large amount of components, firmware etc. is in reality bordering on being a miracle!

 

I suppose it goes some way to offset these minor AF irritations that Nikon have "kindly" introduced to D500 ;)

 

 I asked before, how are your feelings about the Tammy G2? I'm bowled over with the increased sharpness at the long end at all distances, it's just so much better in all departments. AF is faster and seems very accurate.

   It still suffers from jerky VC at the long end though which is a pain when it's windy, it's this type of slow movement of the camera which aggravates it's stability, if your not being pushed around the image in the VF stays pretty still.

 

 I did some comparison tests with the Nikor bazooka the other day, at F7.1-F8 at pixel level, the sharpness is pretty much the same and the Tammy's contrast is actually better!  It's one and a half school marks better than the G1!

 

 I can't wait for Markus to test it!! :P  :D  



#16 JoJu

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 10:21 PM

...
 
 I asked before, how are your feelings about the Tammy G2? ....

 
Although I wished I could spend more time with it - during the (working) week sunshine and weekend superdull sky and a couple of other things to do - in one word: Excellent! Haven't looked back to Sigma Sports which is a lot to carry. This evening I did the starting and ending project, now the "Arca" foot fits into Arca and FHM quick releases. I'm impressed and thought this deserves a Balblair '04, cheerio!
 
Here we go, forgive me to hijack your thread:
 
i-jcgqDSG-XL.jpg
 
i-ZLp3kTh-L.jpg
 
i-pTbhr29-L.jpg

It surprise me how much I had to mill away. The Tamron foot looks very nice, but it is not precise. I had to cut 0.5 mm, divided to both sides. That's a bit much.



#17 dave's clichés

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 01:27 AM

No hijack JoJu,

    I had been wondering why I had heard little of your G2 (A022). Yeah, I've noticed that these arca feet seem to vary in size, I've one that doesn't fit another, I assumed it was because I bought Chinese. Neat bit of work!

 

 Just adding one thing, I thought that the D500 was better suited to the G2's VC, but no panning with VC in mode 1 it ruins sharpness.   The seasons just starting now and I'm out tomorrow, no VC for me when panning.

  I shot a run of egret shots today in group AF mode, I'll stick to that for BIF and single point for perched birds.

 

  You are just going to love the G2!  It's the bee's knees!  (business)



#18 JoJu

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 07:03 AM

You know, the D810 is not exactly an action camera. Then, here where I live we had literally months of fog. Whereever birds are trying to nest these days, they do it these days under the eyes of a dozen photographers with more knowledge about birds than I have. It sounds like a lame excuse, I just don't feel inspired enough to go out and use the lens more - but when I do, I'm very pleased about handling and results  ^_^

 

On the other hand: I need my backpack for this combo of Tamron and Nikon. With the Fuji and the 100-400, I can use a holster bag and still have space for one of the f/2 lenses with the converter for 100-400 mounted opposite in the other part of the two lens caps glued together. However, focusing a little animal sitting between twigs and very mobile is nothing for the Fuji. Focus by wire is very cumbersome in this situation. So, I save weight. And diskspace, just because I can't get the picture. Or I get it, but the background is sandpaper because I need to crop.

 

D500 is tempting me from time to time, but new camera? As long as I stick to my dogma "get a good DAM which can replace Aperture and is not made by Adobe", this would be just a source of more frustration as Aperture, dead as it is, no longer gets support for new RAW types. Not for them stupid birds.... :lol:



#19 ilkka_nissila

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 03:42 PM

 So there you have it, Nikon went from a very useful dynamic mode on the D750/D810 which I use successfully to a crippled version which doesn't have real use.

 

 Anything written in the user manual is vague at best and could well be just erroneous at worst.

 

I've been studying this a bit in the past month or two. I am normally a single point AF shooter and never got accustomed to dynamic area AF in the past. When I compared the D7100's 9-pt dynamic with the D810's dynamic and group area AF, using 200/2 in shooting figure skating, I got the best focus keeper rate by far with the D810's group area AF. The 9-point dynamic would often focus on the background when the skater was far away and I wasn't able to keep the main point on the face steadily enough. At the time I had no clear idea of what the intended distinction between the modes was, but I became a fan of group area AF mode in situations where the subject's face was too small and moving in a fast and nonlinear trajectory to keep focus using a single point. However, one drawback of group area AF mode is that the entire group has to be within the AF sensor array whereas dynamic areas can be "clipped" by positioning the main point far off center to the edge of the array. This means in practice when shooting vertical subjects (such as people) with the camera in horizontal orientation, the main point can be placed on the face nearer the top of the frame without having to crop off as much of the image frame in post processing as with dynamic area AF. However, when I tried dynamic area AF in the D5, it let to further surprises in the form of shots being focused on background (I had the same experience with the D7100's 9-pt dynamic but to a lesser degree). I looked up the topic online and found several discussions on the topic.

 

Initially it seemed that there was little difference between the D5's dynamic area modes and using a single point, which can be easily verified using some static subjects. However, when I tried to simulate a dynamic situation by walking towards a static subject with continuous focus on, there seemed to be a difference with dynamic area mode the camera would hold on the focus to the subject while the main point jittered around it in an erratic fashion and single point did not. I do think there is a difference between the modes but it should not be tested with static subjects, and the time scale of the fluctuation between the relative position of the main point and the subject is quite short, i.e. it basically corrects for rather rapid fluctuations and if you point the main point towards a different subject and stay there it almost immediately refocuses on that new subject. I then tried to use the D5's dynamic area AF for synchronized skaters and the D810's dynamic area AF for some walking pedestrians. The new system allows dynamic area focusing on a subject which is in a crowd or group of people, but requires great precision from the user. It does provide some assistance to the photographer not being able to hold the selected point on the subject but this happens on a rather fast time scale. In the D810, I could not easily force the system to move from a closer to a more distant subject in the crowd; the system would take a while to think and basically be very reluctant to go for the more distant subject. This is a scenario where the new system is better. But it doesn't provide the same level of assistance, it can be only used successfully if the user is acutely aware that the main point must be held onto the subject for the duration of the tracking, and when reviewing shots one can see that it does in fact hold onto the main subject even for brief periods where the main point is not on the subject but on the background, provided that there is not a lot of contrasty detail in the background. If there is contrasty detail in the background, that background quickly becomes the subject, then, in the new system but less so with the old. Still, compared to group area AF, in the D810, the "old" dynamic was still more eager to focus on the background than group area AF which seems to solidly find the closest subject within the group and does a very good job at it.

 

So it would seem that the dynamic area AF in Multi-CAM 3500 family cameras has some tendency for closest subject focus (or that it doesn't quickly switch to focus on background if there is clear foreground detail) but not as much as the group area AF, whereas the Multi-CAM 20k family cameras give no priority to closest subjects in dynamic area AF but they do in group area AF, which seems to be similar across the newer and the older AF module (originally there was no group area AF in the first Multi-CAM 3500 module cameras, but this was added to some models in 2014).

 

I believe that what Nikon did was intentional and the NPS tips for D5 AF (there is similar documentation for the D500) explain some use scenarios for the different modes in sports photography:

 

http://nps.nikonimag...gs/description/

 

For single figure skaters, there is a box which explains a recommended usage of reprogramming the lens button to activate group area AF: "You can then press a focus function button to select group-area AF when framing shots of distant subjects with the camera in wide orientation, and release the button to switch to 25- or 72-point dynamic-area AF when framing shots of nearby subjects in tall orientation." So there is the idea that a distant subject is easier to focus on using group area AF and nearby, one should switch to 25- or 72-point dynamic area. I find this to be sound advice although I have a tendency to just stick to group area AF most of the time anyway. The dynamic area AF would permit a more off-centered subject which can be useful when the subject is filling the frame, whereas the group area AF works great for faraway subjects which do not fill the frame and the whole subject is within the depth of field; its tendency for closest-subject-priority helps avoid a situation where the dynamic area AF would focus on the background. This kind of usage would also give greater control of the focus for a near subject.

 

For speed scating where there is a group of skaters close to each other, Nikon's AF tips page explains "Group-area AF is a good choice when your subject is in the lead, but 9-point dynamic-area AF may be the better option when your subject is back in the pack, as the camera may otherwise tend to focus on the leader." So the dynamic area AF allows focusing on a middle of the pack subject where group area AF would not. In the old dynamic area AF behavior I think there would be a greater tendency to stay on the closest subject than in the new implementation, based on my testing. So Nikon have tweaked the system to allow for greater control, but the cost is that the user may need to be more acutely aware of how the system is working and have greater skill in holding the main selected point squarely on the intended subject during the tracking.

 

I do not believe there is any error in the implementation of at least 25-point dynamic, it seems to behave as described. I have not used 9-, 72, or 153-point dynamic much yet, as the 25-point seems to be a good area for my needs, along with the group area AF which often is my preference.

 

I think what Nikon could do perhaps is offer greater degrees of customisation of the dynamic area AF modes and provide some control over closest-subject-priority within the dynamic area AF framework. Also, they could allow a setting which would be like 3D tracking or Auto Area AF but within a restricted area. With such additional options I think a configuration which would work for everyone could be found.

 

For me the key is that now I understand (sort of) the way dynamic area AF works and what kind of a situation it is intended for, and I believe I can better make use of it correctly. I just think of "skater in the middle of a pack" and it brings up "use dynamic area AF". "Faraway subject" => "Group Area AF". Slow or highly predictable / linear movement => use single point AF for greatest control.  Unpredictable, fast, complex action with desired result of faces preferably in focus without having time to move focus point manually  => Auto-area AF.

 

So far 3D tracking hasn't impressed me but I know some users really like it. Currently I've restricted my AF area mode selector to rotate between single point, group area, 25-point dynamic, and auto area AF as those have worked best for me so far, and having a limited selection gives me faster access to a particular mode, though I don't tend to switch between modes often.



#20 dave's clichés

dave's clichés

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 12:24 PM

Hi ikka,

             Wow there's a lot there to take in there, it looks like you have made a good study of the modes and their effects, certainly more than I have so far achieved!  I will have to refer to it in smaller bite sized chunks.

 

 So...(BTW I shoot the D500)

 

 ..to get to changes made in dynamic mode between pre and D5/D500 cameras; as far as Steve Perry and the forum users  (me included) on Fred Miranda's site; it seems that the three dynamic modes only use their focus "area" for the duration of the focus hold setting in c3 menu, that is from about 1/3-1 second (depending on the setting chosen) after that only the center point chooses focus and whatever is under it will be in focus, it ignores the rest of the are.

   Whereas the D750 for example uses the whole area "all the time" switching points to remain on the subject. For birding this renders the new three dynamic modes pretty much useless, as you have to keep the center point on the bird,and only have one second before it reverts to whatever is under the center point of th group. You have also had a Nikon FW update that gave you 9 point dynamic area on the D5, which the D500 did not get.

  Your experiences add much additional information to the "way" they work which as a birder I haven't been able to notice, it seems that larger subjects are best suited to have much hope to achieve tracking! 

  The general feeling on the forums though is, that these new dynamic modes have been poorly received, often to the point of being tried once or twice, missing focus, and then abandoned mostly for group mode, without the user understanding what went wrong...this has been one of the reasons why the changes went for so long unnoticed.

 Anyway I'm still on an AF learning curve and have configured the D500 in the following way from the menu.

 On the AF/M switch button I chose 3D.(as the primary setting)

 BBF gives me single point and activates AF

 PV button gives me 3D and activates AF

 FN1 button gives me group mode and activates AF

 The AF joystick center button gives me Auto area mode and activates AF.

  So there are four instant AF modes available.......but I haven't used dynamic modes.

  This gives you the opportunity to change focus points instantly at the press of a button "on the fly" without removing your eye from the VF and offers you "a spectator view in real time" not only the view of the subject, but of the effects of the changes of AF, and how well the used mode has coped with the situation. Add to that, that the position of the single focus or group mode continues from one button press to another without starting from scratch, the downside though is when lost you have reset the AF point from either the center button or from the AF joystick.

 

That is huge! and brilliantly conceived from Nikon.

 

 

 Auto area mode: I use that as the alternative to dynamic modes, it works on focusing on the nearest subject in the frame, which, with an erratic BIF,  means it finds the bird and locks on it, so once on it, you can go the group mode and continue to track it....etc.

 3D mode can be used in a similar fashion.

 

 But it's all horses for courses, and much won't apply itself to what you are shooting, there is so much to take in from your post I will have to read it several times to get the flow.

 

  To sum up, many are annoyed with the new changes, many never used dynamic AF, most use group for following action and others swear by 3D, I'm still on the fence with the latter, sometimes it works nicely others it just can't follow or even won't recognize you initial subject and see something next to what you want.

 

  I think the majority want to see a FW update to restore dynamic AF modes back to how they were on the D4/D750/D810, but as Nikon are not well known for uturns, I doubt we will see anything over and above stating that the system has been changed in the D5/D500,  others may well like these changes...there not for me...but there's so much there you can get round things by using  another mode! 

 

Your thoughts?






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