D7200 Focus question...


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Mar 23, 2014
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Akron Ohio
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so i have it set ot AF-C and single point for the focus system..

i was shooting birds flying in the sky. my focus point was set to center. when trying to get the birds in the frame and holding the shutter half way down some times when the bird was over to the far left and not in the selected focus point the camera would still focus in on the bird which seems strange,

my D5300 would only focus on what the focus point was pointed at. if the bird was not in the selected focus point the camera would not focus on the bird.

is the D7200 focus system just that much better or do you think i have a setting off someplace in the focus menu?
in any sort of D9 -D24 - D51 mode?
I do not think so, i decided to try out the D9 but noticed it was not optimal for shooting birds so i changed to to single point. maybe i should double check that..
^^ other than the above
how far away was the bird? At "infinity" by chance?
focus tracking with lock on- normal
AF activation - on
Focus point illumination - auto
Focus point wrap around - off ( no idea what that is)
number of focus points 51 ( can only choose 51 or 11 )
Store Points by orientation - off ( not sure what that is either )
Focus point wrap around - off ( no idea what that is)
==> this allows you, if you are pushing your focus point to the right, when you get to the edge it will continue over the edge and jump to the far left. So if you are on the far right, hit the pad to go to the right then the focus cursor will be on the far left. The same top to bottom too. I have mine turned on.

number of focus points 51 ( can only choose 51 or 11 ).
==> With 51 focus points then the AFC is using 51 points and the bird if it is moving between the far left to the far right the camera should be able to maintain focus on the moving bird. Thus the reason it was in focus.
number of focus points 51 ( can only choose 51 or 11 ).
==> With 51 focus points then the AFC is using 51 points and the bird if it is moving between the far left to the far right the camera should be able to maintain focus on the moving bird. Thus the reason it was in focus.


when the center point is on the subject it will still choose to focus on the subject right?? would i be better off choosing 51 or 11 for that option. i like that its focused on the bird even though he was on in the focus point but that also makes me wonder if it might choose to focus on something other than what i have in the single focus point i have selected..
If you are using AFC-Single focus point it will focus on the one, single focus point
If you are using AFC - D9, D11, D51 ... it will track the subject within ALL the focus points and focus on that subject.

If you are shooting in a studio use AFS-Single, and focus on the eye
If you are shooting a bird flying then AFC-D51 may be best to track the bird for you, versus using AFS-Single.

I shot sports mostly in AFC-Single. Which will focus on the ONE focus point but continually refocus on that point. But I shoot at f/2.8 and want the one subject, not surrounding subjects. For birds I do AFC-D39 (I don't have d51)

read your book on "AF Area Mode" which should be in the Focus / Autofocus section
the problem i had with the 9 and 51 point, if the bird was on the ground, it did not always focus on the bird. or it focused on the wrong part of the bird and screwed up the depth of field so maybe the birds rear end was in focus but his head was out of focus. like they say always try to get the focus point on the eyes and well using the 9 or 52 points that's not always going to happen.. some times it would focus on some tree branches or a leaf instead of the bird.

being that birds often only stay where they are for a second or two, some times the camera does not even have time to focus on them before they are gone. so for those reasons single point always seems to work out bets for me..

i wish the 51 point thing would work, that would be great but who knows what its going to choose to focus on in some shots.
Learn to swap quickly Just a push of the button and quick click of the dial.
Or just know you have one setup for on the branch, and another for flying.
Wait for the bird to fly
or wait for the bird to land.

or learn to be smoother and more accurate moving the camera in AFC-Single.
On long lenses my outer fingers are as far up the lens as possible for hand-holding stability.

and .. don't try to photography fluttering butterflies with a shallow aperture.
Are the lenses you are using able to be manually focused even if you are in auto focus mode? If so, maybe when the bird is somewhat still, you can manually focus and once it takes flight let the camera and lens auto focus.

This is another one of those times where you may need to seek out some hopefully good videos and dig into your manual again. (I was hoping Mike the Mentor would have a youtube video).
^^ AutoFocus Override.
That really helps. My 80-200/2.8 doesn't do that but my Tamron 150-600 does. I might upgrade from the 80-200 to a 70-200/2.8 that does do AutoFocus override just because sometimes I really need it. There are cases in which I do a focus on another object then a FocusLock (rear button) on approx distance of the original subject. It gets me kinda there. But on a fast moving bird that wouldn't help.
If a grouse is one the ground, or sitting on a Douglas fir limb 20 feet above the ground, western deer hunters have been known to take a pot-shot to provide a bird for the stew pot--even though that is technically, not legal. Active western grouse hunters actually out hunting specifically for grouse prefer a 12 to 20 gauge shotgun with an improved cylinder bore barrel and light field loads of #6 (fairly small) shot, something that has a pattern that covers about 30 inches at 25 yards. See where this might apply to using ONE, single, tiny focus point to hopefully hit, and to stay on track with, an in-flight bird?
I think you'll find out like I have that just because a bird flies onto a tree branch that you won't necessarily get a photo. You have to have super-patience .. and maybe wait for bird # 3 or # 13 before you can actually get a good shot.
my lens does not seem to like when i try to manual focus when the shutter is held half way down. if the shutter is not half way down i can manual focus the lens.

the bird flys into a tree branch and i have a good shot, often that bird sets there for 2 or 3 seconds maybe less or more and quickly hops to a spot where i cant get a good shot any more. some times i get the lens on the bird, the camera focuses and its already hopped away. some times i just barley get the shot but if it use anything but single point there is a good chance it will get the branch instead of the bird and ill have missed that split second where i would have has a good shot.

ill play with it again but using the 9,11,51 points or what ever seems to do more harm that good for me. even on my old camera i used something like that for a while, lots of shots were missed focus because the camera decided to focus on a cloud or something way in the background instead. . when i finally switched to single point i noticed i quit missing focus on 90% of the photos i take. most of the small birds i find are hanging out in trees.

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