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Thread: AF Zone question on D810

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2010
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    AF Zone question on D810

    I just purchased this camera about 4 weeks ago. GREAT camera. I am somewhat confused on how to set up the AF
    I shoot mainly portraits, some family groups and I have always used the single focal point in the center. Juts 1 focus point. What focus zone would I use to ensure AF to be sharp and on the money. I always fous the single center point on the persons eyes. Do I need the focus zone and if so which one. Thank you

  2. #2
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Los Altos, CA
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    Re: AF Zone question on D810

    I do what you do for almost all my imaging except action -- meaning center point, focus on eyeball, re-compose, shoot. For this, which is my most common and normal shooting mode nowadays, I also change my focus point to the top 2nd or 3rd spot down for the camera in portrait orientation (Custom A10). For casual action subjects, I use 3d tracking with good results. However I know many who do action sports seem to prefer the dynamic 51 or 21-point option. If I still shot flying birds or wildlife in mixed foliage, I would assume 9-point dynamic would be the winner as the dynamic point selections tend to be less confused by objects outside the initial focus plane, where 3D can be. Hopefully others that do sports action and wildlife more than I do will chime in with their experiences.

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  3. #3
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    Jun 2012
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    Re: AF Zone question on D810

    I have the D810 and 70-200mm f2.8 and 200-400mm f4 lens. I am doing an eagle fieldtrip on the James River in Virginia. I wanted to know what birders use for AF and ISO to photograph eagles fishing on a river. Last time I used central focus and the rear button for focus. That didn't work!! Also, I have the power grip to help with FPS and could set camera to DX to get more FPS. Really would like to hear what people use.


  4. #4
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    Sep 2014
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    Re: AF Zone question on D810

    For portraits, groups and generally any non-moving subject -- what Jack said. Re-composition may be done by pressing the shutter release button halfway to acquire focus and holding it while you re-compose or acquiring focus with the AF-ON button, releasing and re-composing, then pressing the shutter release button to take the picture (i.e., focusing is removed from the shutter release button).

    For fast-moving sports/wildlife, especially birds in flight, you need: 1) Fast AF module, 2) High frame rate per second, 3) Many autofocus points (the more cross-types the better) and 4) Reach. The D810 won't exactly rate the highest in any of those categories. For BIF, a lot of people (myself included) have bought the D500. Shooting BIF with the D500 compared with my D800e has increased my keepers exponentially.

    That's not to say you can't use the D810 for birding. My typical settings with my D800e: AF-C with Dynamic-Area AF using 51 AF points. With my D500, it's AF-C with with either 1) Dynamic-Area AF using 153 AF points or 2) Group Area AF.

    I shoot Shutter Speed priority and use Auto ISO. And I do personally prefer to focus with the AF-ON button and use the shutter release button only to capture the image (whether the subjects are still or moving fast) -- just a personal preference.

    With the D800e and 200-500mm:

    With the D500 and 200-500mm:
    Last edited by kxl; 7th June 2016 at 17:27.
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