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AF-S vs. AF-C

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by JustinD, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. What are the differences between shooting in AF-S and AF-C? What situations would you choose to shoot in one mode versus the other?

    I've always shot in AF-S mode but at a recent photo shoot, which was very dark, the focus wasn't always locking on in time to get the shot. Would using AF-C have helped do you think?

    In your experience are the amount of out of focus shots significantly higher when using one focus mode over the other?

    Any insight appreciated. Thanks.
  2. AF-C (Continuous) is for moving subjects, like airplanes and birds in flight IMO. At least that's the only time I use it.
  3. That makes sense, Alex. Thanks.
  4. Technique is key! In AF-C the shutter will fire weather you have focus or not. At first I thought AF-C useless due to the high number of out of focus shots. After learning how it works and the limitations of my equipment, my keeper rate went way up! I shoot all of my basketball and track shots with this setting.

  5. With the D200 you can choose whether, in AF-C, it will fire or not if not in focus. It is the same as the setting in AF-S, fire in focus only or whenever the shutter is clicked.

  6. I didn't know that! Cool!

  7. Under autofocus, then AF-C mode priority, then choose focus. Very handy, I think. :smile:

  8. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Geee mine is in AF-C all the time...lolol
    I just never know when I will need a dozen or so shots...lolol
    I wonder if I ever shot af-s..
    Gee maybe I should try some time.
    I sure can't answer your question.

    I could have anything OOF...lolol I am in P&S mode..thats Pray and Shoot
  9. Greg V

    Greg V

    Feb 19, 2007
    SE Michigan
    Another point with AF-C is that if you use a speedlight, AF-C will not allow the focus assist to function. You need to have it on AF-S to get the speedlight focus assist to work.
  10. In AF-S you can lock the focus by holding the shutter button half down, then recompose your shot. This is handy esp. with cameras where the center sensor is better than the others.
  11. gvk


    Jun 17, 2005
    Mystic, CT
    I use AF-C most of the time, using the AF-On button (on a D2X) rather than the shutter release to activate focus. I use manual focus about 10-15% of the time, especially for close-up and macro. The only time I ever switch to AF-S any more is to enable use of the focus illuminator on the SB-800 speedlight when there is too little light to focus reliably. Otherwise, I have never seen a difference in focus behavior at low light levels between AF-S and AF-C.
  12. jcdoss


    Feb 20, 2007
    Kansas City
    I use AF-S most of the time, switching to AF-C only when I know I'm going to have subjects that move a lot. All of my AF'ing is done with the AF-ON button and the camera is set up to prioritize FPS over AF lock. Most of my subjects are static, and AF-S will kind of "fidget" back and forth on these subjects which is something I don't like. Uses power, and I think I end up with slight off-focus shots sometimes because of it.

    I bet you everyone who chimes in will have a slightly different answer. :) 
  13. I use AF-S almost all the time. I also use center focus. This allows me more opportunity to re-compose my shots with one finger as I was used to doing with my 8008. The exception to this is sporting events like my son's Lacross games or my Daughter's soccer games. At that point, I switch to AF-C with group focus set for the center sweet spot on the camera. I can then switch between normal and HSC mode without having to change focus styles. I have the function button on the front of my D2X set to toggle between normal and HSC. So far so good. I get many keepers using both methods in the proper setting.
  14. genehsu


    Apr 15, 2007
    I think it would depend on the camera. I've only used the cameras without the AF-ON button, so I'm much more comfortable with AF-S since I like to use the AE-L/AF-L button for AE-L hold or FV-Lock. With cameras with the AF-ON button, I can see myself switching to AF-C mode using the AF-ON button to focus, the AE-L/AF-L button to meter, and the shutter just to take the picture.
  15. I wish they would re-design that button/switch, as when I shoot AF-S I have a habit of bumping it into AF-C and often not realizing it till it's too late.

  16. Thanks for the replies here. It's nice to gain an understanding about how others use a function I was kind of ignorant about.
  17. Holmes


    Oct 28, 2006
    Wyoming, USA
    I do, too. Hate to tape it down like some take to doing as that makes switching a wee bit troublesome.

    Between my nose and my thumb I can knock a D200 into 'unknown' mode :redface:
  18. vettenut


    Feb 27, 2006
    Tolland CT
    I'm in AF-S unless taking moving objects in which case I am using AF-C but also change my AF-Area Mode from Single Area Autofocus to Dynamic Area Autofocus (Refer to Pg.54 of your D200 Manual). - Jeff
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