FX vs DX AF Point Selection

Joined
May 23, 2006
Messages
633
Well now that I am looking at an FX camera, I am hoping to get some feedback on AF point selection from those who own both the D300 and D3.

The D300 seems to make things a little bit easier, so far my experience with the D300 has been fantastic.

For those using the D3, do you find the AF points small or limiting in anyway?

Here are the screenshots from DPR.

D300:

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D3:

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D2X:

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Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
537
Location
MA
From time to time, I get a little ****ed off when I shoot portrait. The eye of the subject would be way off the AF point area and having to focus on the eye and recompose at f/1.4 is a little tricky. I'm still trying to get better at it.
 

fks

Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
2,756
Location
sf bay area
IMHO, the D2-series had the best AF point layout i've used. the points were in good locations for vertical portraits, plus they were cross-sensors. it's a big change going to a D3, and requires some adjustment in your focus technique.

ricky
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
300
Location
HUMBLE, TEXAS-USA
IMHO, the D2-series had the best AF point layout i've used. the points were in good locations for vertical portraits, plus they were cross-sensors. it's a big change going to a D3, and requires some adjustment in your focus technique.

ricky
YAP know what you mean I am there still. Just when I thought the learning curve was leveling off a bit,
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2008
Messages
1,118
Location
England
So what's the best technique for getting the eyes in focus (with the D3 and D300)? Can you select sinlge point focus and choose which focus point is used - and how many points can you choose from?
 
Joined
Oct 22, 2006
Messages
5,701
Location
Tripping the light fantastic
That's why

And that's why you have that little manual focus/auto focus switch on most AF-S (if not all) lenses... It doesn't bother me - actually turned me into a better photographer and I seldom choose a focus area outside of my AF focus points. But yea having a few outside would enable me to compose using AF only but I use the manual focus on AF lenses like, once or twice a year (unless shooting Macro...)
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2005
Messages
3,625
Location
Houston, TX
I agree with Ricky, I much prefer the D2-series AF layout where they're more spread out. It allows for easier off-center subject placement. Even on my D300 I find the more centrally-located AF points annoying. Moving to FX is going to really suck in this regard.

The tighter AF sensor spacing is probably better for fact-action tracking, but IMHO it's worse for other stuff. It forces you to either shoot 'bullseye' compositions, or use focus-and-recompose technique. Focus-and-recompose can lead to misfocused shots when working with really shallow DOF, and it's also extremely annoying when working from a tripod. I've found myself using tripod-mode LiveView more and more, because you can focus anywhere on the screen that you want and the contrast-based AF is also very accurate (albeit slow).
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
4,507
Location
Haverhill, MA
I Agree With Rick and Jeff

Far preferred the D2 layout of sensors but I think when you start utilizing all of this frilly facial / scene recognition and that kind of stuff, the AF pints must be bunched in order to follow / recognize the subject / scene.

I shoot a lot of static wildlife and fine the D300 layout even restrictive at times if I actually compose in camera. These creatures often times don't stay still long enough for MF.

It is what it is however, and you have to adjust to use what's available.

The latest and greatest technology doesn't guarantee that it will improve all facets of our requirements. Some will get better and some will get left by the wayside as things march forward.
 
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