Focus Tracking

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by perkeleellinen, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Some clever cameras focus track moving objects. Which Nikons are capable of this?

    My 14 month old boy won't stay still and I'm getting lots of soft photos. I'm resorting to focusing on a spot and waiting for him to move into it, not perfect but alright if stopped down. Maybe tracking wil help.

    Thanks!
     
  2. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    Focus tracking is in almost all autofocus 35mm SLRs, except low-end models. Be aware that it does not work well for erratic subjects like kids playing. It works best for tracking things like running athletes and race cars.
     
  3. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Perhaps faster film/flash, stop down a bit and rely on extended depth of field. Perhaps even better would be a wide angle lens like a 25mm or something, at f/8 you only need to be be very rough with focusing.
     
  4. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    The issue I suppose is that it's winter here and we're mostly indoors. I tend to be shooting at 1/125, f2.8 with Neopan 1600.

    The two scenarios I'm struggling with: close portraits with shallow depth of field and action shots of our boy walking (toddling) toward the camera. I got those annoying shots with soft eyes and perfectly focused shoulders or sharp carpet pile just in front.
     
  5. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    To get my active one, I try to get pics when he's occupied enough that he's not moving much. If he's moving, I don't think any tracking system can catch him because it's rarely a straight line. I also try for f/8 if possible, even if it means using the flash. As long as there isn't something right behind him, the flash doesn't look as bad as a blurred shot.
     
  6. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Nikon F100 does and it does so even when I don't want it to!
     
  7. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    I'm a give fan of zone focusing, I use it for the hasselblad when i'm shooting action.
     
  8. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    I found that AF was more of a hindrance than a help when photographing my son. I just used 'follow-focus' and took plenty (and I mean plenty) of shots. Keep your eye in the viewfinder and on the subject at all times and manually adjust focus as the subject moves. You'll be surprised how quickly you get good at it. You don't necessarily have to use the focus points either; if your subject is compositionally off-centre, don't bother using the focus points and then recompose - that just wastes time. Use the whole area of the screen to focus wherever your subject is within it. Good luck and regards, B.
     
  9. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Yes to perfect the autofocus' ability to capture the unpredictability of uninhibited human movement Nikon held secret talks with the government in Scotland and got permission to place about 100 engineers with cameras on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow on New Year's eve when the pubs(bars) closed.

    Not until every shot of every Scotsman came back as pin sharp did Nikon release its F100 autofocus system. Not many people know that

    pentaxuser
     
  10. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    Steve,
    These are the Nikons I know have Focus tracking:
    F4, F601, F801S, any of the F90 series, F401X, F5, F6, F100, F80, F75 and the F65 should have as it has the 5 point AF system.
    For the older F4, F601 and F801S, the manual says that focus tracking is engaged at the lower continuous drive CL mode.
     
  11. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Thanks very much Ricardo.

    After reading all the posts I'm not sure if tracking will solve my problem. There's a tendency to hope technology will solve everything isn't there - perhaps I've been able to prevent an outbreak of GAS.
     
  12. elekm

    elekm Member

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    What lens are you using? Zoom or a single focal length?

    I'd probably shoot a wide angle stopped down to f/5.6 and leth the depth of field of the lens take care of any minute focusing errors.

    If you're shooting a 50mm lens at 3 feet, for example, depth of field at f/2.8 is only three inches. A 35mm lens at the same aperture and distance will have six inches depth of field.

    At 2 feet, a 50mm lens will have just one inche depth of field, while a 35mm lens will give 3.3 inches.

    If you stop down to f/4 or f/5.6, you have more room for focusing errors, which will happen when you're trying to follow an active child.

    You'll find that shooting wide open or close to it is best for static objects, people who don't move too quickly or when you can get someone (child or adult) to stop moving for a few moments.
     
  13. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Winter time indoors is hindering my ability to stop down.

    Earlier, I think I got some good shots using the 16mm fisheye. With care, the distortions can be minimised and the depth of field is comfortable even at 2.8

    The only lenses I own are the 16mm, a 24mm and a 50mm.