D300 autofocus

As the Nikon D300 has been in the hand of users for a short time the first reports show up about the new autofocus features of the cam. To sum it up: the features are useful but expect no miracles (isn’t it like that all the time?). Some interesting comments:

Coming from a D2Xs, it appears that the D300 focuses faster and more precisely, acquiring lock instantly (500 AFSII and TC14EII this morning).

The two areas I’m still seeing difficulties (this is from a bird shooter):

A) Acquiring lock when the subject is flying low to the water. The camera still prefers the water from this mornings tests. Even when shooting more than just single area, you can watch the AF points stay with the surface of the water, even when an initial solid subject lock is obtained.

B) Subject flying against busy backgrounds: AF still prefers the background unless you’re shooting single focus point and can keep it dead nuts on the subject….even when using lock on.

For my type of shooting, I didn’t find that 3D tracking worked any better at all.”

(Visit thread at NikonCafe)


In the air a single bird (in my case a gul and white trumpeter swan) worked Ok in 51 Pt 3d mode as long as the bird was flying straight, however, once in a while it would focus on a wingtip or something instead of the body or head.

On erratic subjects the 3d Tracking would jump to and from the bird and then grab the water

NOW, all of these birds were white or grey and I was shooting against grey skies, most shutter speeds were 1/50th to 1/100 even at ISO 400/800. Very very dark morning.

Much Much easier lock in with my 200-400 against a grey sky with low contrast birds than my D2Xs or D200. It really is much better at acquiring focus in dark conditions, and the lock in is fast, little hunting with my 200-400 lens.

With a flock of snow geese, the 51 point 3d looked like it was going spastic! lol It was jumping from bird to bird to bird, with different birds in different shots in focus.”

(Visit thread at NikonCafe)

and a thread about fine tuning AutoFocus:

“Simply stated, it works wonders”

(Visit thread at NikonCafe)