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The Nikon Autofocus System

Book Description

With today’s advanced camera technology, achieving focus on a photographic subject seems like it should be a straightforward task. But many photographers know that it can be deceptively difficult, especially when shooting moving subjects or in challenging situations. Now, there is a complete guide available for Nikon shooters that will help them get tack-sharp photos every time.

In The Nikon Autofocus System, photographer Mike Hagen, author of the bestselling The Nikon Creative Lighting System, takes his deep knowledge of Nikon technology and concentrates on its focus features. In this book, which covers all current Nikon DSLR models, Hagen fully explains how Nikon autofocus works, including detailed discussions of all the autofocus modules, drive systems, and camera buttons and menus. He also devotes an entire chapter to explore how focus works with Nikon’s lenses.

Armed with this general knowledge, Hagen then dives deep and offers camera setups, settings, and best practices for specific field techniques that address the photographic genres that are notoriously challenging for focus: action and sports (indoor and outdoor), wildlife (including birds in flight), and macro photography. He also covers genres such as portrait, landscape, underwater, low-light, and street photography. Hagen not only advises on the best ways to set up the camera and focus systems, he gives helpful tips and tricks throughout the book.

The Nikon Autofocus System also covers:

  • Live view autofocus methods and settings
  • Achieving great focus in video
  • AF tracking
  • AF shooting styles, such as back-button AF and shutter-release AF
  • HDR, panoramas, and other techniques for shooting with a tripod
  • An entire chapter on additional terms and techniques, such as hyperfocal distance, calibrating lenses, focus and flash photography, and more

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. About the Author
  6. Table of Contents
  7. Foreword
  8. Introduction
  9. 1 Autofocus Defined
    1. How AF Works
    2. Servos
    3. Multi-CAM Sensor System
    4. Description of Nikon AF Modules
    5. AF Tracking
    6. Three Elements Required for AF
    7. Lens Aperture and Effective Aperture
    8. AF Drive Systems
  10. 2 Camera and Menu Settings
    1. External Switches and Buttons
    2. CSM a1–a12
    3. Menus f1–f12
    4. Diopter
    5. AF Shooting Styles and Back-Button AF
    6. How Shutter Speed Impacts Sharpness
    7. How ISO Noise and Long Exposure Noise Impact Sharpness
    8. P, S, A, M vs. Auto Exposure Modes and Impact on AF
    9. How Frame Rate Impacts AF Performance
    10. DX versus FX and Sensor Coverage over the Frame
  11. 3 Lenses and Settings
    1. Lens Barrel Switches
    2. Lens AF Technologies
    3. Using Manual Focus Lenses on New Bodies
    4. VR System and Sharpness
    5. IF Lenses
    6. Parfocal Lenses
    7. Focus Speed
    8. Cable Releases and Remote Triggers
  12. 4 Field Techniques, Methods, and Tips
    1. Outdoor Sports: Football
    2. Outdoor Sports: Track and Field
    3. Outdoor Sports: Tennis
    4. Indoor Sports: Basketball
    5. Indoor Events: Dance and Bands
    6. Indoor Sports: Volleyball
    7. Birds in Flight
    8. Landscapes
    9. Portraits: Individuals, Groups, and Weddings
    10. Street
    11. Macro
    12. Aerial Photography
    13. Animals and Wildlife (Safari)
    14. Architecture
    15. Night
    16. Underwater
    17. Adventure Sports: Point of View
    18. Theater, Plays, and Circuses
    19. Panoramas
    20. HDR Images
    21. Tripod Techniques
    22. Event Photography with Flash
    23. Astrophotography
    24. Travel
  13. 5 Live View Autofocus
    1. Activating Live View
    2. The Differences between Focus Systems
    3. Best Practices
    4. AF-Servo Modes and AF-Area Modes in Live View
    5. Video AF versus Still Photo AF
    6. Using Zoom Buttons to Achieve Critical Focus
  14. 6 Achieving Great Focus in Video
    1. Difficulties with AF While Shooting DSLR Video
    2. Pulling Focus
    3. Follow Focus Rigs
    4. Presetting Focus Distance
    5. Using a Crew to Assist with Focus
  15. 7 Other Considerations
    1. Understanding Focus, Clarity, and Sharpness
    2. Focus in Low-Light Environments
    3. Depth of Field and Sharpness
    4. Depth of Field and Hyperfocal Distance
    5. Focus Stacking
    6. User-Defined Menus for Different Scenarios
    7. Techniques to Improve Sharpness While Handholding
    8. Lens Quality and Impact on Sharpness
    9. How to Check Your DSLR for AF Accuracy
    10. How to Fine-Tune AF
    11. Using Third-Party Lenses on Nikon Cameras
  16. Glossary