Nikon 3D focussing?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by RaymondC, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. Just wondering in the past people were favouring dynamic focussing over 3D. Over these years have you guys now started using 3D focus modes for your sport / action shots?

    Cheers :)
  2. I, for one, have not started to use 3D. I stick with Dynamic 9 or 21.
  3. I've given up on anything but locked center focus.
    The reason is in a group of players (football, volleyball, etc.) where there is dynamic action/movement and people are crossing each other, the AF gets confused and loses track of the subject, and focuses on other players.
    And when the line ref runs past me, the AF looses focus of the player and locks onto and tracks the ref, leaving the player out of focus.

    I've also had the AF loose track of the tennis player and lock onto the lines on the tennis court and the background fence.

    IF it is a SINGLE player in the open, then the dynamic or 3D would work better.

    So in theory dynamic or 3D should work, but in practice (for me) it did not.
  4. I've always suspected that I get settings mismatched and that's why I don't have much luck with 3D. I just bought this ebook, Secrets To The Nikon Autofocus System - Backcountry Gallery. It's supposed to go through everything related to the Nikon AF system on several models. I'm hoping it connects the dots, and I have better results using the different AF modes.
  5. I've usually used 3D (on D700, D800, D810) - partly for unexpected subject movement, partly in case I want to focus and recompose. I switch to other modes if it's struggling or if I'm trying to track something very fast. I'm probably not making best use of the AF system, but it's worked for tennis and minor motorsports. I've had only limited tries with team ball sports.
  6. Up until and including the D810, I found 3D AF to be totally useless. DIdn't track properly and often just jumped around even if there was only a single subject to track. Things have gotten a lot better with the D500 where I was able to track a single player in a beach volleyball game. Performance was similar to that of the Sony A7II - which in general terms I would consider far inferior to what the D500 can do. Goes to show how far Nikon has to go before those automated modes become useful. Played briefly with a Sony A9 which magically seems to be able to track without missing a beat.
  7. I do stay away from 3D as I find it too sluggish in tracking and erratic rather often; dynamic with 9 or 21 points is a whole lot faster in my experience, plus it reduces the risk of the focus suddenly shifting to somewhere else. This is on a D300 and D700, so for newer bodies I've got no idea whether I'd use it or not.
  8. I don't normally use 3D Tracking for sports but have occasionally used it for photographing walking people. It is convenient in a way but after a while of tracking it can slip from the main subject depending on the color contrast between the subject and visibility of faces. It doesn't handle temporary loss of line of sight to the subject well. But, it does permit some freedom of composition that is not available in the more manual modes.

    I tend to use 9-point dynamic area, single point, group-area, auto area, 25-point dynamic area, and 3D tracking in that order of frequency with the D5, and single point & group-area with the D810. I don't use dynamic area, auto area or 3D with the D810.

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