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Old Feb 8, 2009, 2:02 PM   #1
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I was reading something about a nikon camera having 52 points of focus, and impressive though it sounds, I have never been able to find any advantage in multiple points of focus in my k10d or DS. I've found that by far the most expedient strategy is to center focus and reframe. If instead the camera is looking at 52 or 11 or whatever focus points and automatically decides which is "best", how is that supposed to be helpful for photography? If you're in a hurry and the camera chooses wrong, you've missed a shot.

I've tried using the user select focus, where you select the focus point yourself and don't have to reframe, but on the fly, that actually takes longer than reframing. Also, for my pentax bodies, those focus points aren't literal - the only dead on focus point is the center. When I rely on the non-center focus point as a literal point of focus, I get blurry shots.

The only use I can think of for multipoint autofocus is if something completely unpredictable - yet not too fast - is going to happen and there's no way to prepare for it. I would think a person could do better (in terms of reaction time and quality shots) with most sports and wildlife by prefocusing a shot.

What do others think on this topic?
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Old Feb 8, 2009, 3:38 PM   #2
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I strongly agree with everything you say, and have never used anything else than the center FP. But as I am a very unprejudiced person (:lol::lol::lol I'm looking forwards to hear from those of you who use the multiple focus points and find them practical.

Kjell
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Old Feb 8, 2009, 4:07 PM   #3
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Hi pwithem,

I'm another center point focuser. I can see the usefulness of having the multiple focus points, and have used this feature to pick an off-center point on occasion, but my style of shooting is center point oriented. For most of my bird shots, I usually center the subject, them crop to compose -- not the most "purist" of photo techniques, but it works well enough for me, and it's expedient for the type of subjects I shoot.

The multiple point systems have their merits, I would think especially for AF-C type shooting, but I don't do much of that. Focus and recompose is admittedly not the most accurate, but it's usually good enough for me, and I primarily work with FLs, apertures, and distances with very thin DOF. I think that Pentax's current layout with 11 point and 9 cross type sensors is about as many as I would probably ever need.

Scott
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Old Feb 8, 2009, 5:34 PM   #4
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If you are photographing, say a close up of a flower where the point of focus does not lie in the central position, then it is necessary to have the ability to focus at any point - you CANNOT focus in the centre and then reframe the shot and guarantee that it's still in focus.

For me, the more focus points, the better
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Old Feb 8, 2009, 8:50 PM   #5
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Catbells wrote:
Quote:
If you are photographing, say a close up of a flower where the point of focus does not lie in the central position, then it is necessary to have the ability to focus at any point - you CANNOT focus in the centre and then reframe the shot and guarantee that it's still in focus.

For me, the more focus points, the better
Hi CB,

A very good point! Shows how much macro shooting I do. . .:-? Another argument for more focus points is that they would have to be more discreet/smaller, which I could definitely see as an advantage trying to focus on a small bird in the middle of a lot of foliage. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea . . . as long as the cost stays in line. . . It'll take a lot to talk me out of being kinda cheap!aranoid:

Scott
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Old Feb 8, 2009, 9:13 PM   #6
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Well, I tend to go with the center point most of the time also...:-?
works for me.:-)
GW:bye:
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Old Feb 8, 2009, 11:33 PM   #7
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A good point, Catbells.

Another point - if you are a pro sports shooter and shooting a sport with predictable action points (like baseball), you could set a different focus point, frame the way you want to, put the camera on a tripod or other support and shoot away. You wouldn't have time to use the center point and reframe.

Having said that, I tend to use the center point most of the time. I don't shoot sports and hadn't figured out the advantages that Catbells brought up for macro stuff. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll have to try that.
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Old Feb 9, 2009, 11:59 AM   #8
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I think I use the centre point for around 95% of my shooting

However, as discussed, on the odd ocassion when I use a tripod, then I might use a different focal point.

Also, at wide aperatures, the mere action of moving the camera from point to point will lose the focus of the whole picture.

I did have a situation at the zoo a few years ago, when an otter was popping up and down behind a log. I turned the camera vertical and set one of the top (right hand) points and got him as he popped up. No chance of focus and recompose.

Macro is all done in manual, so no focal points needed.



You will find on the Nikon that the reason for the 50+ focal points is to do with the predictive / follow focus that Pentax lacks. Pick a focal point on the left hand side and lock onto a bird in flight. As you pan, the camera hands over to each successvie focal point, kepping the focus locked.

Useful if you need it.





Dal
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Old Feb 9, 2009, 10:45 PM   #9
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Dal, that was just the thing I was looking to hear. I couldn't imagine 52 focus points being that big of a sell otherwise.

As to shooting macro or any other shot that benefits from focusing with one of the non-center points - with both my k10 and DS and a couple different lenses, i get blurry shots if I count on the red dot as the exact point of focus. In actuality, all of the true points of focus are closer to the center than the red dot suggests. Once I had discovered this, I just stopped altogether doing anything other than center focus and reframe, even for large aperture closeups, since I could still reframe better than focusing on a flower and have it focus to the leaf behind it instead.
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Old Feb 10, 2009, 4:57 AM   #10
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CP for me. The few times I've used either the auto focus point or the select focus point setting it focuses on everything except where I wanted the focus. I know there are good reasons to use it but for me they just don't fit what I do.

Dawg
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