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LeahM

Back Button focus/Nikon D7100

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I am having trouble mastering BBF, especially on macro/supermacro. (I have a 60mm on my Nikon D7100) Seems to me, BBF is really like manual focus...because if you move one little smidge, your image is out of focus...like when shooting a pygmy, etc. The whole "recompose" issue seems irrelevant, because you are constantly trying to focus...I feel like I'm missing something...can someone explain? I'm sure it's "operator error" :lightbulb:

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When it comes to shooting pygmies and super macro, I'm not sure you are missing anything!

 

As Timz writes, are you using CAF? That makes life slightly easier. Slightly.

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Agree. Use AF-C. I use single point AF and move it around for composition., but that's a personal choice. Plus look at the shutter release setting, a1 and a2 on my D7000, assume it's the same on the D7100. I use Focus, others prefer Release. My eyesight isn't good enough to see focus anymore, so I left the camera make that decision. Also you may need to do an AF Fine Tune on your lens in case its focus point is off a bit. But that's rare with most lenses.

Edited by divengolf

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I am having trouble mastering BBF, especially on macro/supermacro. (I have a 60mm on my Nikon D7100) Seems to me, BBF is really like manual focus...because if you move one little smidge, your image is out of focus...like when shooting a pygmy, etc. The whole "recompose" issue seems irrelevant, because you are constantly trying to focus...I feel like I'm missing something...can someone explain? I'm sure it's "operator error" :lightbulb:

 

A lot of people using auto focus will use spot focus. Assume a nudibranch sitting crosswise, left to right. They 'compose' the shot by moving the focal point to where they want the focus to be. Example, rhinophore 1/2 inch up, 1 inch to the right. They then focus on the rhinophore and shoot. Using BBF, the 'one little smidge' is the key to the whole thing. You leave the focus spot in the center. You focus on and lock on the rhinophore. Holding the lock, you recompose you image so that the rhinophore is 1/2 inch up, 1 inch to the right. You rock the camera in and out (one little smidge) until the rhinopore is again in focus, then press the shutter. It's an acquired skill, but once you master it, you'll love it. All the time you save not having to keep moving the focal point around. And it's easy to relock.

 

Bob W

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Thanks for all the helpful info. Yes, I use AF-C and spot focus. So I pick a point to focus on (using the back button), focus lock and then let go. Then when I go to shoot, it's out of focus again...so I start all over and the continuous focus is going crazy trying to focus.

Everyone keeps saying how great BBF is, but so far, it's just as difficult as using shutter release focus. I will keep practicing.

Thanks to all for taking to the time to answer.

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Thanks for all the helpful info. Yes, I use AF-C and spot focus. So I pick a point to focus on (using the back button), focus lock and then let go. Then when I go to shoot, it's out of focus again...so I start all over and the continuous focus is going crazy trying to focus.

Everyone keeps saying how great BBF is, but so far, it's just as difficult as using shutter release focus. I will keep practicing.

Thanks to all for taking to the time to answer.

 

Don't let go! The 'C' will only follow while the focus is activated. It's not an on/off switch. If using AF-S, holding the BBF lever will lock the focus, and then you will have to rock to maintain focus on the focal point.

 

Bob W

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HI Leah, it sounds like you have skipped one step in the process to setup BBF. When you are pushing the shutter button, that is when the focus goes in and out? To use the back button focus properly you want to turn off the ability of the shutter button to focus. That way, you use the back button to focus to the point you want and you can then pull the shutter button at any time after that and the focus won't be affected. Basically if something moves you can rock back and forth to bring things back into focus without having to focus again. This is a godsend when shooting macro

 

I have the D7000 and the D7200 and they are a little different, one extra step with the D7200, I am not exactly sure with the D7100.

 

With the D7000 should be this:

 

Turn on your AF-C

Then go to Menu -> Custom Settings (the Pencil) ->Autofocus - AF-C and set it to Release

Then go to Menu -> Custom Settings (the Pencil) -> Controls -> Assign AE-L/AF-L Button ->AF-On

 

Then test your Shutter button, it should then no longer control Autofocus.

 

With the D7200

Same as above, however, also need to do Custom Settings -> Autofocus -> AF Activation - AF-On Only

This last step turns off the Shutter button AF on the D7200

 

Key thing you need to figure out though is: when you push the shutter button half way, is it doing Autofocus? If so, then your back button focus won't work properly so one of the steps above needs to be done to allow it to work properly

 

Hope that makes sense

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HI Leah, it sounds like you have skipped one step in the process to setup BBF. When you are pushing the shutter button, that is when the focus goes in and out? To use the back button focus properly you want to turn off the ability of the shutter button to focus. That way, you use the back button to focus to the point you want and you can then pull the shutter button at any time after that and the focus won't be affected. Basically if something moves you can rock back and forth to bring things back into focus without having to focus again. This is a godsend when shooting macro

 

I have the D7000 and the D7200 and they are a little different, one extra step with the D7200, I am not exactly sure with the D7100.

 

With the D7000 should be this:

 

Turn on your AF-C

Then go to Menu -> Custom Settings (the Pencil) ->Autofocus - AF-C and set it to Release

Then go to Menu -> Custom Settings (the Pencil) -> Controls -> Assign AE-L/AF-L Button ->AF-On

 

Then test your Shutter button, it should then no longer control Autofocus.

 

With the D7200

Same as above, however, also need to do Custom Settings -> Autofocus -> AF Activation - AF-On Only

This last step turns off the Shutter button AF on the D7200

 

Key thing you need to figure out though is: when you push the shutter button half way, is it doing Autofocus? If so, then your back button focus won't work properly so one of the steps above needs to be done to allow it to work properly

 

Hope that makes sense

Great info, one last thing to remember is to "save user settings" for your custom assignments.

 

Menu->Setup menu (wrench)-> Save user settings-> OK -> save to U1 (or U2)-> OK -> Save settings

Edited by Eyematey

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Great advice, Mike - thanks

 

I've never been a big BBF user. My housing seems to let me hold the shutter (on a Nikon D800 but my old D300 was the same) with the focus locked by depressing the shutter release half way: the camera focusses and then is ready for release by pushing the shutter release slightly more.

 

I have never seen the advantage of BBF over that method. Am I missing something?

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Great info, one last thing to remember is to "save user settings" for your custom assignments.

 

Menu->Setup menu (wrench)-> Save user settings-> OK -> save to U1 (or U2)-> OK -> Save settings

Yes, good point, the BBF does not work in U1 or 2 without saving it first.

Great advice, Mike - thanks

 

I've never been a big BBF user. My housing seems to let me hold the shutter (on a Nikon D800 but my old D300 was the same) with the focus locked by depressing the shutter release half way: the camera focusses and then is ready for release by pushing the shutter release slightly more.

 

I have never seen the advantage of BBF over that method. Am I missing something?

 

Yes, it saves you from a sore thumb pushing and holding that button down hahaha....

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Yes, it saves you from a sore thumb pushing and holding that button down hahaha....

 

Damn, that explains a lot. And I just thought it was old age kicking in.....

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As a Subal housing user I do not use BBF since I can feel the half shutter well with my housing. With 3D focus I just put the focus spot on what I want in focus, recompose and take the shot.

I did use BBF on a Nauticam EM-1 housing where I could not feel the half shutter.

 

Elmer

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As a Subal housing user I do not use BBF since I can feel the half shutter well with my housing. With 3D focus I just put the focus spot on what I want in focus, recompose and take the shot.

I did use BBF on a Nauticam EM-1 housing where I could not feel the half shutter.

 

Elmer

 

Yep, I'm with you on that one, Elmer....

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Many thanks to all who took time to answer my questions, I appreciate your time. I am going to Lembeh near end of December...I will try BBF and if not working, can always go back to shutter. Fingers crossed for some good, in-focus images!

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This is great advise. However I don't use the BBF on my D7000 underwater only on land. The problem I find is the location for the button to do BBF underwater with gloves on is not as easy to actuate.I get so focused on the button, and action of the button, that sometimes I miss the shot.

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Hey there, I know that these posts were made about a year ago but I'm interested in the same topic.

 

I have been using AF-S but have mainly shooting corals or macro. I don't seem to have much luck with sharks, fish or anything moving. They never seem to be in focus.

 

I like the idea of tracking for these subjects but its a pain underwater to switch between AF-S and AF-C. So....BBF seems to be an answer.

 

I had some trouble getting BBF to work in the desired way and will keep looking into it but I wondered if it is because, , I only use LiveView when underwater.

 

So, the question is whether the use of LiveView affects the use of BBF

 

Thanks

 

 

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Hey Murphy,

 

Nikon's Liveview is not really suitable for moving subjects. I would argue that it is limited for underwater use in general!

 

AF-S and AF-C (or AF-A) are all just focus modes. Back button will simply activate the autofocus to use whichever focus mode you have selected.

 

The back button will do so in Liveview too, but Liveview uses contract detect sensing which is inherently slower and less accurate than phase detect which is used in "normal" shooting modes.

 

The issue of which focus modes to use is a pretty huge one...

 

Adam

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