Hi, my D300 is behaving badly. When set on 51 point focus tracking, it wont lock onto the subject and track anymore. The highlighted focus tracker just jumps around the viewfinder not locking onto anything. Sometimes it just marches from top to bottom or side to side, very un-Nikon like. Any ideas?
D300 focusing issues(19 posts) (11 voices)
I own a D300 and never had this kind of problem. I would advise that you first try and remove the battery for more than 24 hours and try again.
May be other D300 owners will have a better idea, but in the mean time, ask Nikon what they think about it.
I use a lot of cameras, but currently the D90 and D300 get the most use. They are really awesome field cameras. We had the exact same symptom with the D200 just recently and here was the solution. I had my son who uses that camera for documenting his construction work in the field switch lens from a 18-70 Nikkor which came with the camera to a 18-135mm Nikkor which I got quite a while ago with a D40X. That solved the entire problem immediately. So the problem was in the 18-70 Nikkor lens. We will not be getting that lens fixed as it wouldn't be worth the Nikon USA repair costs. You might decide to have your lens repaired by Nikon USA depending on how many lens you have, etc..
You can call Nikon Digital Hotline anywhere in the world, anytime, night or day, and they will help you trouble shoot your camera. While I have never had the D300 I use everyday act up I am going to guess that will solve your problem. Good Luck! Nikon Rumors is a wonderful website with all kinds of members with diverse and photo oriented expertise. Your Nikon D300 is a real workhorse of a camera. I hope you post your results as this is a must fix problem!
What lens are you using? Or does this happen with all your lenses?
I shoot primarily weddings and have had all sorts of focusing troubles with the D300. I've used four or five different lenses under all sorts of conditions. My issues sound pretty close to what you are experiencing. My focus would lock onto a random point, then jump to another point at random even if nothing was moving (as in, camera on a tripod shooting a portrait). My problem was constant, it happened about 10% of the time. Finally, I just switched to single point focus mode and have never looked back. It isn't an idea solution if you're shooting sports, but it still seems to work fairly well.
Slightly off topic, but I also noticed that my camera does not focus in live view mode. I'm not talking about on-the-fly live view continuous focusing. I mean, it won't focus before going into live-view, or before taking the photo, it just doesn't focus ever in live view mode. Is that normal? I have to confess that it isn't a feature I use much (mostly because of my previous experiences) so I may have a setting screwed up somewhere.
3 years with the D300 here is my experience and fixes-
Live view focus - being it was one of the first systems with LV the focus never worked well. If you read the manual you will see they even suggest MF with LV. That is what I do. Good first attempt but in comparison to the rest today who have the newest tech, it is sub-par. The newest firmware helped a bit, but not much. (Released a couple of years ago.)
Focus jumping in 3D mode: I use some older AF motor driven lenses (which I do not think it actually "turns on" with) as well as 105vr, 70-200vr, 50afs and the newer AFS lenses do work a bit better. Honestly I rarely use the 3d tracking and when I do I use the AF-lock all the time and that seems to help. I usually set my on Single servo, 51, 3d and press and hold the lock to keep it where I want it. It does help to drop the points to 21 or 11 when shooting people or single subjects. You might check that your focus wrap is set to "OFF" as well.
The key thing I found to watch for is when the light and/or color values in a scene are close to the same it jumps like a cat with it's tail on fire. Low light doesn't help the situation either. The other thing I have noticed where it doesn't work is when you fill your frame with the subject. In that case just use continuous AF.
What are the types of subjects and scene compositions are you shooting? What lenses are you using? How long have you had your camera? Maybe we are all telling you stuff you already know and there is a setting that you changed inadvertently.
Between my own experiences with AF on my D5100, a D7000 focus issue thread here, focus issues with my friend's Canon 60D, and focus issues with images from a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II that I had to work with, I've come to the conclusion that AF is pretty useless crap when it comes to critical focusing. The one thing that bothered me most is that the camera is in charge of what gets to be focused on, not you.
I suggest you do as I did and get yourself a KatzEye focusing screen and focus the old fashion way, manually. I just received my KatzEye screen for my D5100, and all I can say is AAAAAAH, what a relief! My camera now focuses where *I* want it to focus.
If you're used to autofocusing everything under the sun, the thought of manual focusing may give you hives, but work with it long enough and it will become a powerful tool in your photographic arsenal. It's good to be in control of your own photographic destiny.
AF is spot on 99% of the time for me. I'm still not sure what is up with vidrazor's camera. ;) What I found is that each scenario has an AF that works best. That is the reason for the various choices. I'll be damned if I said I figured out half of them though.
Hi guys, Wow! what a response and what a great site. I take mainly sports photos, surfing, football and surflife saving sports. I use an Nikon 80-200f2.8 Af, not sure of the model, the one with seperate focusing and zoom rings and AF driven by the camera body, and a Nikon 500mm f4 AFi lenses. Some good points here, I will have to do some testing with the 18-200 kit lense it came with and see if that is any better. Yes, with the older lenses I have been using them single point autofocus and it has been fine, it still would be nice to have those little red brackets lock onto a subject and track them around the view finder though. I had a Katzeye screen Vidrazor, yes they are a great thing, if you are shooting static subjects like birds in a tree, etc,but for sports i found my previous Nikon 500mmF4 P manual focus lense heartbreaking. Heartbreaking beacause when you got it right, it delivered breathtaking results. But the percentage of "keepers" was just way to low. Thus the AFi 500mm which I love, love love!I dont love the fact that when I bought it the Aussie dollar was about 87 cents US and has now gone through the roof! Oh well, you cant win them all. Thank you all kindly for your help.
You might look at the manual to see what lenses work with the 3d. I can't remember and do not have it handy. It may just be with AFS lenses.
>>AF is spot on 99% of the time for me. I'm still not sure what is up with vidrazor's camera. ;)<<
The problem is that focusing is a crap shoot. AF works fairly well for general shots, but for critical focusing it's useless. I do a fair amount of model shoots, and it's important to be focused on the eyes. On an pose angled to the camera, it's important to be focused on the near eye.
The D5100 focuses somewhere different every single time I partially depress the shutter release button. On the model shoots, it tends to focus on breasts, behind the ear(s) and, on angled poses, the far eye. Only occasionally would it focus on either the near eye or the eyes period. There is no consistency. It's a constant crap shoot.
I noticed the same phenomenon on images I had to retouch taken with a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II. Out of 100 images, 90 were focused on the wrong location. A friend of mine has a Canon 60D that also focuses wherever it pleases. A while back there was also this thread here on a D7000:
Considering these are different camera models with different AF mechanisms made by two different manufacturers, I've come to the conclusion that AF is pretty useless when it comes to critical focusing. It's OK for stuff like group shots and certain scenes, but beyond that it's junk.
I want to thank you, incidentally, for pointing out KatzEye to me. I didn't know one had the option to change the focusing screen on cameras like the D3x00, D5x00, etc. I thought I was stuck with the camera as it was. I now have critical focusing available to me on the D5100. Thanks!
I have often looked at the KatzEye but have yet to get one. Maybe with my next body as I really don't want to throw more money at my D300. Many seem to really love them and If I pick up a couple Zeiss lenses I will get one for sure.
I do wish I could be sitting there as you focus. You have something set wrong or the camera is way off. There is zero reason you should have the problems you are experiencing. But that was for a past topic and probably better over PM.
Hi All: Eightball I think you have lucked on to a great site! Just to have a real pro like TaoTeJared try to troubleshoot a D300 focusing problem is awesome. I am a great beleiver in autofocus, not manual. If you think you can focus anywhere near as swiftly as your camera I think you are wrong. Autofocus is the way 99% of the time as has already been mentioned. Now how to fix your D300s issue....I think set it up on a one focus grid selection. I still not have heard if you tried a different lens?
I also noticed I shoot the same way BrownewellPhoto sets his rig up and it is I believe so fast and proper that it is the way to go. I have tried the on board let the camera pick the spot that requires focus and can say that is NOT the way to go. It is also more demanding of your camera. I am from the 8x10 school of photography and have been doing this for a long time. In almost every case you are better to quickly tell the camera where you want the focus and there are some rules on how to get the depth of field, etc. if that is what you want. I have seen studio guys focus on the portrait subjects eyes and see what they get when they are in the field.
When a camera starts to "act up" you need to solve that problem. I would wonder if setting your Nikon D300 to a single grid which you select, probably based on the 51 point system......Then what do you get?? Hopefully that will solve your problem?
Thanks for the great support guys, although if you read my last reply, you will probably see we are getting a little off track. As I said, it works fine on single point autofocus. Dont know if I agree that autofocus is a crapshoot, using my 500mm f4 wide open makes for an extremly shallow depth of field and the AF produces very sharp results timne after time. And yes if i am taking portraits I always focus on the eyes and recompose. Its a bit hard to focus on the eyes of a football player in the middle of a game though! And the team sports part of my photograpy is where I would most like to be able to use the 3D focus tracking, locking on a particular player as he ducks and weaves his way out of a pack, for example. Its all about making the best use of our tools for a particular job I guess. I still havent had time to try the newer 18-200mm yet, will let you know how I go when I do.
@ eightball: I do high speed photo work a lot. I dislike anything but single point focus with the D300. In fact when I shoot high speed
subjects I always take the D300 and prefer the 70-300VR but in your case I'd probably go to the Nikkor 500mm. In this specific general case I NEVER would use the multi-point system. The movement we encounter is faster than football action. My posts although I mentioned the focus on the eyes, believe me we don't except in atypical cases, as when we are doing human subjects we need sharp focus on all the gear, not just the eyes.
My team of guys using Nikon DSLRs (D200 and D300) also use the SINGLE focus autofocus and usually the center grid is selected. That way when you are swinging the camera and lens to track and shoot the subject the photographer uses the center of mass principle and uses either CH of CL mode. Usually the shooter would track the "play" and fire off a series of shots, some of which should be quite good, and maybe others are not that wonderful.
I also should mention that as we so rarely use the alternate focus method WE DON"T EVEN KNOW IF THAT WORKS ANY BETTER THAN YOUR PROBLEM D300.
Please excuse me I am still trying to figure out my D300 that I purchased used. I know my camera has the options of 9, 21, and 51 active focus points. I don't understand how I change this. For example, how do I go from 9 points to 21 points. It must be in my menu but I am missing it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I don't have a D300 and never held one but in the D7000 you change active focus points by holding the AF button on the camera and using the dials to change the settings. Hope this helps.
Nah, we 300 folks have a separate switch for that!
AF-Mode Selector, manual page 64.
@elopomorph. I assume you did not get a manual when you bought your D300 second hand. Otherwise, why wouldn't you "rtfm"? So, if you go to this link, you can download the D300 manual: http://www.nikonusa.com/pdf/manuals/dslr/D300_en.pdf
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