Aero C-104 captured by Z 6II / Z70-200f2.8

Ever since our cameras brought us autofocus, the question has been posed, “Which AF mode are you using?” Unless you’re crazed like me and shoot every moment of the day trying and testing every possible mode in every possible situation, it’s simply darn confusing. Nikon though has done a killer job of late making this really simple for me at least. With the latest firmware updates for the D6 / Z Family, it’s even simpler. The vast majority of the time I’m in Auto Area AF (AAA) on both the D6 & Z 6II. It simply works. Those times with the D6 when the AAA isn’t right (subject doesn’t stand out from the background) I go to C2 which I have set up as a 3×15 sensor arrangement (see below). On the Z 6II those times AAA isn’t right (subject doesn’t stand out from the background), I go to WIDE-S AF. And the other times, I still go old school, manual focus.

How often do I use AF? These days it’s probably 90% of the time with 10% being manual focus. It’s changed as time goes on using more AF as systems just get better and better. Is there a trick to making the most of AF operation? It’s important to understand AF requires contrast, strong vertical or diagonal line to function in the first place. With the latest firmware updates, low light operation has vastly, vastly improved. You need to make the most of the settings in the camera to fine tune your AF operation for your photography. You can find my settings here for that. Lastly, if you’re panning and the camera is searching, that is an operator issue and not camera. You gotta have good panning technique for the AF able to do its job. That’s it, for my photography it’s become real simple and just one less thing I have to think about and for me, that’s really important!

Note: NX Studio shows you what AF mode you were shooting in and the active sensors when you took the photo. That’s what you’re seeing here.

Northern Sea Otters captured by D6 / 180-400VR

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