Understanding focus tracking

Focus Tracking on Nikon CamerasGetting sharp images of moving subjects isn’t easy. I have seen many in my photography workshop outdoor/ photo walk trying to capture moving subjects with the default camera settings. All that they get is a blur or out of focus image, some of them do get it right and that’s just pure luck. To achieve sharp images, you need to select the right focusing mode on your camera. Focus tracking can be done in most of the DSLR cameras of any brand as most of them have this feature. It is just that you need to know how to use it.

Note: In this article I have written about Nikon DSLR camera as I am a Nikon user. The options and features will be similar in other cameras too. Focus tracking using Nikon DSLR can be achieved using three main auto focus mode – single, continuous and automatic. Focus tracking of a moving subject can be achieved using continuous auto-focusing mode (AF-C), in which the camera will continuously adjust the focus whenever the shutter button is half pressed, there by enabling focus tracking of the subjects moving towards or away from your DSLR camera. In AF-C mode your DSLR automatically switches to predictive focusing which analyses the movement of the subject and tries to predict where the subject will be when the shutter button is half pressed.

You can customize/program the focus tracking button to the backside of the screen. I have programmed it on my Nikon D600 full frame camera as it’s easier for me to use. High end cameras have a dedicated button for focus tracking. There are chances that you might press the button a bit harder and that will result in capturing an image instead of focusing it and this is where the dedicated or programmed button will be handy. You can assign it to AE-L/AF-L button which is to the backside of the camera on top. The latest cameras have another option called 3D AF Tracking. This works well but at times your DSLR gets confused when the subject is too close to the background or if the background is of similar tone/color.

Capturing great images can be done by understanding all these features of your existing DSLR camera. Having a high end camera doesn’t always mean that you can get the best images. I have seen many where they spend thousands of dollars but shoot in auto mode and that too in .jpg and they not sure of any of the button that are present in their camera, and later judge bad about the camera and it’s features. Follow me on social media to get more photographic tips and other updates. Write a comment below if this article was useful.