Focus systems on Nikon cameras

A good focusing system on the camera is the key to correct and fast focusing.

Focus systems on Nikon cameras

Focus systems on Nikon cameras

Nikon DSLR instructions usually indicate that the camera can only work with lenses with a maximum effective aperture of F / 5,6 or higher. That is, the use of many cameras with a lens with a maximum aperture of F / 6.3 will already be difficult. This is due to the fact that with a smaller aperture, for example, with F / 11, the lens gives a weak luminous flux and the focusing module simply cannot normally focus.

I met a lot of complaints that the focus system of many cameras, such as Nikon D90, D3000, 'freezes' when using dark lenses such as Nikon 70-300mm f / 4.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkorin low light. This is not surprising, since at maximum focal lengths, the maximum aperture on the lens becomes F / 5.6 (the maximum for a particular focusing system) and the camera does very poorly with focus.

For focusing in the camera meets a complex set of devices, which are usually called focusing system. Focus system uses additional mirror for redirection of a light stream from lens to self focus sensor. Where is this focus sensor in the Nikon CLC can see here... Nikon focus sensors are commonly referred to as'Multi cam'.

The focus sensor focuses only on specific points (areas) in the frame. For example, if a camera has 11 focus points, this means that it can focus only on the fact that those points are 'seen'. If you delve into the intricacies of the work, I will add that the focusing system is closely related to metering system and has its own sophisticated algorithms.

Focus points linear and cruciform... Linear points come in vertical and horizontal orientation. Dots with horizontal orientation focus well on subjects with vertical lines. Vertical dots focus well on subjects with horizontal lines. Cross-shaped dots (zones) have both vertical and horizontal components at the same time and do better at focusing, especially in low-light conditions and in conditions with complex compositions. For example, when focusing a scene 'wires against a blue sky', the cross points should focus better than the line ones. Usually all cruciform dots are in the center of the frame... To understand more about the work of points and the Nikon focusing system in general, I recommend my article 'Focusing on Nikon Cameras'.

Below is a label where you can find all of the Nikon focus modules and cameras that use them. For the sake of this tablet, I did this article.

Module Total points Cr (f / 5.6-f / 8.0) [f / 8.0] EV range List of cameras with this module
Advanced AM200

1

1

0

0

-1 to + 19 Nikon E2, E2S, E2N, E2NS, E3, E3S + Fujifilm Fujix DS-505, DS-515, DS-505A, DS-515A, DS-560, DS-565, Fujifilm FinePix S1 Pro
Multi-cam 530

3

1

0

0

-1 to + 19 D40, D40x, D60
Multi-cam 900

5

1

0

0

-1 to + 19 D100, D70, D70s, D50 + Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro, Fujifilm FinePix S3 ProFujifilm FinePix S3 Pro UVIR, Kodak Professional DCS Pro 14n (and its modifications), Kodak Professional DCS Pro SLR / n (and its modifications)
Multi-cam 1000

11

1

0

0

-1 to + 19 D200, D80, D90, D3000, D5000, D3100, D5100, D3200, D3300, D3400, D3500 + Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro, Fujifilm FinePix IS Pro
Multi-cam 1300

5

3

0

0

-1 to + 19 D1, D1h, D1x
Multi-cam 2000

11

9

0

0

-1 to + 19 D2h, D2hs, D2x, D2xs
Multi-cam 4800DX

39

9

0

0

-1 to + 19 D7000, D5200, D5300, D5500, D5600
Multi-cam 4800FX

39

9

33

7

-1 to + 19 D600, D610, Df
Multi-cam 3500DX

51

15

0

0

-1 to + 19 D300, D300s
Multi-cam 3500FX

51

15

0

0

-1 to + 19 D700, D3, D3s, D3x
Advanced Multi-cam 3500DX

51

15

1

1

-2 to + 19 D7100
Advanced Multi-cam 3500FX

51

15

15

11

-2 to + 19 D4, D4s, D800, D800E, D810, D810a
Advanced Multi-cam 3500Fx ii

51

15

15

11

-3 to + 19 D750, D780
Advanced Multi-cam 3500Dx ii

51

15

1

1

-3 to + 19 D7200, D7500
Multi-cam 20K

153 (55)

99 (35)

37

15 (9)

-4 to + 19 D500, D5, D850
Multi-cam 37K

105

105

?

15

-4.5 to + 20 D6
Hybrid system for Z6

273

 -  ?  ? -4 to +19 LLF Nikon z6
Hybrid system for Z6

273

- ? ? -4.5 to +19 LLF Nikon z6 ii
Hybrid system for Z7

493

 -  ?  ? -4 to +19 LLF Nikon z7, Nikon z7 ii
Hybrid system for Z50

209

 -  ?  ? -4 to +19 LLF Nikon z50
Hybrid system for Z50

273

- ? ? -3 to + 19 Nikon z5

As you can see, Nikon CCDs use 3, 5, 11, 39, 51 or 55 focus points. The choice of sensors is not very large. The table includes digital SLR cameras Fujifilm FinePix, Fujifilm Fujix and Kodak Professional DCS, which were built on the basis of Nikon cameras with Nikon F mount and other Nikon internals, including those with Nikon focus modules. Also included Nikon quasi-full-format digital SLR cameras.

No need to confuse multi-cam 2000 on cameras D2h, D2hs, D2x, D2xs with multi-cam 1000 on other cameras. Often confused, since both Multi-CAM modules have the same number of focus points, only Multi-CAM 2000 uses 9 cross points, and multi-cam 1000 just one cruciform point. D2 Series cameras have excellent focus frame coverage, use focus on D2h, D2hs, D2x, D2xs very very comfortable and nice.

Interesting, but actually multi-cam 3500DX on cameras D300 и D300s Is the same Multi-CAM 3500FX on cameras D700, D3, D3s, D3x. True, on cameras D300, D300s the module provides just a chic frame coverage with focus points, and on full-frame cameras D700, D3, D3s, D3x all focus points are in the DX area of ​​the image.

Multi cam 4800DXwhich is used on D7000, D5200, D5300, D5500 different from multi-cam 4800FXwhich is available at Nikon D600, D610, Df in that Multi-CAM 4800DX can only work with lenses no darker than F / 5.6.

Nikon D600, D610 and Df can use 33 center points focusing with lenses with aperture from F / 5.6 to F / 8.0. And at F / 8.0 it is responsible for focusing 7 center points focusing. Nikon D600, D610 and Df has a small coverage of the frame by focusing points, since roughly speaking it uses the focusing module from a cropped camera Nikon D7000.

Difference in frame coverage areas

Difference in frame coverage areas

Advanced Multi cam 3500FX different from regular multi-cam 3500FX and multi-cam 3500DX so that cameras using the updated module can focus at aperture values ​​up to F / 8.0. Advanced Multi cam 3500FX can work with 15 center points focusing at aperture value from F / 5.6 to F / 8.0. And at F / 8.0 they are responsible for focusing 11 points.

Advanced Multi cam 3500DX different from regular multi-cam 3500DX and multi-cam 3500FX the fact that cameras using the updated module (so far this is only Nikon D7100), can focus at aperture values ​​up to F / 8.0. Advanced Multi cam 3500DX can work with one central focus point with aperture value from F / 5.6 to F / 8.0 inclusive.

Little conclusion: Advanced Multi cam 3500DX worse Advanced Multi cam 3500FX in that FX can operate at low aperture values ​​of F / 5.6-F / 8.0 using 15 focus points, and DX can only use one focus point at F / 5.6-F / 8.0. Advanced Multi cam 3500FX II differs from Advanced Multi cam 3500FX different range of illumination values, 3500FX II one stop better (works from -3 / -4 to +19 EV)

Cropped camera Nikon D500 uses exactly the same Multi-CAM 20K focusing module that is used in the TOP camera Nikon D5. It is indicated that the Multi-CAM 20K has 153 focus points, but only one of 55 can be manually selected. Apparently, the remaining points are auxiliary.

The ability to focus at low F values ​​is very popular when working with teleconvertersthat lower aperture a bunch of lens + teleconverter.

Please note that this is the maximum value of the relative aperture (aperture value F), and not the value apertureon which shooting will be made. Focusing is always carried out with the aperture fully open, and it must be taken into account.

Personal experience

With good lighting and simple scenes, it is quite difficult to notice the difference between the cross-shaped points and the ordinary ones. But the coverage area of ​​the frame is quite important, especially when dynamically tracking moving objects. Well, if on simple cameras like Nikon D3100, D5000 If there are few points, then you can use the Live View mode, which allows you to get an uncountable set of them and focus in any of them :)

conclusions

The best focusing system available on cameras D6, D5, D850, D500. The best coverage for the frame with focus points D500... Due to the fact that the focus module is a complex device, many cameras use the same focusing systems, over time Nikon's 'junior cameras' use modules from the 'older cameras'.

Mirrorless Cameras Z5, Z6, Z6 II, Z7, Z7 II, Z50 have a slightly different focusing principle. In general, their focusing capabilities are also very good.

Additionally, you can look at the article "Focus Sensors for Canon EOS Cameras".

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. For the selection of a variety of photographic equipment, I recommend E-Catalog и AliExpress.


Material prepared Arkady Shapoval... Look for me on Youtube | Facebook | VK | Instagram | Twitter.

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Comments: 75, on the topic: Focusing systems on Nikon cameras

  • Daniel

    Good afternoon, Arkady, I found information about the Multi-CAM 1300. There are 3 cross-shaped dots, here I give a link. http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/NikonF5/focusing/index1.htm
    If it’s wrong, correct it, but if it’s right, correct the table) Thank you.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Fixed

      • Andrew

        Good afternoon, I bought myself a Nikon d200 on ebay, everything is fine, but the annoyance is that autofocus does not want to work. I switch the focus to the S mode and it behaves like in the M focus mode when you press af-on in the viewfinder everything lights up in red focusing does not take place. In the menu settings a1 and a2, autofocus is selected, so I think or something I am doing wrong or something is broken. What can you advise?

        • Andrew

          Lenses focus on another camera.

  • Daniel

    Here is another picture of 1300.

  • Rust

    Thanks! At last! Briefly, clearly! The very essence.

  • Alexey

    Already the bourgeois link to this page))

  • Oleg

    Hello!
    Tell me please! If I understand correctly, then with a sigma of 150-500 which has a relative aperture of only 500: 1 per 6,3 mm, cameras like D3100 and D5300 should not focus, because they have no dots capable of working with such dark lenses. Why are they still autofocusing with this 500mm sigma? I mean the normal, not LiveView mode, when phase autofocus is involved.
    Thank you!

    • Vlad

      It's not about the aperture itself, but about the amount of light. That is, roughly speaking, at an illumination of -1 ev and f5.6, the light will be the same as at 0ev and f8.0. Therefore, these cameras will be able to work with lenses darker than f5.6, but not in the entire declared light range. For example, they put 5600-70 300-4.5 in the doublekit for the d6.3, which doesn't seem to work. But moreover, it focuses even at dusk, if you choose a contrasting detail

  • Michael

    Thanks to the author for the review! Now I will know that the lens that I dreamed about (Tamron 150-600) will not fit my Nikon 5300 camera.

  • anonym

    Purely for the sake of tediousness, I will add: Advanced Multi-CAM 3500DX, which is in the D7100, works normally with a narrow aperture (5.6 and narrower) only in bright sunlight (at least with Tamron 70-300 model A005 - I will not say about native Nikon lenses).

  • Kolya

    Help me figure it out please, I'm afraid to confuse "soft" with "warm"

    We take specifically in comparison two carcasses - d7200 and d610

    We take the situation when the central point is not used, but for example, adjacent to it, but the same cross. In d 610 we have the opportunity to use 6 points (in addition to the central one) on apertures up to f8 and with an EV range of -1. In d7200, we are not able to focus with f8 (if you do not take into account the center point), but we have an EV value of -3. For example, both there and there we have a native dressed 50mm 1.4g

    The question is which of them will be more stable to focus in very low light and why. Thank you in advance.

    ps it is clear that if you use only the center, then d7200 wins

    • Peter Sh.

      Kolya, in a nutshell.
      You need to be able to focus. The ability comes with experience, but it is not at all difficult in comparison with the ability to competently choose an angle and create a composition.
      For example, you can equally well focus in a bad light with both the D610 and D3s.
      So it’s better not to bother yourself with this.

      • Valery A.

        Strongly answered. Not a techie, but a practitioner.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Under normal conditions, the difference will not be noticeable. In difficult conditions it will be different, including the d610 can win, since there is still the very logic of focusing.

    • Kolya

      It’s all clear that experience and pens are more important. The question is precisely in the technical moment. I want to figure out for myself how it works technically and what comes from. If comes.

      For example, 0 EV from this table, at what aperture value? or not such a connection.

      Take for example my situation indirectly, having a d7000 and shooting at night in a club, with sb900, a girl dressed entirely in black, at a height of 28mm 1.8g, the center point often does not catch her at all, because the backlight from the flash is not enough to see. On bright clothes ok, on black and far away I rest against tech. device features. And since such work is not paid as I would like, there is a need to understand where to look at 7200 or 610 (we do not take into account the differences in the size of the matrix and the working ISO)

      That’s the question, if anyone knows for sure, as technologically advanced as possible, share your thoughts :)

      • anonym

        If technosadrotski, then the minimum aperture is not related to the sensitivity and 7200 will be better. The ability to focus on f8 is provided by additional sensors, and the sensitivity of the sensors is just -3EV. And that number is “for no aperture”. But practically anything can be

      • Peter Sh.

        Here the lens is more important. Personally, on D610 and D3s, the old film lenses like 50mm or 85mm f / 1.8D work best in the dark. Or the same old prof. zooms f / 2.8D. Even where g does not want to work at all. I do not know why.

        • Pokemon

          I also met information that the screwdrivers focus more accurately.
          For example, I saw a post (it seems in the photo ru), where a person very much praised 35 / 2D for working in a club in the dark.

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Other algorithms work with AF optics, they scour less and just hit the target. AF-S lenses like to think for a long time, they can slow down the focusing speed in low light, they love to scour. These are the work algorithms for which I answered a little higher.

  • Nicolas

    What a great article, with all the comments included. Over the past 4-5 years, I have often come here to refresh my memory. Question. Time goes by, z6 and z7 came out, they also have phase sensors on the matrix, as I understand it. They also have their own number, working apertures and EV range. Is it possible to organize them and add them to this table.
    ps Arkady, you are doing invaluable work, thanks for having this site - a cheat sheet :)

  • Alexey_S

    Excellent article - reference. Thank you very much for compiling and updating it.

    According to freshly added, I'm not sure that the D780 has a minimum sensitivity of -4.
    Brochures for new cameras (D6 and D780) have already been posted on the Nikon Asian website:
    https://www.nikon-asia.com/en_Asia/learn_and_explore/brochures?Category=learn-and-explore-new&Section=discover-nikon/brochures&Page+Size=100
    and according to the information in the D780

    AF detection range
    (ISO 100, 20˚C / 68˚F)
    • Viewfinder photography: -3 to +19 EV
    • Live view: -5 to +19 EV; -7 to +19 EV with low-light AF;

    Those. the module is the same as in the D750.

    Also found an interesting detail
    The Multi-CAM 1000 module probably differs slightly in implementation between the professional D200 (where it was first introduced) and subsequent amateur cameras.
    The D200 had some tricky group AFs and the ability to select 7 wide AF zones, which was no longer in the next cameras.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Module 1000 is the same, the logic and programming of its operation from camera to camera is different.
      As for the d780, I fixed it, indeed, there from -3 ev as in the d750.

  • Eugene

    Hello.
    I will tell you my experience. Preparing for a long trip on a yacht in the Pacific Ocean (8 months) I bought a SIGMA 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens (NIKON D7100 camera).
    Your floor is swinging 24 hours a day. Focusing quickly is problematic. Selected shutter priority 1/800 or 1/1000. The camera shuts down the aperture to increase the depth of field. You need a fast lens. It was this high-aperture lens that made it possible to focus quickly. Of course I chose the central focus area. Used other lenses - worse. My simple conclusion is that the focusing speed depends on the lens aperture. One drawback of this lens is the weight of 800 grams. Shot thousands of beautiful pictures (landscape and not only).

  • Michael

    Hello. I read that the nikon d7000 has a bad focusing module. Nikon d7000 and d5300 have the same focusing module. And in fact, autofocus works the same for them or is it fixed in the d5300 firmware?

  • Michael

    And is the d7000 d5300 better focusing module than the d5100?

    • B. R. P.

      As for the best module, do not be lazy to look at the total number of focus points and the number of cross points in the plate, at the beginning of the article, it's not difficult.

      • Michael

        I choose from 5300 and 5100 and I want to understand it is worth paying extra and buying 5300 because of the larger number of autofocus points. But the 5300 has the same autofocus module as the 7000, and so I realized that it is not very good.

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