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Strange AF behaviour (Nikon D3)

Posted: 29 Jan 2020, 12:17
by bluebird
Some strange AF behaviour occurs with Nikon D3 - focus "shifts" when pressing the release tile (button) in qDslrDashboard resulting in unsharp images! Why this??? Please help,what I'm doing wrong?

My camera settings:
Camera focus mode is set to "AF-S",
AF aera mode set to "single point AF mode",
Live View mode set to "tripod" with release mode "single frame".

First, everything works fine: I'm able to focus properly, placing the AF focus field (the green square) wherever I want and getting the aera sharp that I want to be sharp (short press on "AF" button in qDslrDashbord).
But: when now pressing the release button, qDslrDahboard seems to lose focus somehow and delivers me an unsharp image. There's only one way to prevent this behaviour: after focusing I have to turn the camera-focus-mode-switch on my D3 from "AF-S" to "M" just before pressing the release button in qDslrDashboard. Of course, this is no reasonable turnaround as I do not want to touch the camera when using qDslrDashboard.

Problem occurs both running qDslrDashboard on PC/Windows 10 and Android (with Noika 7.2 and USB OTG Adapter)
Any suggestions what to do? Thank you very much for your help, I'm grateful for any advice.

Re: Strange AF behaviour (Nikon D3)

Posted: 29 Jan 2020, 15:21
by bluebird
I've found this statement from Zoltan written here in the 'thoughts discussion' on qdd v2.04 release.
Zoltan Hubai
2015-02-03 at 14:59

Will check for the next version, the problem with the D3 and D300 is that they are older models and don’t have the focus mode property and this means the camera would always perform an auto focus before capture. Every Nikon DSLR does AF before capture, only if the focus mode is set to MF then the camera will not do AF. As the D3 and D300 does not have the focus mode property qDD can’t change the focus mode to MF before capture (to prevent AF). If MF is set on camera (or on lens) then the manual focus movement will not work in live view. A user with a D300 did some test and he wrote this to me:
The D300 needs to be set to AF-C focus mode.
Then enter the autofocus options menu and set af-c priority to release.
This stops the camera from attempting to refocus when the shutter is activated.

Can you try this?


Probably this has sth. to do with my problem. I tried as requested (AF-C, af-c priority set to 'release') but still get unsharp images. Obviously this settings do not prevent D3 to do AF in LV Mode. So what to do? As this is from 2015 ... are there any newer suggestions to prevent Nikon D3 to refocus by capture?

Re: Strange AF behaviour (Nikon D3)

Posted: 29 Jan 2020, 17:58
by bluebird
OK - i've spent another 2 hours on this and got a solution that works for me. Perhaps some of you can profite from this though D3 is a damn old lady so only the steadfastest are still in love with her (including me :-)

How to prevent Nikon D3 to refocus by shutter release in qDD

1. Set AF focus mode to "AF-C" (the switch above the FX logo down right at the camera's front)
2. Enter autofocus menu and set 'AF-C priority' (a1) to 'release'.
3. Enter shooting menu, go to 'live view' options and set
a) 'live view mode' option to 'tripod' and
b) 'release mode' option to Cl (continuous low) or CH (continuous high)
4. In qDD:
a) point the green AF field square to the spot that's intended to be sharp
b) point the "AF" button (tile) from the left side tools panel short, so focus can take place (if you
press the button too long it gets painted fully red indicating camera will refocus on release - so
pay attention and prevent this / AF button should not be red)
c) hit release button above (the tile with the camera symbol). With in-camera LV release mode
setting to CL or CH the qDD release button will turn permanently red once you hit it first (pay
attention to this - if not red the camera will refocus when shutter is activated / release button's symbol
should be red to prevent refocusing).

Hope you'll get through with this.

Re: Strange AF behaviour (Nikon D3)

Posted: 30 Jan 2020, 12:04
by dslr
even if qdd doesn't know the focus mode and tries to focus each time the shutter release button is pressed, the nikon camera should not take the photo when in af-s FOCUS PRIORITY, ie it won't trigger unless it can establish focus...
(assuming there's no focusing problem with the camera, prob a qdd bug somehow...may even be a design issue instead of an implementation problem, ie shouldn't be switching to MF mode...should be behaving like the camera operates)

by default, when in af-c continuous mode, the camera will take the photo even when it's out of focus, ie it'll trigger without establishing focus...can set it to 'focus' instead of 'release' mode to force it to release only if focus is established

in any case, have you tried the 'back button focus' technique, ie reassign focus to the AF-ON button instead of the shutter release button (can be in any af, af-c, dynamic, etc)...

a1 - a10: Autofocus

How to Get Here

Press MENU, go to the left and select up and down to the pencil icon. You'll then see CUSTOM SETTING MENU on the color LCD. Click down to a AUTOFOCUS and click to the right.

What it Does

It sets many options for the advanced AF system.

a1 AF-C priority selection

At default, this lets you take fuzzy action pictures.

At the default "Release" setting, the D3 will fire anytime you press the shutter in AF-C mode, regardless of if it's in focus. Nikon's cameras usually can't run at their advertised frame rates and stay in focus at the same time.

At the default Release setting, most of your sequences will be out of focus! Set it to "Focus" instead and the D3 only will fire when it's in focus, ensuring a sharp sequence.


The default mode, this lets the D3 free-run at 5 or 8 FPS, whether or not it's in focus. In this mode often only the first few shots of a sequence are in focus.

Release + focus


This makes the D3 wait until it's in perfect focus before firing any shot.

a2 AF-S priority selection

At the default setting, the D3 only fires after getting perfect focus. Nikon call this "Focus Priority." It's the opposite of the default for AF-C mode, which lets the D3 fire at any time.

a5 AF activation

This allows the AF system to ignore the shutter button.


In its default position, the AF system turns on when you press the shutter or the AF-ON button on the back.

AF-ON only

The D3 won't focus when you press the shutter. It only focuses when you press the AF-ON button on the back.