Nikon F6 Auto Focus by Jim Schinner, Jr.

The Nikon F6 has many amazing features. There’s one that often gets overlooked, the autofocus. Perhaps this is because those who continue to shoot film tend to take photographs over which they have complete control, i.e., the ability to meticulously set-up the shot, and with a stationary subject.

This is great for landscapes, photoshoots with co-operative human subjects, still-life images and the like. But what if we throw pets, kids, airshows, and other fast-moving subjects in to the mix? Most people would say “That’s what digital is for!” While for most people, digital has replaced film in these areas, I am not “most people.” I am a film photographer; I started on film in 1989, and am still committed to film-only photography. Whether it’s my dogs zooming around the back yard, my nephew running around playing, or aviation photography, I am glad I have the autofocus ability of the Nikon F6.

In the video Getting The Most From Your Nikon F5, Joe McNally states that the F5’s Multi-Cam 1300 autofocus sensor can track an object 66 feet way, going 200 mph, using a 300mm lens. The Multi-Cam 2000 autofocus sensor, in the F6, is newer, has more focus points, and should be at least as fast as the Multi-Cam 1300. I decided to test the autofocus of the F6, at eight frames per second. (An MB-40 battery pack/vertical grip lives on all of my F6 cameras.) I went out a relatively local train station, where lots of people come to photograph trains.

The above images were shot with a Nikon F6, with a Nikkor 70-200mm F/2.8 G VRII lens, and Ektachrome 100 film (shot at EI 80). I used F/2.8, of the three close-ups of the locomotive cab, and F/3.5 for the images of the cargo container.

The images of the cargo container I picked-up, right as the train went past, rather than tracking it as it came down the track. For the pictures of the locomotive, I waited as it approached, and then as it filled the frame at 200 mm, I let three shots, at eight frames per second. In both cases, I think the F6 did a fine job tracking the subject and delivering nice, sharp images. 

If you have an F6, try some action photography. Who knows, you might find yet another feature of the Nikon F6 to love.  

I would like to thank John Crane for creating and maintaining The F6 Project, and for allowing me to contribute to it.

I would like to thank Jim for being willing to contribute to the F6 Project. If there’s anyone else out there with interesting content created with the Nikon F6 please reach out and say hello. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading, John B. Crane