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Nikon Technology

Enhanced AF performance with the Multi-CAM 20K

The Multi-CAM 20K is an intelligent, high-performance autofocus (AF) sensor module providing Nikon DSLR cameras with even wider and more accurate AF coverage.

Nikon D5 Multi-CAM 20K AF Sensor Module

Nikon D500 Multi-CAM 20K AF Sensor Module

How does the Multi-CAM 20K work?

The Multi-CAM 20K introduces a class-leading AF system of 153 focus points. This configuration creates a huge web of focus points that tracks moving subjects even more intelligently and effectively.

99 of these focus points are cross-type sensors that provide superior focus acquisition and are spread across the central and peripheral areas. Such wide coverage minimises focus errors, providing photographers with an extensive reach across all sides of the frame.

Furthermore, 55 out of these 153 focus points are selectable, allowing photographers to customise AF performance based on individual shooting styles and preferences.

This new AF system further enhances the DSLR’s AF-area modes. New, smaller focus points achieve pinpoint focus, while the increased number of focus points densely covers each AF area, enhancing subject acquisition during auto-area, single-point, dynamic-area, group-area AF and 3D-tracking.

Auto-area AF
•  The DSLR intelligently and automatically detects subjects, focusing on them accurately even during high-speed shooting.
•  The camera identifies the major subject automatically using all 153 points and achieves focus, prioritising portrait subjects through effective face detection capabilities.
•  This mode allows the photographer to concentrate more on composition and capturing the perfect shot, making it well-suited for free-moving subjects like ice-skaters or running children.

Single-point AF
•  The camera achieves focus around a selected point determined by a photographer, honing in on a specific subject. This can come in handy when capturing portraits with a lens that provides a very shallow depth of field, such as the AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED.

Dynamic-area AF
•  Dynamic-area AF tracks a moving subject around a single focus point, utilising surrounding points to continuously focus on a particular subject (areas covered by 25, 72 or 153 points). It is optimised to capture erratic movement typical of wildlife or sports photography, where tracking a subject with one focus point can be challenging.

Group-area AF
•  The AF system can be configured to recognise the subject as an “area”, with a central selected point and the surrounding ones as a group. This would be most useful for following unpredictable movement across the entire frame with multiple focus points.
3D –tracking
•  The DSLR intelligently follows the subject, automatically changing focus points across all 153 as the subject moves, when the shutter-release button is pressed halfway. 3D-tracking is usually used when combining creative composition with moving subjects.

New features

What makes the Multi-CAM 20K truly peerless is its cooperation with a dedicated AF engine to provide for impressive AF performance.  A new algorithm in the AF sensor, together with a dedicated AF engine, speeds up calculations by handling them in parallel, providing more accurate focusing and more stable tracking, especially when capturing fast-moving subjects with high-speed continuous shooting.

Low-light performance & accuracy
•  The Multi-CAM 20K also advances AF performance in low light with the ability to focus down to -4 EV* at the central focus point, and -3 EV across all other AF points*, far exceeding the capabilities of the human eye.

•  When paired with the extensive native ISO ranges of the FX and DX-format flagships, the Multi-CAM 20K enables the camera to pursue and capture a wide range of subjects in shooting environments that would otherwise pose a challenge to most cameras.

*At ISO 100 and 20°C/68°F

What do they mean for photographers?

From wildlife at dusk to indoor sports, the Multi-CAM 20K accurately tracks and captures subjects with a dense spread of focus points throughout the frame. It is this unrivalled precision, paired with outstanding low-light performance, that makes a Nikon DSLR well-equipped to handle any photography situation.