Anyone at all who follows my little blog knows I typically have a lot to say about any subject, however, lately, I haven't felt like saying much at all. There's work to be done, and the D300 it focusing well now, so I haven't had cause to complain. In truth, I should be complimenting that little bugger. It's robust, produces amazing colors, exposes photos generally well, if a little on the light side (I think the shutter is slowing down now), and offers adjustments for almost every possible feature a person can think of... except... fully-customizable AF points. There should be more AF point options. Like a diamond-shaped box of points, a straight-line of points, or three vertical lines of points. My point being, simply having 51 schizo points in a 3D self-predicting matrix, or 51 "dumb" points, or 21 or 9, all arranged in rectangular orientations, is not adequate.
My first digital camera had just one AF point. My first DSLR, an old Canon D60, had three. My Konica-Minolta 7D bodies had 11, but some were wider than others, which worked better for diagonally-framed panned shots of cars. The D300 takes the cake for the body with the most useless AF points. Only the 9 in the center are super-sensitive cross points, able to pick up both vertical and horizontal lines for contrast. The other 42 points are like an NFL team's Special Teams unit. Sure, they're useful occasionally, but if you depend on them to win the game you're going to be sorely disappointed.
What I find myself doing, is simply using only one point. Period. Why? Because I control it fully. It doesn't migrate around the image, choosing semi-random spots based on similar contrast and brightness to the original focus point. Nor, do I ever have to wonder "Did I nail the focus on that critical image? Should I shoot it again?". Light is fleeting. Doing what I do involves shooting cars at sunset or sunrise, in sometimes less than optimal conditions, and doing so in a rapid manner. Reshooting photos because the 3D-Tracking 51-point AF mode missed the key point in the photograph is silly and time-consuming, which then wastes light I can never get back. Does this make me a control freak? I sure hope so!
The next time you go to purchase a camera, ask yourself, does it have the capability to focus EXACTLY where I need it to focus, time after time? You'll find you'll be making far better photos with a camera with just one AF sensor, than a camera with one hundred!