What is the autofocus type in Nikon D3300, Is it phase detection or contrast detection ? Or both ? If both then when is phase detection used and when is contrast detection used ?

I was looking in the below link of the technical specifications of Nikon D3300, there are 2 specifications related to Autofocus

One is


Nikon Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection, 11 focus points (including one cross-type sensor), and AF-assist illuminator (range approx. 0.5-3 m/1 ft 8 in.-9 ft 10 in.)

And the other spec is


Contrast-detect AF anywhere in frame (camera selects focus point automatically when face-priority AF or subject-tracking AF is selected)

Please refer http://www.nikon.co.in/en_IN/product/digital-slr-cameras/d3300#tech_specs


1 Answer 1


Contrast AF in live view,
Phase detection in all other modes.

Once you use live view, the light doesn't reach the AF phase detector in the prism anymore since the mirror is locked up. Nikon does not yet incorporate phase detection on the imaging sensor.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "Nikon does not yet incorporate phase detection on the imaging sensor" - Is that physically possible? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 14:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, you could incorporate the af detection on the chip next to the imaging detection. Or use the detection for both. Canon does this in some(? - at least in the 70D) of their cameras. Follow-up read: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/40494/… \$\endgroup\$
    – kamuro
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 14:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Canon does this in pretty much all interchangeable lens cameras introduced since the 70D was announced in 2013 except the Rebel/xx0D/xxx0D series. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 14:51
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I think Fujifilm was the first to use on-sensor PDAF detectors, with the FinePix F300EXR. Nikon does use this approach on the Nikon 1 mirrorless series, if not their DSLRs. And, it seems that "hybrid AF" is the terminology people are converging on. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ photo.stackexchange.com/questions/71034/… \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 15:29

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