The Nikon focusing system is well known for its speed and accuracy. The automatic focus modes will give you a ton of flexibility in your shooting. There is, however, one small problem inherent with any focusing system. No matter how intelligent it is, the camera is looking at all of the subjects in the scene and noting which is closest to the camera. It then uses this information to determine where the proper focus point should be. It has no way of knowing what your main emphasis is, so it is using a “best guess” system. To eliminate this factor, you should set the camera to single-point focusing so that you can ensure that you are focusing on the most important feature in the scene.
The camera has 39 separate focus points to choose from. They are arranged in a grid, but I always like to start by selecting the focus point in the center. Once you have become more familiar with the focus system, you can experiment with the other points, as well as the automatic point selection.
You should also change the focus mode to AF-S so that you can focus on your subject and then recompose your shot while holding that point of focus.
Setting the focus point and focus mode
- To choose a single point of focus, wake the camera (if necessary) by lightly pressing the shutter release button.
- Press and hold the AF-mode button on the front of the camera near the lens, using your left thumb. Now rotate the Command dial to select AF-S (Singleservo AF) mode. This mode is used for photographing stationary objects but can be used in some motion shots as well.
The camera is now ready for single focusing. You will know if your subject is in focus by pressing the shutter button halfway while watching for the in-focus indicator to appear in the viewfinder. (Please review page 38 of your manual for a visual.) To focus on your subject and then recompose your shot, just place the focus point in the viewfinder on your subject, depress the shutter release button halfway until the in-focus indicator appears, and without letting up on the shutter button, recompose your shot and then press the shutter button all the way down to make your exposure (Figure 1.5).