Started Aug 5, 2009 | Discussions thread
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KVirtanen Regular Member • Posts: 201

Probably old news for all the seniors that have used Nikon cameras longer - or for people that just have read the manual more thoroughly than me. Well, here goes, for the sake of sharing information.

(The quick instructions are at the end of the post)

So, I have a f1.4 lens and focusing with it can sometimes be a bit difficult right? Especially manually and in low light. Sure, the AF of the D700 does a wonderful job usually, but even it has problems sometimes.

For example, during fast action (rock concerts, children, cats playing... you name it) with a subject close to the lens the AF motor might gets stressed and really doesn't want to follow the subject or just moves too slowly/to the wrong direction and you would like to pull your hair off. Basically, you feel you'd like to be in control of the focusing servo, but because of the fast paced action you can't see if the subject is in focus or not.

During my days of Canon shooting (dodges the flying spears and arrows) I had a nice focusing assistant, digital rangefinder I guess somebody called it, in my camera that quite simply made a beeping sound whenever the subject was in focus at the selected focus point. It also flashed the selected focus point in a fancy manner.

Well, now that I look in the viewfinder of my D700, there's this "focus confirmation sphere" lurking at the bottom with those arrows flanking it and while it's accurate and nice to have, I really quite honestly don't have time to stare it.

I wish my D700 made a beeping sound so I wouldn't have to stare at the sphere.

It just so happens, that I noticed something even better just by combining the custom settings of my D700 creatively. The requirements:

  • 1. A2 custom function: AF-S priority: 'Focus', so the camera only takes a shot when the subject in the selected focus point is in focus.

  • 2. A5 custom function: 'AF activation: AF-ON only': So that half-pressing the shutter release button wouldn't do anything.

  • 3. Lens focusing mode: AF (don't know if this works with MF lenses): So that the first requirement would be met. It is ' AF-S priority after all.

What you can do now is just hold the shutter release pressed, rotate the focusing barrel on the lens and as soon as the subject comes to focus, the camera instantly takes a picture. Way better than waiting for the beep! Combine this with the fast continuous shooting mode for even better results.

I wonder if somebody could test this out with some nice Ai-s MF lens?


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