Fo­cus­ing

The fo­cus op­tions avail­able on Nikons can be be­wil­der­ing, but there is method in the mad­ness – let us ex­plain…

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

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Lock the fo­cus and re­frame

If your sub­ject is off-cen­tre in the frame, you can move the aut­o­fo­cus point to line up with it – but most of the time it’s quicker to stay with the cen­tre AF point, place that over the sub­ject and half-press the shut­ter but­ton to lock the fo­cus. Re­frame the shot how you wanted it and press the but­ton the rest of the way to take the pic­ture.

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Cen­tre your AF point

If you’re us­ing man­ual fo­cus point se­lec­tion and you’ve moved the AF point off-cen­tre to pho­to­graph a par­tic­u­lar sub­ject, it’s a nui­sance to have to keep click­ing the navipad but­tons to bring it back to the cen­tre when you’ve fin­ished. Hap­pily, you don’t have to! Just click the OK but­ton to cen­tre the AF point au­to­mat­i­cally.

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Lock your AF point

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It’s also a nui­sance to find the AF point has moved and the wrong part of your im­age is the sharpest just be­cause you’ve ac­ci­den­tally pressed the navipad but­tons. Some Nikon D-SLRs, such as the D300s, have a lock­ing switch around the navipad; if you flick this switch to the ‘L’ po­si­tion, the fo­cus point po­si­tion is locked.

Why not Auto area AF?

Auto Area AF is fine for when you’re shoot­ing from the hip be­cause it au­to­mat­i­cally se­lects the fo­cus point – and most of the time it’s right, be­cause it chooses the one over the ob­ject near­est the cam­era, which is most of­ten the thing you’ll want to fo­cus on. Where it breaks down is if you want to fo­cus on some­thing dif­fer­ent.

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Fo­cus in Live View

Fo­cus­ing in Live View is cer­tainly slower than it is when us­ing the viewfinder, but it has ad­van­tages, es­pe­cially when you’re us­ing a tri­pod. You can place the fo­cus point where you like in the frame, and you can zoom right in to check the fine de­tail, which is es­pe­cially use­ful for shoot­ing close-ups and still life sub­jects.

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Get up close

The min­i­mum fo­cus dis­tance on almost all zoom lenses is con­stant across the zoom range, so if you want to fill the frame with a small sub­ject, use the max­i­mum zoom set­ting. The stan­dard Nikon 18-55mm kit lens has a 3x zoom range, so at full zoom you can shoot from the same dis­tance, but ob­jects will be 3x large in the frame.

Live View might be slower for fo­cus­ing, but it’s ideal for check­ing sharp­ness at 100%

For off-cen­tre sub­jects, it’s of­ten quicker to fo­cus and re-com­pose than to move the aut­o­fo­cus point

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