Master focusing FOCUS ON MOVING SUBJECTS
Ensure you get sharp shots every time by using the right focusing modes and techniques for different subjects and situations
Images of moving subjects look more dynamic if the background is blurred and the subject is sharp. You need to use a shutter speed slow enough to give you some blur, and follow the subject so that it stays in the same position in the viewfinder to keep it sharp. This technique takes practice, and requires experimentation with shutter speeds.
CHOSE THE RIGHT AF POINT
If you want to focus on an off-centre subject that isn’t moving around in the frame too much, you might want to manually select the autofocus point that’s closest to the edge you want to focus on. To do this, select single shot AF mode, then use your Nikon’s controls to select the most suitable AF point. This technique is particularly useful for subjects such as portraits, where the subject’s eye is in the same place in the frame for a sequence of shots. Another example is when you want to capture off-centre images of racing cars as they pass the same spot on a track, one after the other.
FOCUS ON STATIC SUBJECTS
Once you’ve selected a focus point over the subject, you need to set the most appropriate autofocus mode. For static subjects, you will usually get the most reliable results by setting your Nikon to single shot autofocus mode. In this mode the camera focuses when you press the shutter release, and won’t refocus until you lift your finger off the button and press it again. This will give you the most accurate focusing, as long as the distance between the subject and camera doesn’t change.
USE MANUAL FOCUS
There are times, such as when you’re shooting with a very shallow depth of field or in low-light conditions, when using autofocus isn’t the best option. In these situations using manual focus will often give you more accurate and reliable results. If you find that you are struggling to accurately focus using the viewfinder, it can be easier to switch to Live View mode, and zoom in on the Live View image in order to gain a much clearer view of the sharpness.
When the subject is moving you need to set up the autofocus mode on your camera to keep it sharp. On Nikon DSLRs, this mode is called continuous AF. Even when using the correct mode, however, it’s still important that you keep the active AF point positioned over the subject for as long as possible. You can do this by moving the camera to track the subject’s movement, rather than waiting for the subject to reach a particular area in the frame. Tracking the subject through the viewfinder in this way, and shooting at the peak of the action, will enable your Nikon to focus much more successfully.