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D5000 User's Guide:
Custom Setting Menu: Autofocus
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a1 - a4: Autofocus
How to Get Here
Press MENU, go to the left and select up and down to the pencil icon. You'll then see CUSTOM SETTING MENU on the color LCD. Click down to a AUTOFOCUS and click to the right.
What it Does
It sets many options for the advanced AF system.
What I Change
I change a1 and leave the rest at their defaults.
a1 AF Area Mode top
This selects how the D5000 uses its 11 AF areas.
See How to Use the D5000 AF System for more details.
[ o ] Single Point
You pick the point with the Rear Multi-Controller, and the D5000 uses it.
It won't move.
Use this for fixed compositions where you need to focus on something behind a distraction in the foreground, like this shot:
Baby Katie's first real food.
[ x ] Dynamic area
You pick a point, and the D5000 will magically (and secretly) choose others if the subject moves.
This is a more primitive version of 3D tracking, below. I wouldn't use this on the D5000; it's here for old-timers.
[ xxx ] Auto area (default)
I use this most of the time.
The D5000 magically locates your subject and focuses.
Use this for sports, or to focus with a sensor and have the D5000 magically move the sensor and keep if on your subject as you recompose!
You pick an AF area, and the D5000 magically tracks it as it moves up, down, left, right and forward and back, or if you move the camera.
It really works, and you can see the sensor moving around in the finder!
a2 Built-in AF-assist illuminator top
This lets you deactivate the annoying AF assist light.
Normally it comes on in the dark to help focus. Turn off the AF assist light if you want to keep a lower profile shooting in restaurants.
a3 Live View Autofocus top
This controls how AF works in Live view.
AF doesn't work very well — or very fast — in any mode. It's the D5000's problem, not yours.
a4 Rangefinder top
Set to ON, the viewfinder's bar graph moves around to tell you how far and in what direction you are out-of-focus when focusing manually.
I leave this ON.
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