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Nikon D700 User's Guide:
Custom Setting Menu: Autofocus

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Nikon D700

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August 2008    Top of D700 Users Guide    D700 Review    More Nikon Reviews


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a1 - a10: 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 a3, and leave the rest at their defaults.

a1 AF-C priority selection        top

At default, this lets you take fuzzy action pictures.

At the default "Release" setting, the D700 will fire anytime you press the shutter in AF-C mode, regardless of if it's in focus. Nikon's cameras usually can't run at their advertised frame rates and stay in focus at the same time.

At the default Release setting, most of your sequences will be out of focus! Set it to "Focus" instead and the D700 only will fire when it's in focus, ensuring a sharp sequence.

Release: The default mode, this lets the D700 free-run at 5 or 8 FPS, whether or not it's in focus. In this mode often only the first few shots of a sequence are in focus.

Release + focus: I use this. It's a halfway setting. It makes the D700 slow down and get most action shots in focus.

Focus: This makes the D700 wait until it's in perfect focus before firing any shot.

Because it waits for focus you can shoot long bursts and they'll all be in focus, but I find its too picky than the Release + Focus mode.

See also How to Use the D700 AF System.

a2 AF-S priority selection        top

At the default setting, the D700 only fires after getting perfect focus. Nikon call this "Focus Priority." It's the opposite of the default for AF-C mode, which lets the D700 fire at any time.

If you use off-brand or defective lenses that can't get the green focus confirmation dot in the lower left of the finder to light, the D700 won't fire. If you have a problem with this you might want to take this off the default setting.

Focus (Default): D700 only fires after it's gotten and locked perfect focus.

Release: D700 fires anytime you press the shutter, regardless of if it's in focus or not. Try this setting if your D700 seems to lock up with some lenses.

See also How to Use the D700 AF System.

a3 Dynamic AF Area       top

There is a lot of crazy stuff here. I use 51 Points (3D-tracking) which lets the D700, in the crosshair and AF-C modes, track a target and show you what its doing. See How to Use the D700 AF System for more.

a4 Focus Tracking with lock-on        top

This selects how long the D700 focus tracking system waits to start looking for the subject if it loses it behind a tree or person. This only applies in the AF-C (continuous) AF position.

I leave this alone.

Long: The D700 presumes the subject has run behind something big, like a billboard, if it loses it. The AF system keeps running without it for a while, expecting the subject to return on the same path from before. In LONG the AF system has a lot of patience for subjects disappearing.

Normal (default): The D700 presumes the subject has run behind something like a tree or another player if it loses it. The AF system keeps running without it for a little while, expecting the subject to return on the same path from before.

Short: The D700 has little patience for subjects evaporating. It doesn't wait very long after it loses your subject to start looking for it again from scratch.

Off: The D700 wastes no time tracking. If it loses your subject it immediately starts looking around again. You might want to use this if you're shooting a bunch of fixed things at varying distances one after another, but I use AF-S for that.

I've never moved this setting from its default of Normal.

a5 AF activation       top

This allows the AF system to ignore the shutter button.

Shutter/AF-ON: In its default position, the AF system turns on when you press the shutter or the AF-ON button on the back.

AF-ON only: The D700 won't focus when you press the shutter. It only focuses when you press the AF-ON button on the back.

I've never used this. It might be helpful with an AF telephoto that lacks easy manual override. You'd use the AF button to focus, and remove your finger to lock.

a6 AF Point Illumination        top

This controls when, or if, the AF points light up in the finder.

Auto: Default; they light up as they need to. I leave it here.

ON: Always on (when the meter is on).

OFF: Always off.

a7 Focus point wrap-around       top

AF point selection normally stops when you hit the edge of the constellation of AF areas.

No wrap (default): If you keep pressing the selector to the left it stops at the far left. I prefer it this way.

Wrap: Wrap lets your selection wrap around to the other side of the AF areas!

a8 AF point selection       top

AF51 (default): You may select any of the 51 AF points.

AF11: You only get to select 11 of the points. You don't have to click around as much with the Big Rear Thumb Switch, but you only get to select 11 of the 51 points. These 11 points are similar to the 11 points of the D2, F6, and D200.

a9 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.

a10 AF-ON for MB-D10        top

This lets you choose what the AF-ON button does if you have an MB-D10 grip when shooting vertically.


My D700 User's Guide continues below.

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          a Autofocus

          b Metering/Exposure < < NEXT

          c Timers/AE&AF Lock

          d Shooting/Display

          e Bracketing/Flash

          f Controls




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