Nikon D3300: Autofocusing with Still Subjects

For shooting stationary subjects with your Nikon D3300, the fastest, most precise autofocus option is to pair the AF-S (single-servo) Focus mode with the Single Point AF-area mode. The symbols you see in the figure 5-10 represent these settings in the Information display.

Select these autofocus settings for stationary subjects.
Select these autofocus settings for stationary subjects.

After selecting these options, follow these steps to focus:

  1. Use the Multi Selector to select a focus point.

    To see which point is selected, press the shutter button halfway and release it. The active point briefly turns red. Use the Multi Selector to cycle through the points until the one you want to lights up. (It remains lit only for a second.)

  2. Press the shutter button halfway to set focus.

    When focus is achieved, the camera displays a green focus light in the viewfinder, as shown in the figure. Unless you’re using the Quiet Shutter release mode, you also hear a beep. (You can disable the sound through the Beep option on the Setup menu.)

    In addition, the Shots Remaining value at the right end of the viewfinder changes to show you how many frames can fit in the memory buffer (24 in the the figure). This number is important only if you set the Release mode to Continuous.

    Focus remains locked as long as you keep the shutter button pressed halfway. If you’re using autoexposure (any exposure mode but M), the initial exposure settings are also chosen at the moment you press the shutter button halfway, but they’re adjusted as needed up to the time you take the shot.

    In M mode, the meter indicates the camera’s take on your exposure settings but doesn’t fool with those settings even if it thinks they’re way off base.

    The camera won’t take the picture until focus is achieved and the green focus indicator light
    The camera won’t take the picture until focus is achieved and the green focus indicator lights up.
  3. Press the shutter button the rest of the way.

If needed, you can position your subject outside a focus point. Just compose the scene initially so that your subject is under a point, press the shutter button halfway to lock focus, and then reframe.

However, if you’re using autoexposure, you may want to lock focus and exposure together before you reframe, by pressing the AE-L/AF-L button. Otherwise, exposure is adjusted to match the new framing, which may not work well for your subject.

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