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Selecting a Live View Focusing Target with a Nikon D7000

Through the AF-area mode, you give the Nikon D7000's autofocusing system instructions on what part of the frame contains your subject so that it can more easily set the focusing distance correctly. You can view the current AF-area mode setting at the top of the monitor when you use the Photo Information and Movie Information display styles.

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You use almost the same techniques to change this setting as you do to adjust the Autofocus mode option:

  • AF mode button + Sub-command dial: Press the button while rotating the Sub-command dial to cycle through the available settings. Remember, rotating the Main command dial adjusts the Autofocus mode setting instead.

  • Live View/Movie AF menu option: This option is found in the Autofocus section of the Custom Setting menu.

As with the Autofocus mode, the Live View AF-area mode options are different than the ones available for viewfinder photography. For Live View photography and movie recording, you can choose from the following settings:

  • Face Priority: Designed for portrait shooting, this mode attempts to hunt down and focus on faces. Face Detection typically works only when your subjects are facing the camera, however. If the camera can't detect a face, it focuses on whatever is at the center of the frame.

  • Wide Area: In this mode, you use the Multi Selector to move a little rectangular focusing frame around the screen to specify your desired focusing spot. (The red rectangle you see is the Wide Area focusing frame.)

  • Normal Area: This mode works the same way as Wide Area autofocusing but uses a smaller focusing frame. The idea is to enable you to base focus on a very specific area. With such a small focusing frame, however, you can easily miss your focus target when handholding the camera. If you move the camera slightly as you’re setting focus and the focusing frame shifts off your subject as a result, focus will be incorrect. So for best results, use a tripod in this mode.

  • Subject Tracking: This mode tracks a subject as it moves through the frame and is designed for focusing on a moving subject. But note that Subject Tracking isn't always as successful as you might hope. For a subject that occupies only a small part of the frame, autofocus may lose its way. Ditto for subjects moving at a face pace, subjects getting larger or smaller in the frame (when moving toward you and then away from you, for example), or scenes in which not much contrast exists between the subject and the background. Oh, and scenes in which there's a great deal of contrast can create problems, too. When the conditions are right, it works well, but otherwise, the Wide Area setting gives you a better chance of focusing on a moving subject.

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