Compose Pictures with the Nikon D7200's Viewfinder in Auto Modes - dummies

Compose Pictures with the Nikon D7200’s Viewfinder in Auto Modes

By Julie Adair King

Your Nikon D7200 camera offers point-and-shoot simplicity through its Auto exposure mode. Just for good measure, you also get Auto Flash Off mode, which works just like Auto mode but disables flash — a great option for shooting locations that don’t permit flash.

When you use the viewfinder to compose photos, follow these steps to take a picture:

1Set the Mode dial to Auto or Auto Flash Off.

The two modes are identical except that Auto Flash Off disables the built-in flash. In Auto mode, the flash is set by default to fire if the camera thinks added light is needed. Remember to press and hold the Mode dial unlock button before rotating the Mode dial.

2Set the Release Mode dial to the S position.

The S represents the Single Frame setting, which captures one photo each time you fully press the shutter button. Again, you can’t rotate the Release Mode dial without holding down its unlock button.

3Set the focus-method switches on the camera and lens to the autofocus position.

If your lens offers Vibration Reduction, set the VR switch to On, as shown in the figure, if you’re not using a tripod. Vibration Reduction helps compensate for camera shake that can blur a photo.

4Looking through the viewfinder, compose the shot so that your subject is within the autofocus brackets.

The camera’s autofocusing points are scattered throughout the area indicated by the brackets.

5Press and hold the shutter button halfway down.

Exposure metering begins. The autoexposure meter analyzes the light and selects the initial exposure settings. The camera continues monitoring the light up to the time you take the picture, however, and may adjust the exposure settings if lighting conditions change. In Auto mode, the built-in flash pops up if the camera thinks additional light is needed.

In Auto Flash Off mode, the camera may need to use a very high ISO setting or very slow shutter speed to expose the photo. A high ISO can create noise, a defect that makes your picture look grainy, and a slow shutter speed can produce blur if either the camera or subject moves during the exposure. If you spot either problem, switch to Auto mode or add some other light source.

The autofocus system begins to do its thing. The AF-assist lamp may shoot out a beam of light to help the autofocusing system find a focusing target. One or more rectangles, representing focus points, flash red in the viewfinder to show you where the camera is trying to set focus — usually on the object closest to the lens.

The shots remaining value changes to display the buffer capacity. Again, the buffer is a temporary storage tank where the camera stores picture data until it has time to record that data to the memory card. You don’t need to worry about this number (21, in the figure) when using the Single Frame Release mode; the buffer comes into play only during continuous (burst) mode shooting.

6Check the focus indicators in the viewfinder.

When the camera has established focus, a single black focus point appears, as shown. At the bottom of the viewfinder, the focus indicator, labeled in the figure, lights to give you further notice that focus has been achieved.

If the subject isn’t moving, autofocus remains locked as long as you hold the shutter button halfway down. But if the camera detects subject motion, it adjusts focus up to the time you press the button fully to record the picture. As your subject moves, keep it within the autofocus brackets to ensure correct focusing.

A triangle to the right or left of the spot where the focus dot should appear means that focus isn’t yet spot on. If the triangle is pointing right, focus is set in front of the subject; if the triangle points left, focus is set behind the subject. And if both triangles blink, the autofocus system is stymied, so switch to manual focusing or release the shutter button and press halfway again to try refocusing.

7Press the shutter button the rest of the way down to record the image.

If the camera refuses to take the picture, don’t panic: This error is likely related to autofocusing. By default, the camera insists on achieving focus before it releases the shutter to take a picture. You can press the shutter button all day, and the camera just ignores you if it can’t set focus.

Try backing away from your subject a little — you may be exceeding the minimum focusing distance of the lens. If that doesn’t work, the subject just may not be conducive to autofocusing. Highly reflective objects, scenes with very little contrast, and subjects behind fences are some of the troublemakers. The easiest solution? Switch to manual focusing and set focus yourself.

While the camera sends the image data to the memory card, the memory card access lamp lights. Don’t turn off the camera or remove the memory card while the lamp is lit or else you may damage both camera and card.