How to Focus Manually on the Nikon D7500 Camera

By Julie Adair King

Some subjects confuse even the most sophisticated autofocusing systems, causing the autofocus motor to spend a long time hunting for a focus point. Animals behind fences, reflective objects, water, and low-contrast subjects are just some of the autofocus troublemakers. Autofocus systems also struggle in dim lighting, although that difficulty is often offset by the AF-assist lamp, which shoots out a beam of light to help the camera find its focusing target.

When you encounter situations that cause an autofocus hang-up, you can try adjusting the autofocus options discussed earlier in this chapter. But often, it’s easier and faster to switch to manual focusing. For the best results, follow these manual-focusing steps:

  1. Adjust the viewfinder to your eyesight.

    If you don’t adjust the viewfinder, scenes that are in focus may appear blurry, and vice versa. If you haven’t already done so, look through the viewfinder and rotate the little dial near its upper-right corner. As you do, the viewfinder data and the AF-area brackets become more or less sharp. (Press the shutter button halfway to wake up the meter if you don’t see any data in the viewfinder.)
  2. Set the lens and camera to manual focusing.

    First, move the focus-method switch on the lens to the manual position. Next, set the camera to manual focusing by setting the Focus-mode switch on the front-left side of the camera to M.

  3. Select a focus point.

    Technically speaking, you don’t have to choose a focus point for manual focusing; the camera focuses according to the position you set by turning the focusing ring. However, choosing a focus point offers two benefits: First, the camera displays the same focus-achieved symbol in the viewfinder as when you autofocus, and that feedback is based on the selected focus point. Second, if you use spot metering, an exposure option covered in Chapter 4, exposure is metered on the selected focus point.

    Select a focus point for manual focusing the same way you do when autofocusing: Press the Multi Selector right, left, up, or down to select a point. Again, you may need to press the shutter button halfway to display the points. Also make sure that the Focus-selector lock switch is set to the unlock position.

  4. Frame the shot so that your subject is under the selected focus point.
  5. Press and hold the shutter button halfway to initiate exposure metering.
  6. Rotate the focusing ring on the lens to bring the subject into focus.

    When focus is set on the object under the focus point, the focus dot in the viewfinder lights. If you see a triangle in that part of the display instead, focus is set in front of or behind the object in the focus point.
  7. Press the shutter button the rest of the way to take the shot.

Focusing manually can be intimidating. But if you practice a little, you’ll find that it’s really no big deal and saves you the time and aggravation of trying to bend the autofocus system to your will when it has “issues.”