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Ritz Camera


Nikon D200 User's Guide
© 2006 KenRockwell.com

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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 leave a2 - a10 at their defaults.

a1 AF-C Mode Priority: This sets whether or not the D200 can fire if it's not in perfect focus in the AF-C (continuous AF) mode.

At the default "FPS" setting the D200 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 FPS setting most of your sequences may be out of focus! Set it to "Focus" instead and the D200 only will fire when it's in focus, ensuring a sharp sequence.

FPS Rate: The default mode, FPS Rate, lets the D200 run at 5 FPS, whether or not it's in focus. In this mode often only the first few shots of a sequence are in focus!

FPS Rate + AF: This is a halfway setting. It makes the D200 slow down a little hoping to get more shots in focus.

Focus: I use this setting. It makes the D200 wait until it's in focus before firing each shot. It saves me from having to delete all the fuzzy ones. Because it waits for focus you can shoot long bursts and they'll all be in focus. The D200 slows down a bit in this mode, but who cares about more shots if they're out of focus?

a2 AF-S Mode Priority: At the default setting the D200 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 D200 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 D200 won't fire.

If you have a problem with this you might want to take this off the default setting.

Focus (Default): D200 only fires after it's gotten and locked perfect focus.

Release: D200 fires anytime you press the shutter, regardless of if it's in focus or not. Try this setting if your D200 seems to lock up with some lenses.

a3 Focus Area Frame rearranges the AF areas from 11 small ones to 7 bigger ones. I use the default of 11 small ones.

Normal Frame: 11 small AF sensors.

Wide Frame: 7 bigger AF sensors. This setting may be helpful for moving subjects. I've always gotten great results from the default of 11. If you have more than one thing inside one of the big AF areas weird things may happen.

a4 Group Dynamic AF I never use this.

This function is selected at the diamond position on the rear Focus Area Mode Selector Switch. This menu only modifies what happens in that position of that switch.

If you've selected this position, this menu lets you select giving priority to the center of each group of AF sensors (faster), or letting the camera identify and choose the sensor with the closest part of the subject in it (slower).

More confusing, there are two sets of patterns for this mode. They are selected by pressing the center of the big rear thumb switch after you've selected the center group.

This menu lets you select which mode (center or closest) is applied for each group. You can select this separately for each of the two patterns which are selected via the center button of the thumbswitch.

Sound confusing? It is. Ignore it. I never use the Group AF mode.

a5 Lock-On controls how long the D200 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 D200 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 D200 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 D200 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 D200 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.

a6 AF Activation allows the AF system to ignore the shutter button.

In its default position the AF system turns on when you press the shutter.

You would use this setting if you preferred the D200 only focus when you press the dedicated AF 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.

a7 AF Area Illumination controls when or if the AF areas light up in the finder.

I leave it at the default of Auto.

You can set them to be on all the time, or stay off if you prefer.

a8 Focus Area selection normally stops when you hit the edge of the constellation of AF areas.

If you keep pressing the selector to the left it stops at the far left. I prefer it this way, the default.

Selecting "Wrap" lets your selection wrap around to the other side of the AF areas! No wrap (default) means the selected AF area stops moving when you get to the end.

a9 AF Assist lets you deactivate the 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-D200 lets you choose what this button does if you have an MB-D200.


My D200 User's Guide continues below.

It took me two months to write this D200 User's Guide. No one pays me anything. If you find it as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me share more.



Back to Top of D200 User's Guide









          a Autofocus

          b Metering/Exposure < < NEXT

          c Timers/AE&AF Lock

          d Shooting/Display

          e Bracketing/Flash

          f Controls



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