I'm transitioning to using the AE-L/AF-L button for focusing (by changing Custom Menu Setting 12 to AF-ON), rather than using the shutter release button. The problem is that unless focus is detected, the shutter won't release.
Thom Hogan's guide tells me that if I select Continuous Servo Focus Mode (AF-C). The shutter should release, even if the focus isn't detected. My D40 does not behave this way. It's not that I'm wanting to take out of focus pictures. I just want to re-compose and put the subject in focus somewhere else in the frame.
Is there some other setting that might be interfering with it operating in the way I want? Or am I doing something else wrong? Seems like I've got it stuck on focus priority some way.
Are you sure the camera is in AF-C mode? Did you press enter when you changed to AF-C mode? In AF-C mode the default setting is release. I don't think it cam be changed on the D40 series bodies. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
Yes, AF-C is displayed on the information screen on the back of the camera. To double check though, I switched to AF-S, tried it, and then back to AF-C, and tried again. The focus mode indicator changed with each selection, so I'm sure it's actually selecting each focus mode. Same behavior.
As a further test, I set focus on a near object with the AE-L/AF-L button, then moved the focus box to an area farther away. Holding down the shutter release (AF-C set), I was unable to make the shutter fire. Still holding down the shutter release, I panned to the original area of focus, and then the shutter released. It works the same way in AF-S mode.
Cleaned the contacts on the 50mm, still acts up. But I also did some more testing, and the 70-300 is also not working right. Yesterday I was shooting my son playing tennis, with the 70-300 at f/6.3, and the depth of field was deep enough that the camera detected focus, even when he was moving slightly forwards and backwards.
So, back to the original problem, either with me or the camera. The shutter won't release unless focus is detected, even when the focus mode is set to AF-C. Any suggestions?
Maybe I misunderstand how it's supposed to work. Here's what I'm doing.
Set the Focus Mode (Custom menu setting 02) to AF-C Set the AE-L/AF-L (Custom menu setting 12) to AF-ON
Then when composing a picture, I put the center focus area on the subject I want in focus, and press the AE-L/AF-L button. I release this button and re-compose the picture with the subject out of the focus area. When I press the shutter release, the shutter doesn't release. Isn't it supposed to fire, regardless of what's going on in the focus area?
If I hold down the shutter release and pan back toward the subject, the shutter fires when the originally focused subject comes back into the focus area.
I set up a D40 like this the other day and it worked perfectly. Then the next day someone else used the camera and it did not. I hope to get the camera back soon to check things out. I actually never thought about setting up a D40 like this until I saw your post. I love the system on my D300S. Will never go back to the old way!! Will let you know what I find.
I don't use the AE-L/AF-L feature. I merely hold the shutter button down halfway and get it to focus on something else, then move back into position and release the shutter. I have had issues with some lenses and the D40 not focusing under low contrast situations. The AF system in the camera is just not as good as the one in newer (read more expensive) cameras.
I remember the Nikon 18-200 f/3,5-5.6 VR lens sometimes had focusing problems. It was embarrassing to hand the camera to someone, so they could take you picture, and have the camera not focus. Until, I purchased a D7000 I wondered if there was something wrong with the lens.
You mentioned that when someone else tried using the AE-L/AF-L button it wouldn't work for them, but now it works perfectly for you. Maybe I'm making the same mistake that the other person was making. Could you go over your process, and see if there is something I might be goofing up with?
It seems pretty simple, yet my ham-hands can't seem to get it to work right. Could be caused a setting, or could by how I'm using it. Just pressing the AE-L/AE-F button should focus the camera, then let it go, re-compose, and fire away, right? Mine won't fire if the selected focus are doesn't detect focus, and it doesn't matter if I'm in AF-C or AF-S.
The only thing they mentioned was that the light was not too bright when they tried it. I don't know if that affected the camera's focusing ability or not.
I set up the camera using these settings: In the Custom Setting Menu (pencil) go to: 02 Focus Mode Set to AF-C
12 AE-L/AF-L Set to AF ON
I think you may need to click on "OK" or something like that so that your settings are remembered.
Now as long as you hold down the AE-/AF-L button the camera will track a moving object (within reason) and continuously focus, and you can press the shutter release button to take the picture whenever you choose. Or if an object is stationary you can press the AE-L/AF-L button once to focus.
That's all I did and the camera worked perfectly a couple of days ago when I had it.
Hope this helps. If I can come up with anything else to help I'll be happy to do so. I have been shooting in this manner with my D300S every since it was new and would never go back to the old method of focusing with the shutter release button.
Using the settings you describe, my D40 behaves the same as yours. When using AF-C mode, the lens will continuously aquire focus when recomposing with the AE-L/AF-L button held in. When using AF-S mode, the AE-L/AF-L button will aquire and lock focus when held, allowing the shutter to release even when I recompose. However, the shutter will not release once the AE-L/AF-L button is released. Another alternative is to first aquire focus, then set the lens to manual focus so the shutter will always release.
Mon 14-Nov-11 02:00 AM | edited Mon 14-Nov-11 02:06 AM by WRider
Does this mean that our cameras are broken? Or is this how it's supposed to work, and Hogan's guide is mistaken.
I can at least us it this way, and get the camera to fire when I want it to. With your method, using AF-S and keeping the AF-L/AE-L button pressed when I'm re-composing and shooting, I can get the shutter to fire.
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, and having the clarity to see a solution. Not sure if this is how it's supposed to work, but it's usable now.
It appears to be by design, not a defective camera. The "AE Lock Hold" mode will lock exposure, even after the AF-L/AE-L button is released. Unfortunately there's no lock hold mode for focus (that I'm aware of).
I find it easier to use the shutter release button to aquire focus, holding it partially depressed to keep the focus locked. The focus will remain locked if the AF-L/AE-L button is held in using the "AF Lock only" mode. When not behind the camera (using a tripod for example), I use the manual focus method to lock it.
So this is a different style of operation for the AE-L/AF-L button than say the D300 or other semi-pro models. Thom must've used some of the sections from higher end cameras when describing the operation of the D40 in this area. Thank you for helping me out.