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Camera Reviews

Nikon D800 AF Custom Settings

Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell)


Keywords: nikon, d800, custom, settings, camera, bodies

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Nikon D800 Autofocus Custom Settings a1 to a8

 

The Nikon D800 has a very powerful autofocus system with new features not before seen on a Nikon D-SLR. So, with great power, comes great responsibility, isn't that how the saying goes? In this article, you'll have a great read, about all your Custom AF-Settings refined to simplicity from an excerpt from Mastering the Nikon D800 by Darrell Young, published by NikoniansPress/Rocky Nook. Here, we talk about the Custom Setting Menu and eight distinct Custom Settings just for the autofocus system. We've divided this article into chapters for easy reading, and clicking. So grab a nice cup of joe or tea, whatever hits the spot, and enjoy!

Let’s consider each of the Custom Settings and see how best to configure the Nikon D800 camera for excellent results.

 

d800_category

Custom Settings a1 to a8

You’ll find eight distinct settings within the a Autofocus menu in the D800.

  • a1 – AF-C priority selection
  • a2 – AF-S priority selection
  • a3 – Focus tracking with lock-on
  • a4 – AF activation
  • a5 – AF point illumination
  • a6 – Focus point wrap-around
  • a7 – Number of focus points
  • a8 – Built-in AF assist illuminator

This first sub-section is about how to configure the autofocus system in various ways. The whole process is rather complex—and important for good photography. I thought autofocus and related functions important enough that I’ve included in this book an entire chapter dedicated to Autofocus (AF), AF-area modes, and Release modes. It covers autofocus and its supporting functions in much deeper detail. Please be sure to read that chapter well.

(5 Votes )
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Originally written on October 8, 2012

Last updated on September 8, 2016

9 comments

William Jeffrey Thomas (waj) on February 27, 2015

Excellent article. Concise, comprehensive a great aid to us beginners.

User on February 13, 2013

I agree that a5 should be set to AUTO. However, if you choose an image format different than FX, for ex. x1.2 or x1.5 and want the border to be greyed, you must set a5 to OFF ! Nikon, why is that so ?? It should be two separate settings !

Dr. Patrick Buick (profpb) on January 9, 2013

I've finally learned to use auto Focus using the "AF-ON" button on the back of my D800 instead of pressing the shutter release button half-way. My problem is when using a remote shutter release cable connected to the 10-pin port on the front of my camera body it activates the previously locked auto focus. No, I'm not going to move anything on my tripod set up switching to manual focus. I need help solving this problem from someone thinking more clearly that myself or who can refer me to a written solution.

User on December 11, 2012

I set my AF-C to release priority and AF-S to focus priority. When I'm shooting high(er) speed subjects on AF-C, I often do rely on dof and experience (pre-focusing on the anticipated point of action) to capture the peak and want the camera to fire when I press the release. As Darrell explains, I use the AF-ON exclusively to focus. When I'm shooting subject that aren't moving much, I use AF-S and then the priority is focus. Seems natural that way, although I still use the AF-ON exclusively for focusing.

John M. Cameron (jmcameron) on November 26, 2012

Darrell, Love the book! It is really helping me move deeper into the digital world. It is absolutely amazing the differences between slide/film and digital based photography. Trust you had a very Happy Thanksgiving. Sláinte, John

John Cramer (d3scameraman) on November 18, 2012

Have just recently bought a D800 and have been experimenting with these settings, your explanations here are a huge help, thankyou.

Dr. Patrick Buick (profpb) on November 9, 2012

O.K. I studied this section slowly with my coffee as you suggested. Thank you again, Darrell; I now get it. It is the time before re-focusing. I set mine for long because I must be slow (in learning). So, it was the coffee that made the difference. The book assumumed I was paying attention. My thumb is relieved. With my index finger focusing it got tired holding the button. I am very happy to be learned--finally.

Dr. Patrick Buick (profpb) on November 9, 2012

That's my question too. I have your great D800 book as I do the D7000 book which is the reason I pre-ordered the D800 book. I learned of the AF-ON button from the seven guys sitting at my ANPAT12 dinner last month but the detail was not answered by them or the book. Do I sound impatient? No, I need you, Darrel.

User on October 27, 2012

Darrell, when pressing the AF-ON button, doesonekeep it pressed? Or remove the thumb? Thx

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