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Focus mode

edited September 2017 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
I'm taking photos at a soccer match and using shutter priority, with a shutter speed of 1/1000. I'm not sure which of the four focusing modes to use?


  • I would suggest Continuous Servo and Dynamic area for starters.

    You'll definitely want C mode so that it will follow motion, and also because C mode relaxes the focus priority a bit, allowing for quicker release, though it still can fail to fire if no focus is found.

    Of the four modes, Single point will usually work very well if you can keep your subject within the focus point. That's especially good if the subject is fairly large and close. But if your subject moves around erratically it can be hard to track. Once out of the focus area, focus is lost, and the camera will re-focus on whatever it finds in that area.

    Dynamic area will start with a single point, but follow the subject if he/she moves within the 11-point area. The same thing will happen if you lose focus, but you're much less likely to do so. You should still try as much as possible to pan and follow focus, but the envelope is less tight.

    3D will also track a moving subject, and can do well if you have a single subject who is distinct from others and the background. It uses color and other factors to figure out where a moving subject has gotten to. But if the scene is busy, it can jump and start following the wrong subject.

    Auto Area will let the camera decide what the subject is, and will usually choose the closest of the possible subjects. Not generally what you want here.

    You can move the starting focus point to any of the 11 points available, but I'd recommend for this starting always at the center, because that's the fastest and most responsive focus point, the easiest to keep track of, and the easiest to pan in, especially if you're using Dynamic Area. If you have a tendency to bump into the controls, make sure you hit the [OK] button frequently to center it, as it's pretty easy to move by accident.
  • Many thanks for the very helpfull information.
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