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Understanding Nikon AF Modes

By Anthony Thurston on May 10th 2015

Steve Perry is back with another great educational video, this time aimed at photographers looking to get the most out of the AF on their Nikon camera.


AF modes are something that many photographers simply do not understand. Many leave it all on the factory default settings and never touch it again, but to realize the true potential of your Nikon camera in regards to AF, some customization can go a long way.

In his latest video, Steve Perry goes in depth on Nikon AF modes, and how he sets up his Nikon AF to best suit his needs as an action and wildlife photographer. The information shared is not just for Wildlife/Action shooters, though, Steve goes over all of the settings and explains what they do, so you can easily go into your Nikon menu, and better customize the AF to your own needs. Check it out.

You will find similar settings in your Canon and other manufacturers menus as well, but the actual names and where to find the settings will be very different from this video. Don’t let that stop you, tweaking your AF settings can have a profound impact on how your AF works for you.

What setting/tip in this video stood out the most to you? How do you have the AF setup on your Nikon camera? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

[via Steve Perry]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Dragan Yordanov

    A real eye-opener, I think Nikon has to commission the guy to revise their manuals! I’ve been using Nikon cameras for 3 years now, I’ve read multiple times the manuals and I never understood completely how all modes work, and it took only 10 minutes video… Brilliant!!!

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  2. Thomas Horton

    This was a really well done and useful video. I confess that other than the experimentation while I was reading the manual, I never use any of the modes other than single point. It is good to know that my Nikon can handle the more dynamic types of photography though.

    I learned a lot from this video.

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  3. Greg Townsend

    There are a couple of fundamental ideas and photographic techniques that can change a persons photography beyond recognition. The relationship between depth of field and aperture is one and the idea of back button focusing is another. Great video and as Mr. Perry suggests be sure to watch the other video about using the AF-On button to focus, as an alternative to a 1/2 press of the shutter.

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  4. Thomas Horton

    I can’t watch the video until I get home later today, but I do want to make the comment that I love the expression on that bird to the right in the first photograph. :)

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  5. Karsten Qvist

    Thanks Steve, this clarified a lot me!

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  6. Paul Empson

    always good to hear how other people have interpreted the Nikon systems to get the most from their kit… and especially good when they explain it as well as Steve did in this video..

    Rear button AF is certainly something I’ve added to my work method..

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  7. Lauchlan Toal

    Always good to learn more about AF modes, cheers!

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