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Thread: 1, 11, or 39 Focal Points??

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    Member Honkylips's Avatar
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    1, 11, or 39 Focal Points??

    Hi
    Can I change my Nikon D5200 to have just 1 focal point? In the menu it only shows I can choose from 11 or 39? I am doing a photography course and the teacher said to change it to 1 if I can.
    Thanks

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    Ausphotography Regular agb's Avatar
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    Does page 38 of the user manual tell you how to select a single point.
    The age of entitlement isn't over, it's just over there where you can't get to it.
    When several possibilities exist, the simplest solution is the best.
    "There are no rules" Bruce Barnbaum, The art of Photography
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    Page 91 to 93 of your User Manual should help
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    Canon : 30D, and sometimes the 5D mkIII , Sigma 10-20, 50mm 1.8, Canon 24-105 f4 L , On loan Sigma 120-400 DG and Canon 17 - 40 f4 L , Cokin Filters




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    Thanks guys

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    This may get a bit confusing, if you don't fully understand all the jargon and systems, but once you become attuned to it, the system makes more sense.

    (in the Nikon cameras I've used, the number of point up for selection is not the same as single point focus selection.

    That is, menu item a2 allow syou to select the number of focus points usable at the time of choosing which focus point you wish to use.

    So if you choose 11 point AF, then if you also choose AF-S mode(nto to be confused with an AF-S lens!!) , then you only get 11 of the 39 AF point available for manual focus point selection.
    (you may have to re read this again for it to sink in).

    That is, you have (or may have) 3 different types of AF modes to select from .. AF-S(single shot mode), AF-C(continuous AF) and AF-A(basically a fully automated focusing system).

    Then you will, or may have the option to change the AF area feature(as described in Williams image of the manual above).

    If you choose the first option above(Auto), then you still have the option in menu item a2 to use either 11 or 39 focus points(I think???). I don't have a D5200, but most Nikon's work in this manner.
    This may simply mean that even if Auto autofocus mode is used a reduced number of focus points are used by the camera to determine which point to use for actually focusing.

    If you choose manual af mode, and say you choose 11 points in a2, then as you move the multi selector to choose an AF point, some of the 39 points are skipped, as you move the selector across.
    This makes it quicker to move from one side of the af system to the other.

    As I said I've never used a D5200, so I've also never seen this 'Off' mode, which seems to imply that only the centre point is used and it can't be moved of this point.
    I can see the value in this system, not so much in a lower end camera tho, and manual af area selection mode will do exactly the same job if the multi selector is not touched .. so it seems to be a redundant af area mode(IMO).

    So to appease your photography course teacher, choose Manual AF area mode, but in menu item a2, I'd be inclined to choose 39 af points.

    This way, you still only have one focus point to use at any one time. and as you move the focus point across the viewfinder, you get to choose all 39af points as an option to focus with.
    It does take a lil bit longer to go from (eg) the far left focus point to the far right focus point .. and I don't know if the D5200 allows the option of focus point wrap around, but sometimes it's useful to have the accuracy of all 39 points.
    If this doesn't work for you then choose 11 points and see how that works.

    I would be disinclined to use this 'Off' mode, if it does what I think it does. Nikon's usual system of a focus lock rocker switch makes far more sense for achieving this aim(if and when required).
    But this mode appears to be the only way to get only 1 focus point active on the camera.
    Focus and compose is a tedious workflow method, and prone to focus errors if the aperture is not stopped down far enough.
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    Hi H'lips (do you have a real name ). I would assume that if you're doing a photography course that your teacher may have been meaning 'centre point' as the single point, because possibly you're going to learn focus and recompose.

    Arthur, all of that just did my head in

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathy View Post
    ...... because possibly you're going to learn focus and recompose.
    hopefully for the purpose of how inaccurate it can be .. never to be used ever again!
    (LOL! partly joking here. I'm not a big fan of focus and recompose, but it can work for 'ya when there's no other option)

    ..... Arthur, all of that just did my head in
    It was kind'a supposed too I guess. But once the concept sinks in a little it makes perfectly good sense(why the manufacturer's have these systems), and from then on you know why to use each setting.

    For example, if you're chasing hyperactive kids .. just fed a diet of soft drinks, cakes, and lot of other sugary stuff at a party with their bestest best freinds held at one of those indoor play centres, you know how hard it is to keep up with them, as they zoom across the room in 0.5sec flat, and sometimes this can cause a bit of confusion from some AF systems.
    Either too many focus points to choose from or conversely too few.

    Setting 39 points offers the ability to compose the shot more closely to how you wish too, as there is the ability to place the focus point in a finer manner .... for example, if you like to keep the focus point on a person's eye, but want to also maintain a preset background for aesthetics. The ability to set the focus point with finer granularity(manual area mode!!) is always appreciated for framing, and much better than focus and recompose.

    But at the same time, in some of the auto area modes(which can also be handy in some situations mind you!), having too many af points active can be 'confusing' for the af system, and limiting the number of af points can make the af system more accurate. This better accuracy could also be better described as more decisive too. Sometimes with too many active af points in AF-A mode, the focus point jumps about rapidly from one point to another for no reason, other than what could be described as the af system's lack of decisiveness. Usually when you see this manic jumping about of the focus point in AF-A mode, I assume most people will turn to manual area af mode(which makes sense), but sometimes just reducing the number of af points also helps.

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