Single Point-AF on the Nikon D7000

Single Point-AF on the Nikon D7000

I love soft fuzzy backgrounds in images. I think they look awesome. In the past I’ve set the lens wide open (f/1.8 on my Nikkor 35mm), let the camera handle everything else, and took a pile of photos with the hope of a few being properly focused and exposed. This isn’t very effective and has caused me to loose a lot of good shots. I decided to finally put the effort into learning how to do this better. I think the results are pretty good:

Anna coloring

So, mainly for my own future reference, this is what I did: First, I set the camera to Aperture priority. I turned the ISO down to a reasonable level (lower is better) and set theĀ apertureĀ to f/1.8. I let the camera handle the shutter speed for me. I then set the camera to Single Point-AF by holding the button on the AF/M switch next to the lens while scrolling the front wheel until a single dot appeared on the top LCD (as opposed to the normal group of dots and AUTO). This is the key to everything!

What this does it turns off the cameras attempts at figuring out what it should focus on. Instead, you half press the shutter release button (and release), or tap the button on the AF/M switch, then use the directional arrows to move the single point of focus. You will be able to see the focus point moving through the viewfinder. Wherever you set the focus point is what the camera will focus on. For people, you’ll generally want to focus on the eyes (or as close as you can get).

Anyways, I got half a dozen great shots in just a few minutes, and a dozen or more good shots. Only a few shots had to be tossed because they were a little blurry or Anna had her arm in front of her face. Not bad! I’ve set this up as U1 on my camera for quick and easy Anna photographing.

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Bokeh shapes

Bokeh shapes

I’ve been having some fun with my camera, little pieces of cardboard, and a hole punch. I followed the instructions here, but went a little more ghetto (because I was in a rush and just wanted to see if I could get it to work).

My first try was a simple “plus” or “x” cut in the cardboard. I used my daughter’s Elmo toy in the foreground so at least something in the photo would be in focus, and our tiny Christmas tree in the background with the x’s:
Elmo and X's

Next, my wife cut a heart in a piece of cardboard. Elmo mysteriously vanished while I was fiddling with attaching the heart to my camera, so I used a giraffe instead (nicknamed Dap by my daughter). This turned out really well I think:

Giraffe hearts

This was incredibly easy to do, hard to mess up, and created a fun effect. There is a fair amount of vignetting because I didn’t cut the shapes large enough, but I think it adds to the appearance of the photo.

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