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There will be times where you'll want to shoot multiple frames with different compositions but use the same exposure settings for each shot. Panoramas are the most common situation where you'll encounter this problem. The Exposure Lock control lets you meter a scene and then lock that exposure in as you take multiple shots. This is the Auto Exposure Lock button on the D800. The thing to understand about it is that it's also an Auto Focus lock. That's what AFL stands for. Now I'm in Single Servo Autofocus mode right now, which means that this button is pretty much useless, because exposure and focus lock are the same things I get on my Shutter button.
So for example, I could frame a shot, half-press the button to focus and meter, and then reframe my shot, press the button the rest of the way, and shoot it with that original focus and metering. That's exactly what this button would do. So, it's not actually that useful. But if I change to Continues Servo Autofocus, AFC, now this button becomes a little more useful. If I frame a shot and then half-press my Shutter button to focus and meter, and then reframe the shot, the camera is going to refocus, because Continuous Servo Autofocus means that it's constantly refocusing as things in the scene change and as I move the camera around.
If instead I frame a shot and half-press the Shutter button to focus and meter and then press and hold this Auto Exposure/Auto Focus Lock button, now both exposure and focus will stay locked as I reframe my scene and take the shot. In the viewfinder, I'll see this icon light up to indicate that I'm holding the Lock button down, and everything will stay locked until I let go of it. So this is a very useful feature when you are in Continuous Servo Autofocus.
If you rarely shoot that way, or if you are at a location where you're doing a lot of Single Servo Focus, there are some other uses that you might find for that button. I'm going to change back to Single Servo Focus, and I'm going to reprogram the function of this button right now. If I go into my menu, into the f category Controls, down here to f6, Assign AE-L/AF-L button, that lets me change the function of this button. So I'm going to come in here, and it highlights the controlling question with red. That's this one right here.
You notice I also have the option to alter the functionality of the button when combined with a command dial. I'm not going to do that right now. I just want to change the function of the button press. So I can change it to any of this long scrolling list of features here, and there are a lot of things that I can put on that button. I can put depth of field preview, Flash Value Lock. It's default value of exposure and focus lock, lots of variation on exposure locks and focus locks. I can do flash off, bracketing bursts, metering modes, all sorts of different things.
There are lots of other buttons and controls that you can assign the same functions to, so you can really distribute these functions amongst a range of controls on the camera, and we'll look at how to do that in various movies throughout the rest of this course. What I'm interested in right now is to set this to AE lock only. That turns this into just an exposure lock button, and that becomes a little more useful when I am in Single Servo Autofocus, because now I've got exposure locking independent of focus locking. This becomes very handy when I'm shooting panoramas, because this button can also be used to lock exposure across multiple shots.
For example, let's say that I'm going to shoot a panorama. When you're shooting panoramas you typically want every shot in the panorama to have the same exposure. So let's say I want every shot in this panorama to have the exposure that I am going to calculate in my first shot. So I would frame my shot, half-press to focus and meter, and then take my shot. Then I would press and hold the Lock button. Now I could reframe to my second shot, half- press to focus again, take that shot, reframe to my next one, half-press, take that shot, and all of them would get that initial metering, as long as I'm continuing to hold down the Exposure Lock button, and that whole time I'll see the Exposure Lock Indicator in my viewfinder.
So, a lot of versatility off to this control. It's going to change a lot whether you are in Single or Continuous Servo Autofocus, so you may need to use this f6 custom function here to get it working the way that you want for the mode that you're shooting in. Exposure Lock can also be a critical tool when shooting an Aperture or Shutter Priority mode, as we'll see later.
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