Shooting with the Nikon D7000
Illustration by Petra Stefankova

Focusing and exposure


From:

Shooting with the Nikon D7000

with Ben Long

Video: Focusing and exposure

If you're used to shooting video at the Video mode of a point-and-shoot camera or with an actual video camera, then you're used to continuous auto-focus. That is, you're used to the camera constantly auto-focusing on the fly to ensure that your subject remains in focus. When you shoot with your DSLR, it doesn't work that way unfortunately. Because the auto-focus sensors are blind as we've discussed, it can't constantly keep your subject in focus, and that means you need to think a little bit harder about focus when shooting video. You've seen already how auto- focusing can take a little while.
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  1. 7m 15s
    1. Welcome
      1m 28s
    2. What is an SLR?
      4m 1s
    3. Using this course
      1m 46s
  2. 25m 26s
    1. Understanding basic camera anatomy
      4m 30s
    2. Attaching a lens to your camera
      2m 25s
    3. Using batteries and media cards
      2m 24s
    4. Powering up
      1m 53s
    5. Navigating the menus and understanding factory defaults
      3m 17s
    6. Setting the date and time
      2m 29s
    7. Setting the language
      1m 31s
    8. Formatting the media card
      2m 12s
    9. Using two cards
      2m 9s
    10. Holding the camera
      2m 36s
  3. 16m 0s
    1. Setting Auto mode
      1m 14s
    2. Using the viewfinder display
      5m 8s
    3. Using the LCD screen protector
      38s
    4. Understanding autofocus basics
      2m 28s
    5. Understanding lens controls
      51s
    6. Using the flash in Auto mode
      1m 28s
    7. Reviewing images
      1m 50s
    8. Playing back images
      2m 23s
  4. 18m 48s
    1. Program mode
      43s
    2. Exposure compensation
      2m 39s
    3. Revisiting metering
      1m 51s
    4. Changing ISO
      2m 40s
    5. Flexible Program mode
      2m 50s
    6. Image format and size
      6m 24s
    7. The Info button
      1m 41s
  5. 12m 17s
    1. Focus modes
      2m 14s
    2. Manually selecting a focus point
      6m 56s
    3. Manually focusing
      3m 7s
  6. 11m 28s
    1. Adjusting white balance automatically
      3m 33s
    2. Using white balance presets
      2m 11s
    3. Adjusting white balance manually
      5m 44s
  7. 11m 13s
    1. Continuous mode
      4m 10s
    2. Quiet mode
      39s
    3. The self-timer
      1m 7s
    4. Remote control and Bulb mode
      5m 17s
  8. 30m 55s
    1. Metering modes
      2m 30s
    2. Exposure lock
      55s
    3. Aperture Priority mode
      2m 10s
    4. Depth-of-field preview
      2m 28s
    5. Shutter Priority mode
      2m 17s
    6. Manual mode
      3m 6s
    7. Exposure bracketing
      3m 54s
    8. The Active D-Lighting controls
      1m 55s
    9. The Auto Distortion control
      50s
    10. Long-exposure noise reduction
      1m 21s
    11. High-ISO noise reduction
      2m 0s
    12. Multiple exposures
      1m 53s
    13. The interval timer
      5m 36s
  9. 11m 19s
    1. The metadata display
      3m 47s
    2. Adjusting LCD brightness
      52s
    3. Protecting and deleting images
      3m 31s
    4. Creating folders
      1m 42s
    5. Copyright information
      1m 27s
  10. 3m 6s
    1. What is a scene mode?
      1m 8s
    2. Scene modes and image format
      1m 58s
  11. 6m 19s
    1. Fill flash
      58s
    2. The Exposure Compensation setting
      1m 36s
    3. Reducing red-eye
      1m 21s
    4. The Slow Sync flash setting
      2m 24s
  12. 5m 27s
    1. Defining picture controls
      1m 56s
    2. Selecting a picture control
      1m 29s
    3. Modifying a picture control
      1m 6s
    4. Using monochrome picture controls
      56s
  13. 8m 2s
    1. Activating Live View
      3m 22s
    2. Focusing in Live View
      2m 35s
    3. Live View's drawbacks
      2m 5s
  14. 10m 21s
    1. Configuring and activating video
      5m 1s
    2. Focusing and exposure
      3m 49s
    3. Playing back movies
      1m 31s
  15. 5m 45s
    1. User modes
      3m 4s
    2. My Menu
      2m 41s
  16. 21m 2s
    1. What are custom settings?
      1m 32s
    2. Focus Priority
      1m 2s
    3. Number of focus points
      34s
    4. The built-in AF-assist illuminator
      39s
    5. Easy exposure compensation
      1m 47s
    6. The AE-L button
      50s
    7. The self-timer
      1m 37s
    8. ISO display and adjustment
      1m 11s
    9. CL mode shooting speed
      1m 15s
    10. File number sequence
      1m 36s
    11. Exposure Delay mode
      59s
    12. The Assign Fn button
      1m 0s
    13. The Assign Preview button
      1m 3s
    14. The Assign AE-L/AF-L button
      1m 29s
    15. Release button to use dial
      46s
    16. Reverse indicators
      40s
    17. The customized command dial
      3m 2s
  17. 3m 38s
    1. What image retouching does
      48s
    2. Applying image retouching
      1m 31s
    3. NEF (raw) processing
      1m 19s
  18. 5m 1s
    1. Camera and sensor cleaning
      1m 28s
    2. Operating conditions and temperatures
      1m 51s
    3. Firmware updates
      1m 42s
  19. 24s
    1. Goodbye
      24s

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Watch the Online Video Course Shooting with the Nikon D7000
3h 33m Beginner Oct 28, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course details the features, controls, and options in the Nikon D7000 camera. Author Ben Long provides an overview of a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera and reviews the Nikon D7000 camera's components and basics of operation, including changing lenses, navigating the menus, shooting in Auto mode, and reviewing and managing photos on the camera's LCD screen. The course also covers white balance options, advanced metering and autofocus controls, flash, and shooting HD video, and includes a chapter on sensor and camera maintenance.

Topics include:
  • What is an SLR?
  • Attaching a lens to a camera
  • Deciding how many batteries and media cards are needed
  • Setting Auto mode
  • Changing ISO
  • Changing image format and size
  • Manually selecting a focus point
  • Correcting exposure while shooting
  • Controlling white balance
  • Using a driver and self-timer
  • Auto exposure bracketing
  • Selecting a picture style
  • Using Live View
  • Shooting video
  • Using custom functions, such as ISO expansion and mirror lockup
  • Cleaning the camera and sensor
Subject:
Photography
Author:
Ben Long

Focusing and exposure

If you're used to shooting video at the Video mode of a point-and-shoot camera or with an actual video camera, then you're used to continuous auto-focus. That is, you're used to the camera constantly auto-focusing on the fly to ensure that your subject remains in focus. When you shoot with your DSLR, it doesn't work that way unfortunately. Because the auto-focus sensors are blind as we've discussed, it can't constantly keep your subject in focus, and that means you need to think a little bit harder about focus when shooting video. You've seen already how auto- focusing can take a little while.

see how it hunts in and out to find the focus. I typically don't want that to happen while I'm in the middle of shooting video. So in general, it's best to auto- focus before you start rolling video. Now, when video is rolling, you can still half-press the shutter button to focus, but you just need to know that there's a good chance that it may start doing that focus hunting thing which can be a little distracting. There are a couple of workarounds to that. You can switch to Manual mode on your lens and focus manually with the focus ring. That's a difficult skill to develop. You're going to need some practice to learn how to follow your subject, and keep them in focus, but it's a nice way of focusing quickly and focusing quietly.

You don't hear the motor and the lens moving that way. Another option though is to do something else that we've already seen and turn on Full-time-servo focus, so that the camera will constantly track a moving subject, and keep it in focus. You can even turn on face detection and have it work that way. It's not a foolproof solution, you still won't find auto-focus that's as fast or quiet or as accurate as what you get from a video camera. But it's a nice workaround for times when you absolutely need to shoot video of something that's moving or when you are moving, when you're carrying the camera around.

If you want more manual control than just focus control, then you're going to want to think about your Mode dial and you're going to want to think about it in the same way that you do when you're shooting stills. You've got full shutter speed and aperture control if you wanted. So, for example, one of the great advantages of working with a Digital SLR for video is that I've got aperture control. I can go here into Aperture Priority mode and choose any aperture that I want. So, for example, I might dial in a nice small aperture to ensure very deep depth of field, or I might open up all the way to have really shallow depth of field and therefore very blurry backgrounds.

I can get softer backgrounds than I can with any video camera that you maybe shooting with. You can get a really film like look out of your video by taking control of aperture. I can also take control of shutter speed. I can switch to Shutter Priority mode and dial in any shutter speed that I want. So for example, I might go to a faster shutter speed to try and freeze motion, so that I can more clearly see sports action for example. In general though, it's best for everyday shooting to stay around at 50th of a second. That's going to give you a very nice video look.

If I want, I can even take full manual control of all of my Exposure parameters. But to do that, in addition to switching to manual mode, I need to go here into my Menu and go to Movie settings, and then I need to go down here to Manual movie settings and I need to make sure that these are turned on. This is a safeguard that Nikon has provided to keep you from accidentally shooting poorly exposed video. If I come out now, see my video has gotten very dark. I need to slow down my shutter speed to get it up brighter.

So this is just a way to keep me from accidentally shooting overexposed video or underexposed video. If you're okay with doing that, then by all means go into Manual mode, enable manual shooting, and overexpose to your heart's content. In general though, you're probably going to want to leave this feature turned off just so that you don't accidentally do something you shouldn't. Typically, you're going to stay in Aperture Priority mode because you want depth of field control, or you're going to stay in Program mode because you simply want easy shooting.

There are currently no FAQs about Shooting with the Nikon D7000.

 
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