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Nikon D3200 Digital Field Guide by Alan Hess

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Working with Focus and AF area modes

Your Nikon D3200 is a powerful camera with an autofocus system that works in just about any situation. You can set the camera to focus automatically, or you can adjust the focus yourself by setting the camera to Manual focus (manualfocus.eps). Some of the focus modes also allow you to choose focus points.

How autofocus works for still images and video

The Nikon D3200 uses the Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus sensor that utilizes Through-the-Lens (TTL) phase detection with 11 focus points. The system uses two types of sensors: Horizontal- and cross-type. The horizontal-type sensors can only read the contrast in one direction—the direction of the sensor. The cross-type sensor can read the contrast in two directions, which makes its focus more accurate, but it needs more light to work. The Nikon D3200 has ten horizontal-type sensors and one cross-type sensor in the center of the viewfinder. One or more of these are used to autofocus the camera. The camera uses one the following methods depending on whether you are using the viewfinder or Live View (liveview2.eps) to compose your images:

Phase detection. When using the viewfinder to compose your images, the autofocus system in the Nikon D3200 uses phase detection. This splits the light coming into the camera into two images and compares ...

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