AE-L/AF-L vs pressing shutter button half-way

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by louisb|1, Dec 16, 2006.

  1. I cannot get my head around the difference between using the AE-L/AF-L button
    to lock exposure/focus on my D80 versus just pressing the shutter button half-

    What is the difference, if any? If there is no difference what is the purpose
    of the AE-L/AF-L button.

    Ever since I have had cameras which meter (going back years) I've always
    locked exposure by half-depressing the shutter button. The digital camera
    seems to work in the same way (except the addition of autofocus locks focus as
    well), so I must be missing something really important by not understanding
    the purpose of the separate AE-L/AF-L button which seems to me to be a
    duplication (and not very convenient method of doing the same).

    TIA for any advice

  2. You can program via custom menu to have the AE-L/AF-L button to do both exposure and auto focus lock, or just one of the two. It's a matter of preferance. If you're more accustom to exposure lock, you can program that button to execute AE-L only, and leave the AF-L to your half-pressed shutter release. Some people like to have AE-L and AF-L together since the focused portion is where they want to meter anyway. Just whatever that will make you work more efficiently really.
  3. It is a duplication, but allows more flexibility via programming appropriate menus. The button serves as focus and exposure function lock at the same time or one of, or none locked, etc. You can program one to operate via the AE-L/AF-L button while the other via half press of the shutter release button so you could possibly lock one or the other independently. You can also lock in menu so it can apply not only to the next shot, but to a series of shots.

    I think description on pages 56 and 70 is good, but there is more to it in the menus, so you need to digest also descriptions of relevant menu settings on pages 152 and 156/157. All the combinations of menu settings to operate both the AE-L/AF-L button and the Shutter half-press button are explained.

    What is really missing is recommendation how to use the settings in actual shooting situations, but that is really typical of Nikon.

    If you have time and patience you could practice all varius settings, to see which setting is more convenient for you. Possibly the default settings are better for some people, while others could learn to lock focus and/or exposure using different technique for single, or series of multiple shots.
  4. Wilson

    Thanks for the answer but what I was actually asking is: what is the difference between pressing the shutter relase half-way and locking exposure/focus and using the AE-L/AE-F button?

  5. It has been said: Nothing, unless if you program it to do something else, and one thing more: If you use a VR lens, the AE-L/AF-L will not activate VR, you have to half press the shutter buttion (if I remember correctly).

  6. I've never used any buttons to lock anything. Manual mode locks exposure just fine and it's much more simpler. For focus, I use the back button to activate AF (not lock) so pressing the shutter won't make the camera focus on something I don't want. That way I can focus, recompose or fine-tune manually and it won't refocus when I press the shutter release.

    The idea is to have different buttons for different functions.
  7. Louis,

    I don't have a D80, but on my D2X setup, depressing the shutter half way locks focus, not exposure. So if I recompose, the exposure may change. Pushing the lock button will lock both exposure and focus so they don't change after recomposing. I assume you can set-up the D80 the same way.

  8. All

    Thanks for the help. It made me read the manual again and now I get it. The shutter button locks focus and I always assumed it locked exposure as well. When I look through the viewfinder it seems to do this. However, the manual does state that it only locks focus (something I did not pick up on before) and that in order to lock focus and exposure you have to press the AE-L/AE-F button. I understand the fact that it can be programmed and I'll have to play with that. Thanks again with helping me to understand this stuff.

  9. I agree with Paul the AE/AF lock allows your focus to remain unchanged as you depress the shutter
  10. I puzzled over the seeming duplication too until I read that part of the manual and saw the vast array of selections to which you can assign that button. I chose AE Lock and Hold. I tap it and AE is set until I press again. I reasoned this might be most useful if I use spot metering ... take a reading, lock, compose picture however I like not worrying about exposure changes, then shoot.

    I may change the function if this doesn't work out as I expect.
  11. That's correct, Louis. half depressed shutter release only lock AF, and not AE. Glad it's clear now. After you've shot with the camera for a while, then you can decide whether your shooting style will benefit from simultaneous AE and AF, and then can assign that button function accordingly. I personally like AE & AF together as a default.
  12. in custom menu of the D80 (in full menu mode) you switch on the AE lock.. after you go to 18 (AE-L AF-L) en you select what you prefer.. lets take for example "AE-L Lock Only"
    for sure you know this allready... pressing half the button is NOT the same.. example... you focus on a light area, press the ae-L af-l button and hold it... then focus on a darker area and take the shot.. if de AE-L only is selected in 18 (AE-L AF-L) you will use the exposure of the light area when you make the shot in a darker area.. when i shoot expositions etc 1 out of 6 fotos is done with this option..
    Before i bought the D700 i always used the D80... amazing camara.. when im out for a spin i still take it with me, its becomming old after 170.000 shots and still works flawless.. EAT THAT canon users.. quality beats sport speed

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