I recently programmed my AE-L/AF-L button on my D7000 to perform the 'AF-ON' function, since I sorely miss that button after using my D300. Anyway, I have noticed that I can attain focus faster in my viewfinder (noted by the dot that appears to signal focus is attained) by using this ad hoc 'AF-ON' button, than I can if I simply press the shutter button down halfway. This both surprised me and alarmed me. I was shooting live music under very dark conditions, and this was my first time using the D7000 but I was curious if any other D7000 owners have experienced this, or could test it also. I love the quality of the D7000. I just am not sure why they chose to exclude the very helpful AF-ON button that was on the D300.