Nikon D300 User Manual (en)

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Getting Good Results with Autofocus
Autofocus does not perform well under the conditions listed 
below. The shutter release may be disabled if the camera is unable 
to focus under these conditions, or the in-focus indicator (
●) may 
be displayed and the camera may sound a beep, allowing the 
shutter to be released even when the subject is not in focus. In 
these cases, use manual focus (pg. 71) or use focus lock (pg. 68) to 
focus on another subject at the same distance and then 
recompose the photograph.
There is little or no contrast between the subject 
and the background
Example
: subject is the same color as the background.
The focus point contains objects at different 
distances from the camera
Example
: subject is inside a cage.
The subject is dominated by regular geometric 
patterns
Example
: a row of windows in a skyscraper.
The focus point contains areas of sharply 
contrasting brightness
Example
: subject is half in the shade.
Background objects appear larger than the subject
Example
: a building is in the frame behind the subject.
The subject contains many fine details
Example
: a field of flowers or other subjects that are 
small or lack variation in brightness.