Nikon D800 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 
(
0 101) or use focus lock (0 98) 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
: Blinds or 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.