A new firmware update is available for the Nikon D800/e. You can go to
scroll down to D800 or D800e, to download firmware 1.10.
One of the major updates to the camera is the ability to do trap focus. What is trap focus you ask? It’s the “special mode” using the focus as the activation method for shutter release. When you activate menu option A4 and select AF-ON only, you will force the shutter release to only trip the shutter but not activate the auto focus. When the menu option is set to Shutter/AF-ON, the shutter release will both activate the focus system and trip the shutter release.
With A4 set to AF-ON only, the back AF-ON button is the only button on the camera that will activate the focus system. This is very handy when you want to completely decouple shutter release vs the focus system.
Why would you do this? Lets say you are waiting for an object to come into focus and, for whatever reason, you don’t want to refocus the camera. When you have the AF-ON only option selected, you can hold the shutter release down and wait for the subject to come into focus. Once the object is in focus, the shutter release will trip and you will have your shot.
This acts like a “trap”, where you are waiting for something to spring your shutter release. It’s possible to use a cable release and lock the shutter release and walk away, waiting for something to trip the shutter. It’s a somewhat esoteric use, but it can be handy. This option is also great for sports shooters.
One thing I found about this action is that the response of the camera seems to be a little slow. If I pass through the focus area too quickly, the camera won’t lock and fire. This can be attributed to the option selection in A3, Focus tracking with lock-on. I have my camera set to normal, so it waits a little while before refocusing and shooting. When I select 1 (Short), the camera responds more quickly for trap focus. Not much more, but a little bit.
This mode requires some experimentation but can be very handy for sports and action shots. It’s well worth playing with to have in your arsenal for your D800 and D800e shooting arsenal.