Focus Mode Features 'A', for some Nikkor lenses with the 'AM' switch

There are only a few focusing modes for Nikkor lenses that are set by a switch on the lens body. The following types of switches are available:

  • Non-motorized lenses AF type without focus mode switch. These lenses include some older non-motorized lenses, such as Nikon ED AF Nikkor 70-300mm 1: 4-5.6D. Focus mode is switched using the lever near the camera mount
  • Lenses AF-P without focus mode switch. These lenses include new AF-P lensessuch as Nikon DX VR AF-P Nikkor 18-55mm 1: 3.5-5.6G. Focus mode is switched using the camera menu.
  • 'A - M' Is the simplest switch, allowing the lens to be used in either auto focus 'A' or manual focus 'M'. However, in 'A' mode, manual focus / refocus / focus compensation cannot be performed. This mode uses the lens Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 55-200mm 1: 4-5.6G ED VR IF SWM. But there are features described below.
  • 'M / A - M' - a more advanced focus switch, allowing, in addition to manual focus mode 'M', to use automatic focus mode 'M / A', which maintains constant manual focus control. This focusing mode uses the lens Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 16-85mm 1: 3.5-5.6G ED SWM VR IF Aspherical... I have described in detail the possibilities of the 'M / A' mode here.
  • 'A / M - M' - a more sophisticated option that allows, in addition to manual focus mode 'M', to use automatic focus mode 'A / M', which also maintains constant manual focus control. 'A / M' mode is less sensitive to manual focus than 'M / A'. A / MM mode uses a lens Nikon N AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1: 4G ED SWM VR IF Nano Crystal Coat... In his review, I described in more detail how 'A / M' works and how it differs from 'M / A'.
  • 'A - M / A - M' - switch for AF-I lenses. Find a complete list of them here.
  • 'M / A - M - A' - switch for some telephoto lenses. In 'A' mode, the lens is not sensitive to manual focus. Modes 'M / A' and 'M' work as described above. This switch uses the lens Nikon ED AF-S Nikkor 300mm 1: 2.8 D II.
  • 'A / M - M / A - M' - the most advanced switch, allowing you to choose one of three focusing modes: 'A / M' or 'M / A' or 'M'. This switch uses the lens Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1: 2.8GII ED N VR Nano Crystal Coat SWM IF.

Updating lens overview Nikon 18-105mm 1: 3.5-5.6G ED Nikkor VR AF-S SWM DX IF Aspherical I found one feature of its 'A-M' switch. The 'A-M' switch in this lens is non-standard. Normally, in all lenses equipped with this switch, manual focus cannot be performed in 'A' mode. But here is what the instructions say for Nikon 18-105mm f / 3.5-5.6G:

Manual focus can be performed even if AM lens mode is set to A. Set the camera to AF-S focus mode and press the shutter-release button halfway to autofocus. Then, while holding the shutter-release button halfway, manually rotate the lens focus ring to fine-tune the focus. Note. Do not try to rotate the focus ring while the autofocus function is operating. When the autofocus function completes, release and press the shutter-release button halfway again.

Thus, in AF-S mode, after successful focusing, you can still rotate the focus ring to adjust the focus. Unfortunately, such a property is only a miserable semblance of a full-fledged regime M / A with the possibility of continuous manual focus control. However, the 'extended A-M' switch is still more flexible than the regular 'A-M'.

In the end, it turned out that Nikon 18-105mm 1: 3.5-5.6G ED Nikkor VR AF-S SWM DX IF Aspherical Not alone, and other lenses have a similar opportunity.

A list of lenses with an 'A-M' switch that allows manual focus adjustment in AF-S mode and 'A' position:

  1. Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm 1: 3.5-5.6G ED SWM VR IF Aspherical
  2. Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-135mm 1: 3.5-5.6G ED SWM IF Aspherical
  3. Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-140mm 1: 3.5-5.6G ED SWM VR IF Aspherical
  4. Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-300mm 1: 3.5-6.3G ED SWM VR IF Aspherical

With conventional switch 'A-M':

  1. Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1: 3.5-5.6G ED SWM Aspherical
  2. Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1: 3.5-5.6GII ED SWM Aspherical
  3. Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1: 3.5-5.6G SWM VR Aspherical
  4. Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1: 3.5-5.6GII VR II
  5. Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 55-200mm 1: 4-5.6G ED SWM
  6. Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 55-200mm 1: 4-5.6G ED VR IF SWM
  7. Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 55-200mm 1: 4-5.6GII ED VR II
  8. Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 55-300mm 1: 4.5-5.6G ED VR SWM HRI

Unfortunately, without instructions it is impossible to determine exactly how the 'A-M' switch functions on a particular lens.

Without switch, but with 'M / A' support:

  1. Nikon DX AF-P Nikkor 10-20mm 1:4.5-5.6G VR
  2. Nikon DX AF-P Nikkor 18-55mm 1: 3.5-5.6G
  3. Nikon DX VR AF-P Nikkor 18-55mm 1: 3.5-5.6G
  4. Nikon DX AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm 1: 4.5-6.3G ED
  5. Nikon DX AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm 1: 4.5-6.3G ED VR

Note that only cropped Nikon DX lenses use the 'lean' A-M switch. All full-frame AF-S-type lenses can use the more advanced 'A / M' or 'M / A' modes and none of them use the primitive 'A-M'. Thus, for the most part, Nikon DX optics are more limited than Nikon FX optics.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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Comments: 37, on topic: 'A' focus mode features, for select Nikkor lenses with 'A-M' switch

  • Lynx

    at 35 / 1,8G - A / M-M. I'm ok.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      To be precise, the Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1: 1.8G SWM Aspherical has an “M / A - M” switch

      • Lynx

        yes, yes.

    • Anatoly

      Well, 35 / 1,8G in general never really differed in quality ..
      Therefore, there is a manual or a car - it doesn't really matter ..

      • Lynx

        thats OK for me.

      • anonym

        Anatoly, what qualities, if not a secret, did the subject "not particularly differ"? Optical or mechanical quality? Especially when you consider that this is the cheapest of the current native fixes for the Nikon system. It should be considered in terms of price-quality ratio, and here it does not even have many worthy competitors.

        • for

          And what about 1.8d?

          • anonym

            Petrovich, fifty dollars 1.8d is discontinued. And on an open aperture, he loses significantly in sharpness. In addition, it is non-motorized, so I consider the comparison inappropriate.

            • Arkady Shapoval

              50 1.8d is not discontinued, at least it is not discontinued from modern official prices, sites and brochures and is not in archival models of Nikon.

              • anonym

                Arkady read somewhere that they are selling inventory from warehouses. This is the case with the D90, which was sold with varying success for another 2 years after being discontinued.

              • Alexey

                Arkady is right, the lens is still officially released.
                physically all lenses are made in large batches at the warehouse. they are often made on the same lines, of which there are not as many as factories. )
                residues below the norm - the line starts and a new batch flops.
                discontinued, which means that even after the warehouse is empty, the lens will no longer be made.
                another example - for example, Kenon 135/2 is now on sale from Kenon itself with a release date of 2011)))

        • Alexander

          In terms of price and quality, it has no equal. Very good lens.

          • Alexey

            its main problem is that the D series is not adjusted by adjusting the lens itself, physical disassembly is required, which eats, but no one does.
            due to their low cost, no one really rules these lenses at the factory, where front / back is actually the norm.
            total on budget carcasses without fine-tuning the AF in the carcass to shoot on the open is problematic, as well as align the lens in the service.

  • Maria

    I remember the story of how a very strong young man was still able to focus Nikkor 18-55 VR in mode A. Only the lens then did not work properly)

    • Novel

      There was a situation when a similar "bagaty", trying to manually twist the focus on the Canon EF 50mm f / 1.8 II in AF mode, simply twisted half the lens)
      It is, of course, not surprising given the general flimsy of the "bum-fifty", but nevertheless ...

      • Gordey

        A bum-fifty ... well, ok ((((

    • Arkady Shapoval

      It is unlikely that the four lenses I specified with the 'A-M' mode can be damaged by rotating the focus ring in mode A.

      • Gordey

        Arkady, I can’t attach the photo (((

        • Novel

          This term means just a combination of a penny price with exactly the same penny construct. In terms of optical qualities, it is a cut above its cost. But the flimsy makes it actually a consumable - broke - bought a new one.

          • Novel

            PS The photo above does not characterize his picture even once ... A similar photo could be taken on almost any glass.

      • Gordey

        about. attached but it’s not for you, but for the person above who wrote about the fifty bum

        • Anatoly

          He's a bum at his price.
          And what did you want to say with the attached photo taken, obviously, on some cheap whale?

          • Gordey

            on watched

          • Gordey

            that is, the discussed poltos

  • StudioRAK

    There are FreeFocus on some Nikon lenses, and in Fujiki all FX lenses allow you to manually intervene in the sharpness of the picture after automation :)

  • Dmitriy

    Of course, I am a wild lover, and maybe I didn’t understand the author’s intention, but looking at my 35mm G and Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8G, Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f / 3.5-4.5G ED, 85mm f / 1.8G AF-S nikkor, Nikon 16-85mm f / 3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX, Nikon 12-24mm f / 4G ED-IF AF-S DX found all M / A switches -A. Of course, 85 mm and 50 mm are on the FX, but DX cameras also use them (due to their low cost). I apologize for some verbal smear, just copied the names, reluctance to write notation.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Your comment also remained incomprehensible to me.

      • brighty

        Yes, what’s there, everything is clear :). It was possible to accumulate more names, still no one will check.

  • Sergei

    I would also supplement the article with a phrase like:
    “For full use of M / A or A / M modes, you need to use different buttons to release the shutter and perform autofocus. For example, assign the AF-ON function to the AE-L / AF-L button. Otherwise, all manual focusing will go down the drain: autofocus will correct focus and the camera will immediately take a picture.

    • Maugli

      Why are you doing this? For some, only reasonable thoughts began to appear =)

  • Ilyas

    What kind of discrimination !!!!!!!! 11 !!!!! Why there are no articles about Canon?!?! 71717171!?!?!? :)

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Why isn’t it right away, and a recent article about Nikon / Kenon confrontation where canon somehow wins?

  • Anatoly

    Great article .. Absolutely everything about how to be described in detail.
    Thank you very much

  • Paul

    Is there a list of all lenses with full 'M / A' mode?

  • splin11

    HELLO, can someone explain how the 'A-M' designations differ - I have this Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-140mm 1: 3.5-5.6G ED SWM VR IF Aspherical, from 'M / A'? For someone, a stupid question may, mind you laughing)
    And yet, did I understand correctly that in Auto mode, when adjusting the focus manually, after taking a picture, you need to press the Shutter halfway again? thanks

    • Arkady Shapoval

      With M / A, you can rotate the focusing ring whenever you want. With the AM switch, you can rotate only in M ​​mode for most lenses, except those indicated in the article. For the indicated ones, you can rotate, but only after the camera finishes focusing.

  • splin11

    And why do you need to pull the trigger again? What happens if you don't press this button after taking a picture?

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