Can the continuous autofocus (on video) be turned off on my Nikon D3100 so that it operates similar to the Canon 500D? This is mainly to remove the noise from the autofocus which I read in earlier posts.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Bear in mind that turning off the continous autofocus will mean that if your subject moves they will likely become out of focus. You're going to have to be pretty nifty with manual to avoid a lot of back and forth blurring. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 10:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Turning on autofocus on the D3100 produces pretty much unusable video because of the lens sound. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 12:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Even with an external microphone or sound off, it is still a pain to use since the video AF is so slow it always lags behind a moving subject, even one that does not move so fast. In AF-S mode you can refocus at any time too, so the AF-C option is the least useful. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 14:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ is it alright to ask questions that could blatantly been answered by reading the manual? (or pressing the "?" button near the options and reading the captions on the menu) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 23:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a perfectly valid question. It is answerable, it's on topic ("using photographic equipment", and several other questions about the video feature of SLRs have been deemed on-topic.), and it's not subjective or argumentative. Sure, the answer might be found in the user manual, but there's no reason we can't repeat the answer here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Evan Krall
    Commented Mar 2, 2011 at 8:51

1 Answer 1


Two easy ways.

  1. Turn your lens to Manual focus. Nearly every lens has some kind of switch to toggle between modes of focus.

  2. In camera, while in video mode.. press the "i" button, go down to where it says "AF-F" (the fourth option down on your menu, under the ISO setting) and change to "MF" or "AF-S"

  • \$\begingroup\$ I just want to say that this helped me a lot!!! I have been tearing my hair out trying to get the camera to continuously focus while shooting video without much success. I didn't realise that by switching to live view the options were different in regards to focus. What a plonker I am! Oh well, I was about to take the camera back because I thought the camera had a problem. What I couldn't work out was why it was auto focusing on the stills but not in video. I use a separate voice recorder so the sound of the lenses do not affect me. Anyways, many thanks for this! \$\endgroup\$
    – user21757
    Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 23:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ The 70 to 300 Nikon lens does not have that switch. The only way that I can see to disable the auto focus would be to figure out which contacts on the lens activate the auto focus feature on the lens. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 4:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ If your 70-300mm lens is the AF-P version then the focus switch on the lens is replaced with a menu option, similar to the 'video mode' method - no need to mess with the contacts. Depending on your camera model you may need a firmware update to get this option. Note that the AF-P lenses are a new design which wasn't around when this question was originally posted, and are not compatible with all Nikon DSLRs incl. the D3100 that was asked about. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kat
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 9:29

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