Originally Posted by Fuzziekiwi
I really like how Canon has the little screen on the top and better buttons to actually change ISO. I have to program the function button for ISO on my D5100 (which I just figured out last week, oops). I'm still learning a lot, and just started taking photography seriously the past 4 months. I knew nothing about my camera beforehand and rarely used it.
I have a question, I've read really different opinions: do you use manual focus all the time? I personally have such a hard time with it. I just pick my AF point, focus and recompose.
-Maybe I don't understand you, but even my old D80 set ISO from the top display? Push the ISO button on the rear, rotate the rear dial until the desired ISO value was displayed on top between the shutter release and the finder? (Or at least that's how I think it did it; I haven't used it in ages...)
As for manual focus, it depends. If I am in a situation where the AF is likely to be confused - say, low light, big-time cluttered foreground or the like, I tend to switch to manual, focus on where the action is and, if possible, make sure I have chosen an aperture small enough for depth of field to be sufficient even if the object is moving rapidly or my focus is ever so slightly off.
Also, when doing landscapes, still lifes and other action-challenged subjects, I tend to stick with manual, though AF too would in general provide excellent results. Probably comes down to habit - my first few SLRs were manual focus, and I still shoot several manual-focus only cameras on a weekly basis. Besides, I'd much rather focus manually and get focus where I want it, rather than having to sigh annoyedly and then override the AF when it gets my intentions wrong.
How easy or hard manual focus is really comes down to several factors - among them, which focus screen you are using. Most standard focusing screens are terrible for manual focus, IMHO. Good news is, the screen on just about every Nikon is easily interchangeable with a number of more suitable focusing screens.
Have a look at split-prism focusing screens if this sounds interesting enough to try out (cost for a decent one: $25 or so).