Manual Focus (M-REC Mode Only)

Nikon Coolpix 990 permits you to focus manually from a list of 50 preset distances ranging from 0.02 meter (0.8 inch) to infinity. To perform manual focus, you have to be in the M-REC mode. Then, follow the procedure below:

  1. Measure the distance from your subject to the front cover of the lens.
  2. Turn the command dial while holding down the focus setting button M-FOCUS (see the left image below) to select a focus distance.

    The focus setting button The Command Dial

As the command dial is being turned, the current focus distance is shown on both control panel and the LCD monitor. The left image below indicates that the LCD monitor shows the current distance being 3.5ft, while the right image below shows the information on the control panel. Note that there is no unit shown on the control panel; however, it does show M-FOCUS as a reminder. It is odd that Nikon did not show these information in a coherent way.

LCD monitor display Control panel display

When the subject distance is 30ft or, equivalently, 10m, the next larger distance becomes INF. More precisely, if the subject distance is larger than 30ft or 10m, use infinity. The following shows the LCD monitor and control panel when the subject distance is infinity.

LCD monitor display Control panel display

When the subject distance is less than or equal to 30cm or 12in, the distance is shown in red, suggesting that camera may not able to focus at some zoom settings.

After you stop turning the command dial and releasing the M-FOCUS button, the current subject distance will not disappear. This means manual focus is still in effect, and, to focus again, just press and hold the M-FOCUS button and turn the command dial. As long as the subject distance is shown on the LCD monitor and M-FOCUS appears on the control panel, the camera can only be manually focused, and pressing the shutter release button halfway will not activate autofocus. Press the M-FOCUS button only will cancel manual focus and return to autofocus.

The internal flash can be used while in the manual focus mode. Therefore, you can use the internal flash when the subject distance is infinity.

Note that the actual distance may be different from the chosen setting if a converter (i.e., wide angle or telephoto) is being used. In this case, you could use the LCD monitor to determine if the subjects are in focus.

In general, manual focus operation of this camera is very inconvenient and non-intuitive, and I bet you won't use it once you try it.

Selecting a Distance Unit

The distance shown on the LCD monitor has a unit. This unit is either ft for feet or m for meter. The above images show the unit in ft; but, you can change it to meter. Here is the procedure:

  1. In M-REC press the MENU button twice to enter the second M-REC menu. The following USER SETTING menu appears (below left). Then, press the down arrow of the multi-selector twice to highlight FOCUS (below right).

  2. Press the right arrow of the multi-selector to select this submenu. Four options appear (below left). Because we need to modify the setting of distance unit, press the down arrow to highlight Distance Units (below right).

  3. Press the right arrow of the multi-selector to enter the submenu of Distance Units and a new submenu of two options appears as shown below.

    If you prefer to use meter, press the right arrow to select it. Otherwise, use the down arrow to highlight ft, followed by pressing the right arrow to select it.

  4. Once the above steps complete, press the MENU button to return to the M-REC shooting mode.

    Note that once this option is chosen, it will stay there even after turning off the camera. Therefore, you need to go through the above procedure again to reverse the setting..