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If you are shooting in Aperture or Shutter mode, you have as you say to apply exposure compensation [0] in situations where the subject is lighter or darker than the area of the frame where exposure metering is being applied. Exposure compensation requires a bit of thought about what is happening to the non-priority control (i.e. to the aperture when you are in shutter priority, and vice versa). So, if you are thinking about the other value as well, why not control it directly? In full manual mode.

I've also, on my Nikon D3S, decoupled the focus control from the shutter release button (there is a dedicated 'operate the autofocus now' button on the back). But that is a whole different story,

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exposure_compensation

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