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Tips for the Week
3 Ways to get Better Control of Autofocus
In this post, Steve Berardi fromPhotoNaturalisttalks about three ways to get better control of autofocus.
autofocus can be really annoying. For some shots it’ll focus on the right part
of your subject, but then the very next shot it may choose to focus on
something far and away into the background.
Sure, you could avoid this problem by always using manual focus, but
autofocus is great when you need to focus quickly or when you’re photographing
a landscape and you need to focus on a certain spot in the scene.
Well, autofocus doesn’t have to be annoying anymore, because here are three
ways to get better control of it:
#1 – Press your shutter button half-way to activate autofocus and then
Set your autofocus point to the center spot, then point this spot where you
want to focus and press your shutter button half-way (don’t press it completely
yet) to initiate autofocus. Then, while still holding down the button half-way,
recompose your shot and press the button completely down to snap the photo.
#2 – Switch to manual focus after autofocusing
Use autofocus as you normally do, but once it focuses on the right spot,
just switch off autofocus on your lens to manual focus. Your lens will keep the
current focus when you do this. This method works well when your camera is on a
tripod and you’re taking multiple exposures from the same spot, like when
photographing a landscape.
#3 – Use back-button autofocusing
Normally, your camera will autofocus when you press the shutter button, but
with back-button autofocusing, you have to press a button on the back of the
camera instead, giving you complete control of when autofocus is initiated.
With back-button autofocusing, you can just set the autofocus point to the
center spot, then point that where you want to focus, and finally press the
back button to automatically focus on that point. Now for all the shots you
take from that position, that focus will be maintained (the camera won’t
randomly focus into the background anymore).
You can do the same thing without this back-button autofocusing by switching
to manual focus after the camera focuses properly, but using the back button
saves time and this way you don’t have to constantly switch back and forth
between manual and autofocus (which can inadvertently move the camera
Back-button focusing is especially helpful for photographing moving
subjects, like birds in flight or other wildlife: just switch on the
continuous focusing mode, set the autofocus point to the center spot, and hold
down that back button. Now you don’t have to worry about accidentally hitting
the shutter button while you’re tracking the subject in your viewfinder.
How to enable back-button autofocusing: Unfortunately, this feature
is called something different on each camera, so you’ll probably have to do
some digging around in your camera’s manual and "custom functions” to find it.
If it’s not labelled clearly on your camera, try changing the settings of the
different buttons on the back of your camera (like the AE lock button).
(hobbiest, amateurs, starters and professionals)
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