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Author Topic: Using the AF-ON button to focus  (Read 3307 times)

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« on: June 17, 2012, 14:01 »
0
Using the back button to Auto Focus


I just started using this technique and it's awesome.  Takes a little while to get used to it's but worth it.

Anyone else do this?

OX


« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2012, 15:57 »
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I've heard other people rave about using the back button for focusing. Does it continue to track the focus point after the button isn't pressed? If nothing else I think that would suck the battery pretty fast and get confused when you point it down or elsewhere.

I'll have to mess with it to see how I like it. I could see missing a number of shots at first.

« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2012, 16:16 »
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All this is really dependent on what you shoot. 

« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2012, 16:28 »
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I've heard other people rave about using the back button for focusing. Does it continue to track the focus point after the button isn't pressed? If nothing else I think that would suck the battery pretty fast and get confused when you point it down or elsewhere.

I'll have to mess with it to see how I like it. I could see missing a number of shots at first.

Nope. No battery drain. Here is how you set it up on a Canon 5D II:
- MENU >> far right Camera icon for Custom Settings
- C.Fn IV: Operation/Other Sutter button / AF-ON button (menu choice 1)
- Nav down to 3: AE lock/Metering + AF Start and activate (it will now be highlighted in blue)
________________________________
- Put camera in IA SERVO mode
- Lens on Auto Focus

NOW...
Look through viewfinder and place the central focus point  on an object to focus on. (assuming that is the one you have set to focus with)
- Press the AF-ON button on the back of camera and central focus mark will flash RED when focus is achieved.
- NOW TAKE YOUR FINGER OFF THE AF-ON BUTTON
- Your focal plain is now set. You can recompose & shoot all day WITHOUT refocusing as long as you or it does not move forward or backward. Sweet :D

Now lets say things start moving...
- Hold down the AF-ON button and IA SERVO kicks in so you can focus track and fire the subject in focus as long as  you continue to hold the AF-ON button down.

You can do this on all of the high end Canons and Nikons but I only know the setting for the 5D.

Hope this helps.
OX
« Last Edit: June 18, 2012, 00:26 by oxman »

« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2012, 16:32 »
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All this is really dependent on what you shoot. 

True. Somewhat. If you are locked down on a tripod and manual focusing, sure. Not such a big deal.
But if  you are on a run-and-gun location shoot or anywhere where  you are setting focus and re-composing -- this is the ticket ;)

ox

« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2012, 00:27 »
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Yes use it all the time. One big advantage in a static situation is that after focussing once, you can recompose and fire away at will.

« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2012, 08:59 »
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I now use it all the time - it becomes second nature after a while and certainly stops the autofocus from picking the wrong part of the frame as the key focus point

Steve

« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2012, 09:23 »
-1
So for the money one pays for a high-end camera, wouldn't you think the autofocus button would work this way, instead of having to rig some other part of the camera to do the autofocus's job?  :)

« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2012, 14:38 »
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It takes awhile to get used to it. I've been using the AF-ON button on my 5D2 for focussing for a year now. You can focus once, then recompose then make several shots of exactly the same scene using different shutter speeds or apertures for example.

You do NOT have to put your camera in Continuous AF mode for this to work. I keep mine in Single Shot mode. That part of the video is somewhat confusing since they are merely explaining the advantage of combining both features.

Your camera will remember this feature is activated even after you turn it off and on so you might want to add the menu item to your own custom menu so you can switch it without having to search through menus.

Also, if you let a friend use your camera, this will drive them batty.

« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2012, 18:10 »
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Also, if you let a friend use your camera, this will drive them batty.

LMAO!!! ;D :D !!!

« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2012, 11:25 »
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Thanks Oxman for the detailed instructions for the 5D Mark II, I'll try it tonight. Hopefully I can use the custom settings on the dial to switch back and forth (my wife uses my camera every now and then).

« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2012, 11:27 »
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Thanks Oxman for the detailed instructions for the 5D Mark II, I'll try it tonight. Hopefully I can use the custom settings on the dial to switch back and forth (my wife uses my camera every now and then).

You are welcome Kingjon. I think you will like it. And perhaps your wife will as well.

« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2012, 19:15 »
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thanks ox - this is a very informative post.
I will have to try setting up this arrangement and giving it a try!
cool!
nice to have an educational post once in awhile among all the complainin' :)

WarrenPrice

« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2012, 19:24 »
-1
thanks ox - this is a very informative post.
I will have to try setting up this arrangement and giving it a try!
cool!
nice to have an educational post once in awhile among all the complainin' :)

+1

« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2012, 00:28 »
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One thing I noticed while having the camera set up this way is that when I use my remote trigger (home-made wired, with a 1/2 press focus button and a full press shutter button and a switch for bulb) I couldn't focus without pressing the button on the back of the camera. I set up a user mode with the back button focus and one w/o the back button focus so I can switch between them and see what I like.

digitalexpressionimages

« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2012, 12:05 »
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A custom function would work for situations in which you can lock focus but the AI Servo thing is only really useful if you have a lens with a fast AF. I tried it at a horse show and was disappointed. The AF couldn't keep up. I was hoping it would allow me to get more than I would ordinarily get.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2012, 12:16 »
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A custom function would work for situations in which you can lock focus but the AI Servo thing is only really useful if you have a lens with a fast AF. I tried it at a horse show and was disappointed. The AF couldn't keep up. I was hoping it would allow me to get more than I would ordinarily get.

I use AI Servo at motocross.  It seems to work very well.  Can't see why it wouldn't keep up with a horse?   I used a single focal point (the center point).  Did you try that?

A "fast AF lens" would seem obvious for sporting events.

 

digitalexpressionimages

« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2012, 13:55 »
0
A custom function would work for situations in which you can lock focus but the AI Servo thing is only really useful if you have a lens with a fast AF. I tried it at a horse show and was disappointed. The AF couldn't keep up. I was hoping it would allow me to get more than I would ordinarily get.

I use AI Servo at motocross.  It seems to work very well.  Can't see why it wouldn't keep up with a horse?   I used a single focal point (the center point).  Did you try that?

A "fast AF lens" would seem obvious for sporting events.

 

merely pointing out my experience trying it. Do the motocross bikes come directly at you? That was my problem. The distance between me and the horse closed too fast for the lens to keep up. I always use centre point for focus BTW.

If you're offering to buy me the Canon 70-200 f2.8 L that's awfully nice of you. If not then pointing out a fast AF lens is "obvious" for sporting events is pretty useless information. I do what I can with what I can Afford. I have the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 and it's an excellent lens but the AF is not as fast as the Canon and not fast enough. But thanks for your 2cents now I can put a down payment on a faster lens.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2012, 15:27 »
0
A custom function would work for situations in which you can lock focus but the AI Servo thing is only really useful if you have a lens with a fast AF. I tried it at a horse show and was disappointed. The AF couldn't keep up. I was hoping it would allow me to get more than I would ordinarily get.

I use AI Servo at motocross.  It seems to work very well.  Can't see why it wouldn't keep up with a horse?   I used a single focal point (the center point).  Did you try that?

A "fast AF lens" would seem obvious for sporting events.

 

merely pointing out my experience trying it. Do the motocross bikes come directly at you? That was my problem. The distance between me and the horse closed too fast for the lens to keep up. I always use centre point for focus BTW.

If you're offering to buy me the Canon 70-200 f2.8 L that's awfully nice of you. If not then pointing out a fast AF lens is "obvious" for sporting events is pretty useless information. I do what I can with what I can Afford. I have the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 and it's an excellent lens but the AF is not as fast as the Canon and not fast enough. But thanks for your 2cents now I can put a down payment on a faster lens.

No offense intended.  Sorry you took it that way.

« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2012, 19:59 »
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I just focus it using the AF then turn the AF switch on the lens off.

Stays focus at the same focal length all day as well.. and no menu fiddling...

« Reply #20 on: June 24, 2012, 21:57 »
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I tried this and I really like it on my Nikon. Not switching between AF-S and AF-C, I keep it always on AF-C, it makes both. And a3 is set to 3D mode. Only one button have to use all kind of focus situations, AF-ON.

« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2013, 11:41 »
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I have just stumbled across this.  Neat.  It seems to be pretty much about composition and very cool. 

As a poster above mentioned a horse show, I am particularly curious, as that is much of what I do.  In the past, the AF has been tied to the shutter.  It does wander a little, but I am usually able to get the horse in focus at the critical moment as the AF seems to be quick enough.  I use a Nikkor 55-200 1:4-5.6.  I know it's not a fast lens, but it has sufficed.  I also have a "nifty 50" that is faster, but I need the zoom.  Can't afford a truly fast zoom lens.

So, will I do better with the back button AF?  I don't fully understand how the tracking is different without having played with it.

« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2013, 11:53 »
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all sports photographers are using BB :) it takes a while to get used to :)

« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2013, 12:01 »
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all sports photographers are using BB :) it takes a while to get used to :)

Well, I'm all over that - I'll have to check to see if there is a show tomorrow so I can check it out.  Thanks!

« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2013, 12:41 »
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I do the opposite. I have a back button on my Nikon set up to lock the focus. I find this accomplishes about the same thing with less time keeping the button held down. (correction. I use a button the front to lock focus).
« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 16:51 by landbysea »


 

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