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Autofocus basics

From: Shooting with the Canon Rebel T3i (600D and Kiss X5)

Video: Autofocus basics

Your camera has an auto-focus feature, and for most of your shots, it will provide faster, more accurate focus than you'll achieve using manual focus. However, auto-focus is not completely foolproof. You still have to use it properly to get good results and you can learn everything you need to know about how to get good results with auto-focus in my Foundations of Photography Exposure course. For right now, there are just a few simple things you need to know about auto-focus. First of all for auto-focus to work at all, you've got to be sure that the auto-focus switch on your camera's lens is set to AF, not MF, MF is Manual Focus, and we'll be looking at that in detail later.

Autofocus basics

Your camera has an auto-focus feature, and for most of your shots, it will provide faster, more accurate focus than you'll achieve using manual focus. However, auto-focus is not completely foolproof. You still have to use it properly to get good results and you can learn everything you need to know about how to get good results with auto-focus in my Foundations of Photography Exposure course. For right now, there are just a few simple things you need to know about auto-focus. First of all for auto-focus to work at all, you've got to be sure that the auto-focus switch on your camera's lens is set to AF, not MF, MF is Manual Focus, and we'll be looking at that in detail later.

Second, it is critical, always critical that when you go to use your auto-focus mechanism, you don't just mash the button down all the way to take a picture. You simply press it halfway. And look what happens, a lot of things went off here. First of all, the camera auto-focused and it beeped. You may not have been able to hear that, we'll get back to that in a second. It also took a light meter reading of my scene and decided that it needed the flash. So because I'm in Auto mode it automatically popped up the flash that won't happen in many of the other modes we're going to look at. I'm going to half press again, and you should have heard the beep that time and maybe you even heard the camera focusing a little bit.

What also happened was inside the Viewfinder, the Focus Confirmation Light lit up. So what's going on here is I half press. It meters me at my scene, it auto- focuses, then it beeps, and it shows me a little light inside the Viewfinder. That indicates that okay, I'm focused. I have my meter reading. I'm ready to go. Now, I can press the button the rest of the way to take the shot. If I just come in and mash the button down all the way, a whole lot of things have to happen and there is a little bit of a delay before the picture is actually taken. In this case, that's not a problem because my subject isn't moving, but if this was a person moving around or any kind of scene that was changing rapidly, I might miss that moment that I want.

So I always half press, let everything lock into the place, then press the rest of the way. This is a critical auto-focus technique that you have to just learn to do instinctively. You can't even think about it. So you need to practice that if you don't already understand that auto-focus mechanism. We're going to learn some ways that you can alter the auto-focus mechanism later in the course. I want to go over one, quick one right now though, and that is if I go into my menu, the second item in the first shooting menu is Beep. I can tell it to disable.

That means now, when I half press the shutter button, when it auto-focuses, I'll see a light inside the Viewfinder. I won't hear that beep. If I was shooting in a concert or a performance or maybe in a museum somewhere, that's a way of silencing the camera which is a good idea if you're shooting somewhere where that beep might be distracting.

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This video is part of

Image for Shooting with the Canon Rebel T3i (600D and Kiss X5)
Shooting with the Canon Rebel T3i (600D and Kiss X5)

88 video lessons · 22968 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 5m 59s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
    2. What is an SLR?
      2m 39s
    3. How to use this course
      1m 53s
  2. 22m 33s
    1. Basic camera anatomy
      2m 39s
    2. Attaching a lens to your camera
      2m 36s
    3. Batteries and media cards
      2m 44s
    4. Powering up
      2m 38s
    5. Menu navigation and factory defaults
      4m 1s
    6. Setting the date and time
      1m 31s
    7. Setting the language
      1m 7s
    8. Formatting the media card
      2m 48s
    9. Holding the camera
      2m 29s
  3. 21m 23s
    1. Setting Auto mode
      4m 14s
    2. The viewfinder display
      5m 31s
    3. The LCD screen
      2m 15s
    4. Autofocus basics
      2m 38s
    5. Lens controls
      1m 17s
    6. Flash in Auto mode
      1m 26s
    7. Image review
      2m 28s
    8. Image playback
      1m 34s
  4. 21m 14s
    1. What Program mode does
      1m 57s
    2. Exposure compensation
      2m 15s
    3. Metering revisited
      1m 57s
    4. Changing ISO
      2m 51s
    5. Program shift
      2m 30s
    6. Image format and size
      4m 21s
    7. Creative Auto mode
      2m 20s
    8. The Info button
      1m 17s
    9. The Quick Control button
      1m 46s
  5. 6m 21s
    1. Manually selecting a focus point
      2m 33s
    2. Focus modes
      1m 19s
    3. Manual focus
      2m 29s
  6. 7m 30s
    1. Auto white balance
      1m 54s
    2. White balance presets
      2m 7s
    3. Manual white balance
      3m 29s
  7. 8m 56s
    1. Drive mode
      3m 16s
    2. The self-timer
      2m 19s
    3. Remote controls and Bulb mode
      3m 21s
  8. 19m 38s
    1. Metering modes
      2m 19s
    2. Exposure lock
      56s
    3. Aperture Priority mode
      2m 50s
    4. Depth-of-field preview
      2m 11s
    5. Shutter Priority mode
      2m 23s
    6. Manual mode
      2m 46s
    7. Auto exposure bracketing
      2m 34s
    8. Auto lighting optimizer
      1m 59s
    9. Peripheral illumination correction
      1m 40s
  9. 18m 0s
    1. Metadata display
      3m 2s
    2. LCD brightness
      52s
    3. Rotation
      1m 4s
    4. Rating images
      1m 43s
    5. Applying creative filters
      2m 6s
    6. Protecting and deleting images
      3m 26s
    7. File numbering options
      2m 51s
    8. Creating folders
      48s
    9. Copyright information
      2m 8s
  10. 4m 55s
    1. What is a scene mode?
      1m 8s
    2. Scene modes and image formats
      3m 47s
  11. 6m 34s
    1. Fill flash
      1m 2s
    2. Flash exposure compensation
      1m 52s
    3. Red-eye reduction
      1m 36s
    4. Night Portrait scene mode
      2m 4s
  12. 6m 59s
    1. Picture styles defined
      2m 7s
    2. Selecting a picture style
      1m 38s
    3. Adjusting predefined styles
      2m 20s
    4. Monochrome picture styles
      54s
  13. 13m 53s
    1. Activating Live view
      4m 42s
    2. Focusing in Live view
      5m 31s
    3. Aspect ratio
      1m 35s
    4. Live view's drawbacks
      2m 5s
  14. 12m 55s
    1. Configuring and activating video
      5m 17s
    2. Focusing
      4m 6s
    3. Exposure control
      2m 11s
    4. Movie playback
      1m 21s
  15. 15m 6s
    1. Custom menus
      2m 11s
    2. Custom functions
      1m 31s
    3. Exposure level increments
      1m 0s
    4. ISO expansion
      1m 8s
    5. Long exposure noise reduction
      1m 9s
    6. High ISO speed noise reduction
      1m 46s
    7. Highlight tone priority
      1m 53s
    8. AF-assist beam firing
      56s
    9. Mirror lockup
      1m 17s
    10. Shutter/AE Lock button
      2m 15s
  16. 4m 37s
    1. Camera and sensor cleaning
      1m 4s
    2. Operating conditions and temperatures
      2m 9s
    3. Firmware updates
      1m 24s
  17. 23s
    1. Goodbye
      23s

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