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Photography 101
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Autofocus point selection control


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Photography 101

with Joseph Linaschke

Video: Autofocus point selection control

You may have noticed, looking through your camera lens, that there's a variety of little dots or squares inside of the field of view, and those light up to tell you what the camera has focused on. The cool thing is that, you can actually control which one of those squares the camera's going to use. In general, it's set to an automatic mode. And the camera's going to try and figure it out, and you might see a variety of squares light up, as you point at a subject, and push the button down to focus on it. However if you take control over that, you can manually move that square to which ever one I want, and then that's the point that you can use to focus on. So, let's take a look at a couple different camera models to see how we take control over that.

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Photography 101
2h 9m Beginner Mar 21, 2012

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Today's cameras put an amazing amount of power in the hands of amateur photographers, but it's not always easy to make use of it. All those buttons, dials, and settings can be pretty intimidating. In this workshop, expert photographer Joseph Linaschke helps you understand what's going on inside your camera, explaining fundamentals like what an aperture is and how shutter speed works. Learn basics such as how to hold the camera, what various modes mean and when to use them, and even how and when to use the camera's flash. There's also creative instruction to guide you towards becoming a better photographer. As you become more comfortable with your gear, you'll find that many new creative possibilities open up for you and the quality of your photography improves.

Topics include:
  • Carry and hold that DSLR like a pro
  • Stabilizing the camera: from hands to water glasses to tripods
  • Using aperture, shutter speed, and ISO
  • What the buttons do
  • Manually controlling your autofocus
  • Working with flash
  • Thinking creatively
  • Buying new gear
Subjects:
Photography Cameras + Gear Photography Foundations video2brain
Author:
Joseph Linaschke

Autofocus point selection control

You may have noticed, looking through your camera lens, that there's a variety of little dots or squares inside of the field of view, and those light up to tell you what the camera has focused on. The cool thing is that, you can actually control which one of those squares the camera's going to use. In general, it's set to an automatic mode. And the camera's going to try and figure it out, and you might see a variety of squares light up, as you point at a subject, and push the button down to focus on it. However if you take control over that, you can manually move that square to which ever one I want, and then that's the point that you can use to focus on. So, let's take a look at a couple different camera models to see how we take control over that.

I'll start with this Canon here. You notice that the Canon has a button on the back, that shows a box with a series of dots and kind of a crossed grid pattern. If I push that button down, you'll see on the top on the LCD display, a grid that mimics what you're look at through the viewfinder. You can make this change while you're looking at the LCD or while you're looking through the viewfinder. And now as I roll my finger across the slider here, you'll notice that that point is changing. Telling me which focus point the camera's going to use.

On this particular Cannon model, you have the same function, but you also have a little multifunction controller here on the back. This will do the exact same thing, but instead of having to push a button and spin a dial, all I have to do is move this left, right, up, or down. And also if I just push straight in on it, it's going to choose a center point. So you can move it around using this little fun wheel. This is a lot faster, if you're in a high speed situation. Now let's take a look at the Nikon. The Nikon is similar to the Cannon in that you push a dial and rotate the button, but that's only to get it into that focus mode, from there, you actually get to use the controller, like you have on the more advanced camera. So it's two steps.

There's a button here on the switch between between AF and M. That's auto focus to manual. And when I push that button, and then rotate the dial under my finger here, you'll see the grid changing on the LCD. Right now, it's in the multi-focus point mode. But if I rotate this, it goes down to a slightly smaller multi focus point, all the way down to a single point mode. Now that I'm in that single point mode, I can change which point is being used by moving this little dial on the back. I simply push it left to right or up or down, to move the point around the seam. So, let's see what this looks like looking through the camera.

As you can see, I have a scene, here, where I have my model sitting off to the side of the scene. Now, if I just push the button down to focus, It focuses on the middle of the scene, which is not focusing on her. Though, one way to do this is the focus and recompose. All right, so I can move the camera to her, focus, focus locks, recompose the camera, and take the picture. However, what I really want to do, is control that focus point or move it using the little dial on the back. So, in this case let's go ahead and look through the scene again.

And without moving the camera, I'm going to move the focus point. And now the focus point is pointing at her, so when I press down the button half way it focuses on her, (audio playing) and I can take the picture without having to recompose. This is fantastic way to shoot. For something like this where it's static, it may seem like it's not really that necessary. But imagine if your shooting any type of action and you want that action to not be centered in the scene. You might want to have the person running for example be off to the side of the scene, and have the focus block on them and then you can track them and have that focus point stay over them while you move.

And that's what this focus point controller is for. But I definitely encourage you to check this out on your camera model you may need to look in the manual to see exactly how it works. Once you have it down, get used to using it because it is an incredibly, incredibly useful feature.

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