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Manual autofocus

From: Photography 101

Video: Manual autofocus

There's an even more advanced control that you can take over the focusing in your camera. And this is something that's not available on all camera models. So, if you don't find this on your camera model, it may simply not be there. But I'm going to show you how to set it up, and of course explain what it does. Now here's the basic idea. Normally when you take a picture, you push down the shutter release halfway, and it focuses and meters. And then you push the button the rest of the way, to take the picture. But what if you could take the focusing away from this button, and put it somewhere else? Now, why would you want to do that? Well, here's the basic idea.

Manual autofocus

There's an even more advanced control that you can take over the focusing in your camera. And this is something that's not available on all camera models. So, if you don't find this on your camera model, it may simply not be there. But I'm going to show you how to set it up, and of course explain what it does. Now here's the basic idea. Normally when you take a picture, you push down the shutter release halfway, and it focuses and meters. And then you push the button the rest of the way, to take the picture. But what if you could take the focusing away from this button, and put it somewhere else? Now, why would you want to do that? Well, here's the basic idea.

On Canon cameras, you have something called the AF on button. And again, on your camera, you'll have to look and see if you have this on there. What I can do by pushing the AF on button, is start the autofocus. But that's only half the story. What I really want to do, is take focusing away from this function here. So to focus the camera, I have to push this with my thumb and to meter and take the picture I have to push this button up here. Now why would I want to separate that? Let's think about a couple different scenarios here. If I want to focus and recompose, we know that I have to put the camera into a single focus mode, focus let the camera lock, recompose and push the button the rest of the way.

But then if I want to switch to a continuous focusing mode, I have to find the mode on the camera and switch it and then go back to shooting. So right there, we've already wasted time switching modes, by keeping the focus here, what this means is that I can leave the camera in continuous focus mode, all the time. And when I want it to single focus, just focus and lock, all I have to do is push this to focus, and then take my finger off the button, and the camera stops focusing. I've just locked focus. Now, I can recompose if I want to, I can push this button to meter and then take the picture without having to worry about the camera trying to refocus, and without having to worry about switching modes.

Now to do this, you do have to get into the custom functions on camera. So, let's take a look at how we get into there on this particular model, the Canon 60D. First thing I do is press the menu button, and you'll notice a row of icons across the top. And you want to find the one that has the custom functions. That's the C.Fn for custom function. And on this particular model we're going to find it under custom function four. Operation/others. And push on that. The first one that comers up, is the control over these buttons here. In the default mode, you'll see it's set to mode 0, is meter and AF start.

That's autofocus start, utilizing the shutter release button. And we can see that icon right here. We also see that the AF on button is also doing metering and autofocus start. But basically, this button and this button are doing the exact same thing. And that's the default setting. But if we just go one step over by selecting it, moving it over to setting one, you notice that now the shutter button only has meter and start. And of course it's going to take a picture as well. And then underneath that, you see the AF on button has metering and auto-focus start.

And this is where I wanted to be. So when I push this AF on button, it will meter and focus, and then if I wanted to stop focusing, I can just take my thumb off of that, and push the button on top to take the picture. It is a little bit esoteric, and it is a little bit extreme. And if you're not used to shooting this way, it can be a little frustrating, because suddenly, you have two buttons to push to take a picture, instead of one. But if you take a little bit of time taking used to it, I think you'll find that it's an incredibly powerful function. Personally, when I was first introduced to it, I thought it was a bit weird, but once I got used to it, there was just no going back for me.

To me it is the absolute best way to shoot. I never have to change my focus mode. It's always set to continuous, and whenever I want that single focus, I just put the button, let it focus, take off my thumb and it locks.

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Photography 101

41 video lessons · 30290 viewers

Joseph Linaschke
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