Join Justin Reznick for an in-depth discussion in this video Configuring back-button autofocus, part of Canon Digital SLR: Tips, Tricks, & Techniques.
- Setting the back-button focus is the same in all three camera models, so we're going to work on the 5DS. Now what I've done is reset the menu system so that it's exactly as you'd see it coming straight out of the box. I encourage you to do the same so we can start this process together. The very first menu item we see is shoot one. We're going to go ahead and move down. We'll come back to those in a little bit. We're going to come all the way to custom controls. When we get to custom controls, we're going to hit the set button which is the circle button right in the middle of that scroll wheel.
Now, the first item is the shutter button and we can see by selecting it with the set button. You have three options. The first one is called metering and autofocus start. The second is metering start. And the third is auto exposure lock. The default meters, focuses, and shoots when you press your shutter button. We want take the focus away, so by moving it over here, we've disabled autofocus. So I want you to pick metering start and hit set.
Now, we're going to move to the next item which is autofocus on. Now, what's great about this menu, and I really love it, is that you see the camera in the back of the screen and you can see exactly what button is highlighted. Okay, so here we are. Autofocus on. I'm going to select it, and we see that the very first option is metering and autofocus start. This is what I want, so it's perfect. Do not change that. I'm going to do one more thing. I'm going to come down to the AE lock button, which is represented by an asterisk, and I'm going to select that.
I'm also going to make it metering and autofocus start and I'll show you why in a minute. So I'm going to select that, and now we are done. This camera is set up for back-button focus. Over on the tripod, we have a 5D Mark III mounted. We have a still life of antique cameras and we're going to go ahead into live view and do a quick demonstration of the back-button focus that we have configured. Now in live view I have my focus box and I'm able to move it around.
And when I want to go ahead and focus, pressing the shutter button halfway doesn't do anything. I've disabled it. If I come over to AF on, which remember, is the button in the back of the camera, the furthest one to the left, when I select it and hold it down, the box on the screen goes green and it beeps. It gives me that confirmation. So now I can come back to the shutter and take a shot. So focus is on the back and taking a capture is on the shutter button.
Now if I move over to the asterisk, which is the button to the right of AF on, and select this, hold it down, green box, beep for confirmation, I've done the same exact thing. Now why did I do it to both buttons? It's because your thumb is going to naturally sit in the back of the camera and it's important to pick which button is most comfortable for you. Some people like AF on. For me, I actually like the auto exposure lock or the asterisk. That's just where my thumb naturally rests.
So again, I hold it down, beep, and then I shoot. Now, a quick point here is, why do we want to do back-button focus? What's the point? Well, I've got still life of these cameras and once I focus, the camera is on a tripod, those cameras are not going anywhere. There's really no point for me to focus again so I continue to shoot. I can change some settings, maybe exposure compensate. I can take another shot. But I'm not wasting time focusing again.
So when you have the power to focus when you want, you're going to be more efficient in how you shoot. Now to see this in the field I really encourage you to visit my courses on Washington State, the Palouse, and Olympic National Park, where I demonstrate back-button focus. All right, let's move on to live view.
In this course, photographer and educator Justin Reznick demonstrates a set of customizing strategies aimed at making a Canon DSLR far more responsive and effective. That way, you can focus on composition and artistic expression, and let your Canon handle the rest.
- Maximizing Live View
- Configuring Drive mode
- Working with bracketed settings
- Creating custom menus
- Configuring card slots in a multiformat camera
- Working with autofocus in the viewfinder