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 Post subject: Camera Ergonomics
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:57 pm
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Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
I chatted for nearly an hour about various photography related topics with the person from whom I bought the Canon 5D mark II. One of which was ergonomics. It started when I was testing out his camera. Something wasn't right, my lens said AF, not MF, but the auto focus wasn't engaging. He explained that he changed the settings so that the shutter button, when pressed half way, does not engage auto focusing. Instead, he used the AF-ON button. His rationale was that he only needs to set the focus once and then have the liberty of firing off multiple shots regardless the composition (assuming distance of subject-to-camera doesn't change, of course). Rationale made sense, and I played with it a bit, but it was difficult for me to make the transition. After buying it from him, I reset the setting so the shutter button engages AF. Creature of habit, I suppose.

But now I'm revisiting the idea... So!

What is your setting preferences? How do you use your camera's features/buttons to fit your shooting style. What's your rationale?

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 Post subject: Re: Camera Ergonomics
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:29 pm 
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Location: UK
I've heard of that technique before too, which I think can separate focus and exposure lock should you need it. But for most of my targets, they're moving so I do need near continuous AF and it wouldn't be a benefit to me. I don't think I've needed to change the functions of any of the buttons... although I have disabled some AF modes in the 7D that I never use.

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 Post subject: Re: Camera Ergonomics
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:52 pm 
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Location: Slovakia
No, i dont find it useful either... if i want to work with one focus distance, i simply autofocus and turn it off... i never understood any benefit of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Camera Ergonomics
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:55 pm 
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Location: Surrey, UK
An unusual technique! Although with modern AF systems being quick and accurate is there really a need? I mean surely its worth the extra split second to make sure your photo is properly in focus. Or am I missing the point of this system? :D

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 Post subject: Re: Camera Ergonomics
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:25 pm 
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See the arrangement as auto-assisted manual focus if you will. Saves you the lag from focusing if you can do it before, without the MF penalty.

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 Post subject: Re: Camera Ergonomics
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:52 pm
Posts: 2173
Location: The Netherlands
I use the AF-on button since a time!

Maybe a bit different though. When I half press the shutter release button the camera focuses and meters the light. Then you -of course- have the lens focused and when I hold the AF-on button I can maintain that focus and release the shutter button to go for a different composition (where the light is different).
My 350D does this automaticly, the 50D doesnt.

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 Post subject: Re: Camera Ergonomics
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:47 pm 
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Location: Toronto, ON
If you're shooting one-off photos (especially in One-shot/single-AF modes), Back-button Focusing doesn't make sense to a lot of people I'm sure.

By my experience though, you shutter-focusers are all weirdos :P Separating the focus from the shutter is almost a necessity for me when using AI Servo/Continuous AF (and really even one-shot) because I may disengage focusing at any time and essentially lock the AF to whatever distance it is, without compromising my ability to take my finger off the shutter if I need to.

Think about a scenario:

You're standing at the back of a church, shooting a 70-200 lens on a camera with a vertical grip. A bride is walking down the aisle toward the altar, and you're tracking her as she's walking away from you. She suddenly stops to hug a relative on the side of the aisle but the composition doesn't work for the way you're holding the camera, so you switch to the other orientation. You take your finger off the shutter and need to quickly shoot again. Do you have time to re-confirm focus before you shoot again? What if you were tracking with the centre AF point and want to shoot an off-centre composition? No time to focus and recompose - by the time you move the camera and lock focus again (needlessly), the moment is over and she's on her way to the altar without a photo of her and her favourite Aunt Milda.

Back-button focus would let you switch orientation and composition without messing up your focus and then once the bride continues up the aisle you're back to tracking her movement with a push of a button.

Apply this to your macro/wildlife/street/etc. shooting situations as necessary.

Back-button for life! (except when I hand my camera to someone else)

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 Post subject: Re: Camera Ergonomics
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:01 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:42 am
Posts: 224
Location: Almere, The Netherlands
I do see how this can be beneficial. Maybe I should play around with this setting a bit more...

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 Post subject: Re: Camera Ergonomics
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:43 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:55 pm
Posts: 877
Location: SE Texas
I had never used back-button focusing with DSLRs, but when handling Fuji X Pro-1 cameras at a local camera shop, tried the technique of setting the camera on manual focus, and using the AE-L/AF-L button to auto-focus, and it worked very well; it seems to be the best way to focus the Fuji X cameras. I may well try back-button focusing with Canon DSLRs.

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