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 Post subject: Back Button Focus
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:12 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:53 pm
Posts: 58
Location: Sydney, Australia
Hi guys,

Wondering what situations back button focus is useful for? Everyday shooting or more specific situations?

Is it best used in AI servo or any drive mode?

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 Post subject: Re: Back Button Focus
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:14 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:24 am
Posts: 1822
I have an AF-On button on my Nikon.

I never used to use it, but then saw the light, so to speak.

I have autofocus disengaged on my shutter button now, and just focus with the back button. It allows better workflow for me, as in I have two modes of focus under my thumb at any one point in time.

Either, I focus using a cross point and then release the thumb and recompose (quicker than selecting a focus point manually)
Or, keep the thumb held down for continual tracking


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 Post subject: Re: Back Button Focus
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:58 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:53 pm
Posts: 58
Location: Sydney, Australia
Thanks dubaiphil,

guess it's a matter of practice and getting used to it.

Anyone else have an opinion?

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 Post subject: Re: Back Button Focus
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:40 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:36 am
Posts: 620
Location: Toronto, ON
It took about 2 weeks of being frustrated with my XSi and losing focus lock after moving my finger minutely off the half-press position for me to look into BBF... I haven't looked back. The first thing I do when a new camera comes out of the box is disable AF on the shutter button. Especially with the focus and recompose technique, shooting and focusing are two separate actions and they deserve their own buttons.

And if you're using AI Servo/Continuous AF it really is the only way to operate. Some cameras even have a built-in toggle between One-Shot and Servo (7D, 5DIII, etc.) which allows the ultimate flexibility.

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 Post subject: Re: Back Button Focus
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 10:34 pm
Posts: 1417
Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Well I guess using the back focus button is a better alternative than what I use for focusing and recomposing, that is focusing, switching the lens to manual focusing and then shooting.
I agree with Plymer, focusing and shooting do deserve their own buttons, but sometimes it is a nice thing to be able to focus with the shutter button, especially when you don't have much time to focus, compose and then shoot, for example, shooting wildlife.

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 Post subject: Re: Back Button Focus
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:53 pm
Posts: 58
Location: Sydney, Australia
Thanks for your help guys. So please correct me if I'm wrong here (I'd love to try myself but unfortunately my camera is back with Canon for a warranty repair), but if I'm in AI Servo, shooting in continuous mode- if my thumb is on the back button focus button it will continuously track my subject leaving me to close the shutter when I'm ready?

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 Post subject: Re: Back Button Focus
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:46 pm 
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Location: Mexico City, Mexico
I think so, yes

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 Post subject: Re: Back Button Focus
PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 12:18 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:36 am
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Location: Toronto, ON
Absolutely. And when you take your thumb off the focus button, focus is essentially "locked" and you can fire away without the focus motor engaging. You won't get a focus confirmation in AI Servo mode, but with good shooting technique this isn't an issue.

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 Post subject: Re: Back Button Focus
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:56 am
Posts: 96
Chopper wrote:
if I'm in AI Servo, shooting in continuous mode- if my thumb is on the back button focus button it will continuously track my subject leaving me to close the shutter when I'm ready?

Yes, it will, in AI Servo mode.

After reading this post, I've moved the AF function from the shutter to the * button on the back of my T4i. This changes everything for me, for the better.

Plymer wrote:
You won't get a focus confirmation in AI Servo mode, but with good shooting technique this isn't an issue.

As far as AI Servo is concerned, I'm going to set my camera to AI Focus (I don't know if older models support this mode). AI Focus is a hybrid of One-Shot and AI Servo; It starts in One-Shot mode until AI detects movement, then it switches to AI Servo. That way, as long as it's still in One-Shot mode, I'll get the beep and the focus confirmation light in the viewfinder.

I will probably switch temporarily to having both AF/AE on the shutter button when shooting wildlife type shots, but otherwise I will keep it set to back button focus.

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 Post subject: Re: Back Button Focus
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:11 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:52 am
Posts: 94
I use back button focus all the time. Camera is set to AI servo so if I want to keep focusing I just keep the button pressed and if I want to lock focus just take finger off the button.

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 Post subject: Re: Back Button Focus
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:16 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 4:15 pm
Posts: 920
Location: Kanduhar, Afghanistan
I've been trying with back button focus and just the otherday I finally commited and turned off the half press focus from my shutter. Now I'm waiting for the first time I go shoot and forget that I've done that :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Back Button Focus
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:29 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Maribor, Slovenia
Because of this thread I've converted as well. I was a heathen, but now I see the light! In focus! :lol:

It would be awesome if anyone has tips or tricks like that you would like to share.

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 Post subject: Re: Back Button Focus
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:17 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:46 pm
Posts: 947
Location: Norway
I may convert soon too!

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 Post subject: Re: Back Button Focus
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:39 am 
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Posts: 1822
The only problem - giving the camera to someone else to take a photo! Otherwise it's invaluable


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 Post subject: Re: Back Button Focus
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:23 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Maribor, Slovenia
I've been thinking the same thing, can't wait till my girlfriend gets her hands on it and is lost even more than usual :D

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