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Thread started 21 May 2012 (Monday) 09:06
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So I finally moved to back button focusing

 
tonylong
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May 26, 2012 18:50 |  #136

Heh! This is a funny thread:)!

A few years ago when I got my first DSLR, the 30D, I quickly began doing a lot of bird shooting, so using AI Servo became routine. I also heard about the BBF setting, and began using that. It is useful, especially for those who "work" the technique, and so when my 5DC came and then my 1DM3 came, they were set up with that. And, especially with my 1D3, it rarely went off of AI Servo. And, I didn't want to hassle with switching things back and forth, so BBF and AI Servo is where things remained and have served me well.

All that being said, I wanted to make a couple remarks, observations from some "messing around" I've done.

One is about AI Focus. It was mentioned that our AI Focus is "notoriously bad", but in actuality I'm not so sure about that. Yes, it has a "notoriously bad reputation", and in fact I've never tried to "seriously" use it, but I've messed with it a bit and have wondered about it.

AI Focus begins in One Shot mode. It requires a focus "lock" before it can begin to function. So, it would not be a good setting for a subject that is in motion. You want to use it if a subject is stationary but may go into movement. Once it locks focus, as long as you keep the AF active, you can shoot like you were in One Shot mode, but if the subject moves the camera responds by switching to AI Servo AF.

Now maybe the switchover lags a bit, I don't know, but in tests I've done it seems to actually do "as advertised". In fact, I suspect that one reason so many people have "written off" AI Focus is because they are misusing it by trying to shoot moving subjects with it, but that's just a guess.

********

Another "point": it was stated that the Red Dot focus confirmation doesn't work with BBF and that it doesn't show up in DPP.

Well, that's a mistake. What actually happens is that the Red Dot confirmation/focus lock works fine in One Shot AF and for the initial AF in AI Focus AF and, if you take that initial shot, you get the confirmation and lock and in DPP the focus point will in fact show up.

However, if you switch to AI Servo mode with either the shutter focus or the BBF, there will be no focus confirmation/lock, simply because the camera won't do that in AI Servo AF! It won't "lock" focus, it's continually "recalculating" focus, so in DPP there won't be a Focus Point you can View!

I can't check all this stuff on a newer body, so if you are unclear on what I've said, please check it out yourself on your body, and let us know if there is any variation out there. Try the three AF modes using the shutter button and see if what I say is true, switch to the back button and see if what I say is true!

***************

And then, a third point!

As I said, I've left my cameras typically in AI Servo, BBF, continuous shooting for short bursts, etc, etc. I have on occasion switched to One Shot because if I'm shooting stationary subjects, well, I like the focus confirmation/lock, even though I have no problem using AI Servo with a stationary subject and just letting up on the back button to get a "lock".

But two things came up over the past year!

First, last summer my 5DC has its mirror fall off, and in it went for the replacement. I still had my 1D3, and even my 30D saw some use during the three weeks the 5D was gone. But then it came back.

Well, I quickly found out that Canon serice does indeed set cameras to factory defaults. I first noticed this because my Back Button Focus didn't work! Even worse was the day I rushed off to do some shooting at an event and didn't have the "stuff" packed, including a spare memory card, but as I began shooting the camera was shooting away and it wasn't until I stopped to do some chimping that I found out I had no card, and the camera was set to the default, to shoot without a card! Crazy!

Anyway, as far as the Shutter/Back Button AF, I just decided to leave it be for the time, just decided not to fuss with it, because for any wildlife/birding/actio​n, well I use my 1D for that, always in AI Servo, Always BBF!

Well, fast forward to the past few months, and due to financial needs I decided to sell, well, the 1D3, the 24-70, the 70-200 f/2.8 IS, and also my 85 f/1.2, pretty much all my "heavy duty" gear.

I still have the 5D and the 30D and, for critters, the 100-400. So, I'll need to rethink whether to move to the back button or just to say "Hey, we're having fun!"

More a challenge, though, is to make sure I'm in AI Servo! a month ago I was at a meetup with some fellow POTN photogs in downtown Portland, OR. For most of my stuff I was perfectly happy using the shutter button, and One Shot AF, but then, I had to switch over to catch shots of the "Lightrail" transit train, and we went down to the Waterfront where there are not only a lot of people walking but also bicyclists and other contraptions, so AI Servo.

Anyway, the good news is that my 5DC can actually perform in AI Servo:)! But dang, you can't see the little Red Dots in DPP:):)!!!


Tony
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jhayesvw
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May 26, 2012 21:42 as a reply to  @ tonylong's post |  #137

guitarjeff wrote in post #14488752 (external link)
Don't know what you are talking about, I can set my camera to ai servo and still focus on a stationary target and it switches if the subject move, I mean the camera intteligent one, so still don't see why I can't do everything, and i also find that recompose is much easier with the shutter button, it's a quick sweep that is tied to the shutter and I find that the BBF feels like some separated operation and itis not as smooth as a quick half shutter press and a swipe with the camera to grab focus and recompose.

If you put your camera in ai servo and shutter button focus. Then focus on a subject with the center point. Them you move your subject to one of the corners you will refocus on whatever is in he center of thr frame. Your subject will change.
However, with bbf when I let go of the back button the focus stays where it was. I can put my subject anywhere in the frame and my original subject stays in focus. Then I just click the shutter. You cant do that with only the shutter button.



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elrey2375
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May 26, 2012 21:46 |  #138

jhayesvw wrote in post #14489722 (external link)
If you put your camera in ai servo and shutter button focus. Then focus on a subject with the center point. Them you move your subject to one of the corners you will refocus on whatever is in he center of thr frame. Your subject will change.
However, with bbf when I let go of the back button the focus stays where it was. I can put my subject anywhere in the frame and my original subject stays in focus. Then I just click the shutter. You cant do that with only the shutter button.

Why would you want to do this though? Maybe with the Mark II it's something that you have to do, but the outer focus points work just fine on the Mark III.


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jhayesvw
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May 26, 2012 23:07 |  #139

elrey2375 wrote in post #14489741 (external link)
Why would you want to do this though? Maybe with the Mark II it's something that you have to do, but the outer focus points work just fine on the Mark III.

the 1d series has more AF points than the XXd and XXXd series.
so,to get the subject where you want it, a quick focus and recompose works best.
if you have 45 AF points, then it wouldnt be an issue but the XXd and XXXd have only 9.



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Erik ­ S. ­ Klein
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May 26, 2012 23:13 |  #140

I'm so used to it now that I'm pretty sure I'll set my 1Dx (if it ever gets here) to BBF as well. With a user mode configured for "The Boss" (tm) so she can use it "normally."


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neil_r
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May 27, 2012 02:09 |  #141

I am going to try this BBF it seems to give you much more time to spend writing long and detailed posts on Internet forums.


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etaf
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May 27, 2012 02:11 |  #142

so AI Focus would be the same as BBF with AIServo
if you want one shot you take you finger off the button and if you suspect the subject is going to move hold the button down

i will be playing today at a family get together - see how i get on


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erniethemilk
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May 27, 2012 02:26 |  #143

BBF - tried it, like it.

Will I ever go back? Sure I will, just as I'll go forward too! :)


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JJD.Photography
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May 27, 2012 08:26 as a reply to  @ erniethemilk's post |  #144

I gave BBF a try yesterday at the park shooting birds (geese, seagulls, ducks). I am a believer now :cool:


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joema2
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May 27, 2012 09:10 |  #145

elrey2375 wrote in post #14487673 (external link)
...Putting the focus point where I want it is simply more important. I can't be BBF'ing, pressing the shutter, moving focus points, etc., I've only got so many fingers...

Edwin Herdman wrote in post #14488283 (external link)
Stick with the same focus points then.

What? My 5D3 has 61 AF points, 41 are cross-type, and you're saying don't use them?

If you're using AI Servo on a moving subject, you can either move the AF point to properly compose, else shoot it using the center AF point, which changes the composition and/or causes extra cropping in post. Canon (and Nikon) added those AF points for such situations.

elrey2375 wrote in post #14487673 (external link)
...On the 7D...hit that back button and then slide your pointer finger forward from the shutter release to the manual function button. The wheels let you move the AF points up or down

On the 5D3 (and I think the 7D) you can program the joystick for AF Point Direct Selection. The joystick is active whenever metering is on. On the 5D3, no turning of dials is needed, no need to press the AF Point Selection button -- your thumb positions the active AF point in any direction (not just up and down).

Nikons from the D300 up are the same: you can continuously reposition the AF point in any direction with your thumb while maintaining metering and AF activation on the shutter button. For a burst of shots in AI Servo (Nikon AF-C) this is an effective method.




  
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May 27, 2012 09:50 |  #146

tonylong wrote in post #14489173 (external link)
Heh! This is a funny thread:)!

......
One is about AI Focus. It was mentioned that our AI Focus is "notoriously bad", but in actuality I'm not so sure about that. Yes, it has a "notoriously bad reputation", and in fact I've never tried to "seriously" use it, but I've messed with it a bit and have wondered about it.
........

Tony, I think the ability of AI Focus is limited by the focus capabilities of the camera and lens. On the 5Dc, for example, which has poor AF on the outer points, AI Focus works "OK" on the center point but if you are using one of the outer points AI Focus struggles.

On my xTi, with the nifty fifty AI focus is touch and go and in low light, forget it.

Shooting mostly non-moving targets, outside of family outings, I've never had to need to use the functionality provided by AI Focus. It would be interesting to hear from some who have had success with it. Maybe models with better AF (1D?) might have more success?


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judyg
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May 27, 2012 10:19 |  #147

Overkill-F1 wrote in post #14471283 (external link)
All of my focusing is BBF. I have set up one of my Custom Modes with the AF on a half-press of the shutter button. Before I hand over my camera to someone else, I switch to C1 and they have no trouble using my camera. No menu setting to change.
...Terry

Pure genius. Thank you for solving the only issue I've ever had with back button focus.




  
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Yogi ­ Bear
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May 27, 2012 10:37 |  #148

joema2 wrote in post #14490990 (external link)
On the 5D3 (and I think the 7D) you can program the joystick for AF Point Direct Selection. The joystick is active whenever metering is on. On the 5D3, no turning of dials is needed, no need to press the AF Point Selection button -- your thumb positions the active AF point in any direction (not just up and down).

That is how the joystick works on my 7D also. I don't know which setting allows that though. I only need to use the MFn button to switch between single point, single point w/expansion, All 19 points, or Zone. Once I have made that selection it is a very simple matter to move the selected point with the joystick, but again, the MFn button is not a prereq for using the joystick.


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May 27, 2012 11:22 |  #149

joema2 wrote in post #14490990 (external link)
What? My 5D3 has 61 AF points, 41 are cross-type, and you're saying don't use them?

If you're using AI Servo on a moving subject, you can either move the AF point to properly compose, else shoot it using the center AF point, which changes the composition and/or causes extra cropping in post. Canon (and Nikon) added those AF points for such situations.


On the 5D3 (and I think the 7D) you can program the joystick for AF Point Direct Selection. The joystick is active whenever metering is on. On the 5D3, no turning of dials is needed, no need to press the AF Point Selection button -- your thumb positions the active AF point in any direction (not just up and down).

Nikons from the D300 up are the same: you can continuously reposition the AF point in any direction with your thumb while maintaining metering and AF activation on the shutter button. For a burst of shots in AI Servo (Nikon AF-C) this is an effective method.

I've looked and looked for how to do this, without success. I even read the manual :lol:


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Yogi ­ Bear
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May 27, 2012 11:29 |  #150

elrey2375 wrote in post #14491393 (external link)
I've looked and looked for how to do this, without success. I even read the manual :lol:

Are you half-pressing the shutter first?


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