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Thread started 01 Aug 2016 (Monday) 01:16
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Canon T3/1100D Back-Button Focus ???

 
BuckSkin
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Aug 01, 2016 01:16 |  #1

I have often read of how wonderful back-button focusing is and how it forever changes your photographic life for the better; so, I decided to read up on it and give it a try.

I Googled "how to back-button focus and thoroughly read the ten or so most promising looking tutorials.

Interestingly, we have at least five thick specific T3 how-to books and I could not find a single mention nor explanation in any of them.

I took an even fifty practice shots and I must surely be doing something wrong.

I have always had only the single center focus point active.

From what I gathered from my online reading, I went into Menu>"custom functions"C.Fn.IV and went to number 7 in the little window; I scrolled down to 1:AE lock/AF and pressed "set"; 1:AE lock/AF became blue with the other three choices remaining white.

Although I can see no indication of the fact on the LCD shooting screen, according to what I read, I should have enabled back-button focusing.

It is my understanding that the * button is now my back-button focus.

I left my focus choice on "one shot"; is this the correct choice ?

Now, this is where I get lost:

With my T3 set up for back-button focus, what should be my sequence of events ?

Does half-press shutter-button STILL set focus and I then, once focus is achieved, hold the * button to keep focus locked in; or, does the shutter-button no longer activate focus and the * button now activate focus instead ?


I hope I worded my questions in a way that they make sense.

Thanks for reading.




  
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john ­ crossley
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Aug 01, 2016 01:56 |  #2

BuckSkin wrote in post #18083282 (external link)
I have often read of how wonderful back-button focusing is and how it forever changes your photographic life for the better; so, I decided to read up on it and give it a try.

I Googled "how to back-button focus and thoroughly read the ten or so most promising looking tutorials.

Interestingly, we have at least five thick specific T3 how-to books and I could not find a single mention nor explanation in any of them.

I took an even fifty practice shots and I must surely be doing something wrong.

I have always had only the single center focus point active.

From what I gathered from my online reading, I went into Menu>"custom functions"C.Fn.IV and went to number 7 in the little window; I scrolled down to 1:AE lock/AF and pressed "set"; 1:AE lock/AF became blue with the other three choices remaining white.

Although I can see no indication of the fact on the LCD shooting screen, according to what I read, I should have enabled back-button focusing.

It is my understanding that the * button is now my back-button focus.

I left my focus choice on "one shot"; is this the correct choice ?

Now, this is where I get lost:

With my T3 set up for back-button focus, what should be my sequence of events ?

Does half-press shutter-button STILL set focus and I then, once focus is achieved, hold the * button to keep focus locked in; or, does the shutter-button no longer activate focus and the * button now activate focus instead ?


I hope I worded my questions in a way that they make sense.

Thanks for reading.


BBF does one thing and one thing only; it disengages focusing from the shutter button, so the only way you can then auto-focus is by pressing the back-button.
Whether or not it is the great panacea everyone makes it out to be is open for debate.


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Pippan
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Aug 01, 2016 02:53 |  #3

I checked on my son's 1100D and you have set it right. A half-press of the shutter should now activate the exposure meter but not the focus. Pressing the * button will activate autofocus with whatever AF point(s) you have set for it. Although it works on One Shot, I think most people switch to AI Servo when using BBF as it simply focuses (and continues to focus) while the * button is pressed and stops focusing when the button is released, so you can use it for any situation.

It took me a few days to get used to it but now I can't imagine focusing any other way. Oh, btw it only BBFs on P, Av, Tv and M. In the other modes it reverts to shutter focusing. This is handy for when you give your camera to someone else to take a snap--just turn it to one of the other modes so they don't wonder why it doesn't focus with the shutter!


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BuckSkin
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Aug 01, 2016 03:32 |  #4

john crossley wrote in post #18083295 (external link)
BBF does one thing and one thing only; it disengages focusing from the shutter button, so the only way you can then auto-focus is by pressing the back-button.
Whether or not it is the great panacea everyone makes it out to be is open for debate.


Pippan wrote in post #18083312 (external link)
I checked on my son's 1100D and you have set it right. A half-press of the shutter should now activate the exposure meter but not the focus. Pressing the * button will activate autofocus with whatever AF point(s) you have set for it. Although it works on One Shot, I think most people switch to AI Servo when using BBF as it simply focuses (and continues to focus) while the * button is pressed and stops focusing when the button is released, so you can use it for any situation.


Thanks ! You guys explained it better in a couple simple sentences than all of the tutorials I read.

Armed with this new knowledge, I will take some more practice shots and see how I fare.

Thanks so much.




  
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saea501
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Aug 01, 2016 07:25 |  #5

john crossley wrote in post #18083295 (external link)
BBF does one thing and one thing only; it disengages focusing from the shutter button, so the only way you can then auto-focus is by pressing the back-button.
Whether or not it is the great panacea everyone makes it out to be is open for debate.

Way over rated. I found it completely annoying.

But.....to each his own.


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Aug 01, 2016 09:44 |  #6

Wouldn't do it any other way. Back button and AI Servo.


Gripped 6D, gripped 6D2, gripped 70D, 80D and a bag full of lenses.

  
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CyberDyneSystems
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Aug 01, 2016 10:26 |  #7

I wouldn't describe it as Panacea, but I also would not call it over rated.

Once mastered it offers the photographer a significant improvement in control over composition, exposure, and precise focus location with nearly instantaneous results.

There are other ways to get the same separation of control for precise work, but they take longer to use in practice, and thus are less applicable to the action oriented photographer.

It's a tool like any other, and has it's benefits for many applications.
Like most tools however, there are other ways of doing things. Not sure why some feel the need to poopoo it simply because they do not prefer that tool.


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BuckSkin
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Aug 01, 2016 10:51 |  #8

From my short experience yesterday I did see big room for improving the tool.

I have big hands and that little * button is tiny and right against another equally tiny button; plus, it is going to take a bit of getting used to the idea of my thumb having to do something.

If I were to design back-button focus as an included feature on a new camera model, the button would be on the front, just below the shutter button, where the finger next to the index finger would operate it; thus, the maneuver would be akin to using a double set trigger on a rifle, natural and instinctive.

I am going to keep practicing the skill and become proficient before I decide whether I like it or not.

Thanks.




  
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CyberDyneSystems
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Post edited over 4 years ago by CyberDyneSystems. (2 edits in all)
     
Aug 01, 2016 12:06 |  #9

BuckSkin wrote in post #18083577 (external link)
From my short experience yesterday I did see big room for improving the tool.

I have big hands and that little * button is tiny and right against another equally tiny button; plus, it is going to take a bit of getting used to the idea of my thumb having to do something.

If I were to design back-button focus as an included feature on a new camera model, the button would be on the front, just below the shutter button, where the finger next to the index finger would operate it; thus, the maneuver would be akin to using a double set trigger on a rifle, natural and instinctive.

I am going to keep practicing the skill and become proficient before I decide whether I like it or not.

Thanks.

First, it's only on the T/Rebel/Kiss bodies (and some much older DSLR) that there is not a dedicated [AF ON] button on the back. It's placement is preferred by some, others prefer the * button, in this case the functions can be swapped. This is not a new tool, it's been available on Canon since the film days. I believe Nikon as well, and likely all the others that were around back then. (minolta, Pentax etc) So this is a pretty well evolved standard. That said, some bodies are not really set up to be as comfortable.

Second, although I can follow your logic, I feel it is flawed. Once you've used this set up with separate control for AF more than a few times and grown accustomed to it, you will learn why it is that your proposed "double set trigger" arrangement would be a step backward.

In time when your thumb and forefinger become completely accustomed to the different tasks, part of the speed advantage of the separation of controls would be lost if you had to use one finger to activate both.

ie: a portion of the time we are activating AF ON and Metering at the same time, much more often in AI Servo we are activation focus and triggering the shutter together. Your set up would in essence remove that part of the dual button capability by making the dual buttons only accessible one at a time.

With two buttons/two fingers we do not lose the cameras default ability to meter/AF/and trigger the shutter all at once. We instead gain instant access to a way to override the all or nothing approach allowing us to meter in one place, AF in another, then frame for composition in a third place, before we trigger the shutter.

Again, there are other ways to achieve this, but this is the best option that allows us constant access to these options, with no change in settings and with instant results in fast changing shooting environment.


Lastly, some cameras control layouts do not fair well with BBF, and your might be included. I agree with you that it is tricky on the T/Rebel/Kiss bodies, using the * button. I also own the even smaller SL1, and though I have the option to set up AF via the * button on it, I find it's placement to be very poor, to close to make it usable. It is the only body I have ever owned that I do not set up to AF with a back button.


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john ­ crossley
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Aug 01, 2016 13:46 |  #10

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #18083646 (external link)
...a portion of the time we are activating AF ON and Metering at the same time, much more often in AI Servo we are activation focus and triggering the shutter together. Your set up would in essence remove that part of the dual button capability by making the dual buttons only accessible one at a time...

I think BuckSkin meant using the Index-Finger to fire the shutter and the Middle-Finger to activate focusing.


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CyberDyneSystems
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Aug 01, 2016 13:53 |  #11

Ah, missed that. Thanks.


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Aug 01, 2016 15:27 as a reply to  @ CyberDyneSystems's post |  #12

Jake, when I tried my son's 1100D the * button seemed ideally placed for BBF but on my 100D I've swapped the functions of * and focus point buttons in the menu, so that BBF is on the focus point button and focus point shift is on *. I've used it like that for about 2 years and it works really well that way.


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Aug 01, 2016 17:57 |  #13

Pippan wrote in post #18083312 (external link)
it only BBFs on P, Av, Tv and M. In the other modes it reverts to shutter focusing.


That bit is good to know and I saw no mention of it in any of the articles I read.

Thanks.




  
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CyberDyneSystems
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Post edited over 4 years ago by CyberDyneSystems.
     
Aug 02, 2016 09:06 |  #14

Pippan wrote in post #18083848 (external link)
Jake, when I tried my son's 1100D the * button seemed ideally placed for BBF but on my 100D I've swapped the functions of * and focus point buttons in the menu, so that BBF is on the focus point button and focus point shift is on *. I've used it like that for about 2 years and it works really well that way.


Hmm, I might have to give that a try. Thanks! I guess I didn't even realize that button swapping was an option on that model.


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Aug 02, 2016 16:55 as a reply to  @ CyberDyneSystems's post |  #15

Third yellow, spanner tab in menu, fourth option down :)


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