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Focus Question

Bitman
Contributor

I was trying to photograph some deer, in the woods, not out in the open.
My auto focus was constantly trying to focus on the surrounding brush.
No problem, I just focused manually with the lens ring. But when I tried to push the shutter button.
The camera would focus on the brush again.
My question is. Should I set the camera up for back button focus?
So the shutter button doesn't want to change the focus, or is there something else I should be doing?
Camera is a Canon R6.
Thanks.

8 REPLIES 8

rs-eos
Elite
Elite

I believe back-button focus would be good for that scenario (though I've never used it, so not 100%).

 

Other options include switching the lens to manual.

 

Or, if the lens supports manual focus override, press shutter half-way (acquire initial focus).  Then with shutter held down half-way, adjust the focus on the lens manually.

--
Ricky

Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers

wq9nsc
Authority
Authority

I shoot primarily sports, often with three camera bodies at a time, and I can react more quickly using the traditional shutter release button for both AF and shutter release.  But I sometimes do use the handy stop focus buttons which are arranged in a ring on my "great white" Canon primes.  To provide this function with other glass, I have the back button focus button configured as a stop rather than start AF button so when I need to freeze focus I can stop AF action with that button.

 

If you want to use full manual focus, you could turn off AF temporarily.  The AF systems are so good on current better Canon bodies that the situations where you are better off with manual focus are quite limited.  I frequently use single micro point AF and on those occasions where I need to recompose, I will use the AF stop on either the lens or body as appropriate.

 

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

Waddizzle
Legend
Legend

@Bitman wrote:

I was trying to photograph some deer, in the woods, not out in the open.
My auto focus was constantly trying to focus on the surrounding brush.
No problem, I just focused manually with the lens ring. But when I tried to push the shutter button.
The camera would focus on the brush again.
My question is. Should I set the camera up for back button focus?
So the shutter button doesn't want to change the focus, or is there something else I should be doing?
Camera is a Canon R6.
Thanks.


It is up to you.  You could use the BBF.  I also prefer to use the rear button for [AF-OFF].  

 

Another option is turn off AF in the lens.  Now, not only will the lens not refocus, but you should get a focus confirmation beep when you are in One Shot mode.

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."

Thanks for all the replies.

I'm new to photography, and didn't think of these answers.

Great advice from all.

Wandalynn
Enthusiast

What focusing selection were you using? I almost exclusively use the smaller areas. And sometimes I have to magnify the scene in the VF and then refocus to "help" the camera know what my subject is. I use BBF full-time because when I used shutter-button-focus, sometimes if I had a busy background, the camera might be focused on my (usually small) subject, and maybe in finishing depressing the shutter button, I'd shift position just enough where the camera (being faster than me) would in that instant refocus to the background and take the picture. With BBF I can lock in the focus and also easier for tracking, for me anyway. I hope that helps. I'm using an R5 and an R.

I shoot wildlife and have done so for about 40 years.  Right now I am in NZ and shooting birds in dense bush a lot, so I hope this experience offers some value for you.

 

I use separate back buttons for focus and exposure lock. I don't think you mentioned what camera you are using, but I shoot with everything from a 21 YO EOS D30 camera to the latest R5 and R6.   I still use the back buttons and I have a focus lock setting for the focus button as well as separate one for Exposure Lock, on the back and disable both focus and exposure from the shutter button.  If you don't do that, then the shutter button will likely redo the focus, thus reversing your choice.

 

In the following two images, I could not have isolated the two birds that were almost behind one another, and surrounded by vegetation, if I did not have a means to lock focus on my preferred target.  I could have used manual focus, but this was faster.  I use single-point autofocus and lock on the subject's eyes (that's what is critical in any portrait) and then I can recompose and shoot very quickly.  Even with the new animal eye autofocus on the R5 and R6, it can still be fooled by obstructions, so I still shoot single point and lock, the tracking will keep that lock if the subject moves.

 

These were both taken with the R6, but again it required me to get focus lock despite the foliage.  These were demonstration images for a Depth of Field tutorial I was writing, so I wasn't so worried about bird expression!

 

Canon EOS R6, EF 100-400 L MkII, 400mm, f/7.1, 1/160 sec, ISO-3200.

Dof 01 copy LR.jpg

In the shot below you may observe some slight smudging of the subject's beak, that is a leaf that is in between me an it, but not within the DoF.

DoF 02 copy.jpg


cheers, TREVOR

"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

Nice! Smiley Happy

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Thanks Ernie. 🙂

cheers, TREVOR

"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
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