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R5: Trying to understand auto focus functionality with Movie Servo AF

  1. When shooting in one of the Movie modes with Movie Servo AF engaged, you can use your finger to touch the face or object you want to track. Is there a way to choose an object to track with the multi-controller instead?

  2. I use dual back button AF. (The shutter button does not engage auto focus.) The AF-ON button is configured for "Expand AF area: Around" and "One Shot". The * button is configured for "Face/Tracking" and "Servo". Pressing either button in a Movie mode seems to do the same thing: temporarily engage focusing but with no way to choose what to focus on. I'm not seeing a scenario in which these buttons are useful for Movie modes. Am I missing something?

  3. If there are no faces/animals/vehicles in the frame, how does Movie Servo AF choose the subject to focus on?

Thanks in advance.




AF, in this context, refers to autofocus. Using the autofocus function of a camera, you're allowing the focus motor to adjust to change focus instead of manually moving it yourself. When working in the autofocus setting, you can also often select the focusing mode as well.   HCA Rewards

Thanks for responding, Harold. I guess my questions were not clear. I do understand what auto focus is and how to turn it on. I'm trying to understand how to control it in Movie modes—to the extent that it can be controlled. My impression is that the system offers users less control in Movie modes than Stills modes.

Thanks, Boudreaux. Movie Servo AF with faces is pretty straightforward. That's why I was specifically mentioning object tracking. From what I can tell, the only way to track an object is to touch it on the rear LCD. Unlike stills, there is no focus point to position over an object using the multi-controller to tell the camera what you want to track. And if you engage Movie Servo AF with no faces/animals/vehicles in the frame, the camera seems to randomly choose something in the frame until you use your finger to guide it. The system seems rather crude relative to the control you have in Stills modes. This is an observation, not a complaint. My original post is an attempt to make sure I'm not missing anything.


I appreciate your taking the time to respond, Waddizzle, but your response doesn't really address any of my questions. I've revised them in an effort to be clearer. Broadly speaking, I'm trying to understand the different ways available to specify the face/animal/vehicle or object that I want Movie Servo AF to track. I am particularly interested in the answer as it relates to object tracking. My impression is that the only way to specify an object to track is by touching it with your finger on the rear LCD. This is relatively limited compared to when in Stills modes so I want to make sure I'm not missing something.

All of my lenses are Canon RF lenses.


I know this covers a lot more material than you are asking about, and not all of the questions, but as a general help, you might want to watch this video by Rudy Winston, who is considered the leading authority on Canon systems, particularly the mirrorless units. 

Canon Auto Focus Explained with Canon Technical Advisor Rudy Winston - YouTube

cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"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

Thanks, Trevor. I have watched that video. It's very good but it doesn't really address these particular  questions. I've unsuccessfully tried to find an email address for Rudy to ask him directly. I used to email Chuck Westfall with occasional questions but, sadly, that is no longer an option.


What I've found is the joystick will move focus from face to face or eye to eye, but it will not allow you to move a focus point to other objects, say, an ear or nose or some non facial feature in the frame (You get a little box with chevrons showing directions on faces and eyes). What I do is enable "Touch & Drag Autofocus Settings" while in movie mode. The touch screen is active even when it is off, it kinda turns into a touch pad like a mouse pad allowing you to move your focus point while you look through the EVF. I use my thumb to move the little orange circle around the scene then tap or press SET to move my focus box or point to that selection. You can also half depress the shutter to get a lock and track. You can select what portion of the screen you want to be active (I use the upper right), and how far a stroke travels across that portion (positioning method - I use relative). Start at page 417 of the manual to get more details, and, be sure to read the NOTE on page 419.

Please be aware that I am a stills shooter and just dabble in video, so there may be a better way. Also, my R5 is set up very basic and I don't have the desire, or need for that matter, to use BBF or change the buttons from default on the back and top like I did my 5D4, although I have changed a few and use the lens ring. So, your highly modified button selection may keep you from doing what I have.

I hope this helps,


EOS R5, R6, R6II. RF 15-35 f/2.8L, 50mm f/1.2L, 85mm f/1.2L, 100mm f/2.8L Macro, 100-400mm, 100-500mm L, 1.4X.