Digital Camera Autofocus Modes
Understanding Autofocus Modes in Digital Cameras
Photo Tip Friday August 15, 2014
Did you know that your digital camera has different Autofocus modes?
Do you know how to select the correct autofocus mode for the best results?
Almost all new digital cameras have very sophisticated autofocus system, but you don’t need to know all the technical specifications to benefit from this advanced technology. All you need to know is which the best autofocus mode for your application is.
Choosing correct autofocus mode is very important and unfortunately many photographers do not pay enough attention to autofocus modes and its potentials in their photography. This is why I added Selecting Correct Autofocus Mode as part of our new Digital Camera Bootcamp and I dedicated a 30 minute classroom session to this topic (with lots of practical hands-on in our field trips). In this article I’ll discuss the three major autofocus modes which almost all digital cameras are equipped with.
Introduction to Digital Camera Autofocus Modes
These three modes are present in all digital cameras from an entry level all the way to pro level cameras. By understanding the capability of each setting, your photography experience will be smoother and the results will improve more.
This is the default setting of camera. In this mode you allow the camera to pick the focusing points. When you select Auto Autofocus the camera selects the closest and brightest part of the scene or the closest face to focus on, which may not be exactly the point that you want to focus on.
You select the focusing point and force the camera to focus on that point. It is advised to use this mode, lock the focusing by pressing the shutter button half way down and then recompose. If you use spot metering the camera will read the exposure from where the focusing point is. Make sure to lock the exposure as well if you shoot using spot metering. This Autofocus Mode is recommended for still subjects.
If you have a moving subject and want to keep the subject in focus, you should use Continuous Autofocus Mode. For instance you want to take photos of your pet running around in the park. The new digital cameras sense the movement and predict the direction of movement, then keeps focusing on your subject. The Continuous Autofocus Mode is suggested for moving subject. You press the shutter button half way down to activate the autofocus and keep pressing it down; when your subject starts to move the camera will change the focusing to keep the subject in focus. Most cameras are equipped with a back autofocus button. For best results I recommend using this button to activate autofocus and keep camera focusing on your subject.
That’s our Friday Photo Tip for this week! For more in-depth information about using Autofocus systems in different cameras register for our upcoming Digital Camera Bootcamp for Beginners.