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back button focusing

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mach one
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back button focusing

Post by mach one » Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:10 pm

does anybody use back button focusing on their DSLR,s?

I have heard that back button focusing is a better way to track a moving subject so i have decided to give it a try and see how i get on with it, if i can get the hang of it then it may be a handy at airshows and when i am shooting motorsports

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andygolfer
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Re: back button focusing

Post by andygolfer » Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:41 am

I've read about it but have never tried it, I thought being left handed I might find it a bit awkward having to use 2 buttons at once but the books (and websites say it's good - one to fiddle with one day maybe when photographing something that's not important I suppose.

Will be interested to hear how you get on with it Neil.
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mach one
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Re: back button focusing

Post by mach one » Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:44 pm

andygolfer wrote:I've read about it but have never tried it, I thought being left handed I might find it a bit awkward having to use 2 buttons at once but the books (and websites say it's good - one to fiddle with one day maybe when photographing something that's not important I suppose.

Will be interested to hear how you get on with it Neil.
I thought it might be a bit awkward trying to get used to it but on my canon bodies the AF-ON button falls just in the right place for my right thumb so it feels quite good, it will come into its own at airshow, and motorsport events when using AI focus as you can lock focus and then track your moving subject

I will see how i get on and let you know

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Re: back button focusing

Post by talldan76 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:13 pm

I've been meaning to give this a go as well - a lot of people rave about it, and say that the focussing is quicker, and better.

Might have to try it the next time i'm over at Stansted.

Dan

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mach one
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Re: back button focusing

Post by mach one » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:29 pm

talldan76 wrote:I've been meaning to give this a go as well - a lot of people rave about it, and say that the focussing is quicker, and better.

Might have to try it the next time i'm over at Stansted.

Dan
I have heard good things about it and reports of more keepers when using high speed burst for a fast moving subject, it takes a bit of getting used to after so many years of using the shutter button to focus so make sure you try it out on the regulars and don't miss out on somthing special by pressing the wrong button and missing focus :D

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mach one
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Re: back button focusing

Post by mach one » Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:38 am

A quick update as to how i am getting on with this

down at heathrow last weekend i had both cameras set to use Back Button Focus and i stuck with it all weekend, here is a three frame burst that has been cropped, had basic level adjustment, and a one click overall sharpen

Image415A3770-T by machone photos, on Flickr

Image415A3771-T by machone photos, on Flickr

Image415A3772-T by machone photos, on Flickr

All three shots were taken with the camera set to shutter priority and the shutter speed set at 1/1000th of a second the camera selected F/4 or F/4.5 for the aperture and the focus is good on all three shots in the burst, on the first sift of the shots taken over the weekend i seem to have got far more in focus keepers than i would have got using the shutter button for focusing

this is just my first impression and is by no means a scientific test but for now i am going to stick with back button focusing

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andygolfer
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Re: back button focusing

Post by andygolfer » Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:32 am

very interesting, they all look very sharp. Thanks for the feedback.

i've not yet got round to trying it myself but it's on my to-do list
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Re: back button focusing

Post by bunglebilly » Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:04 pm

I have used the back button focus for a couple of years now and wouldnt go back. Its really easy to use and you soon get used to it, its great when something passes in front of you as you can just let go of the button for a moment and back on when the object has gone, stops the camera zooming in and out. It allows much more control than half pressing the shutter button.
Paul

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andygolfer
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Re: back button focusing

Post by andygolfer » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:58 am

I had a go on Tuesday evening and easier than I expected, http://www.civilianaviation.co.uk/forum ... 69&t=25060

looks like the way forward for me now!

thanks for the heads up on it

andy
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Re: back button focusing

Post by PorkScratching » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:15 am

Interesting to read so much support for it in this thread - I tried it a few years ago and decided it had no benefit! The two scenarios where it can help are if something is likely to get in the way while you're panning (and hence throw the focus out), or if you are regularly recomposing a static shot and want to keep the focus at a point not covered by the active point(s). These aren't scenarios that often present themselves when shooting aircraft (well, not for me anyway). The first scenario can be compensated for in the AF settings of some cameras these days (e.g. EOS 7D/7D II), and the second one by other techniques such as recomposing after focus lock, manual focus etc. Also when using back button focusing you have to think about where your right thumb is and what it's doing, often in a split second while shooting a fast moving aircraft - as you found out Andy it can be easy to hit the wrong button and then you've missed the shot. The thumb also provides a fair amount of stabilisation of the camera when shooting (at least for me anyway), so I would rather subsconsciously place it on the back of the camera somewhere where it's providing maximum support to avoid camera shake (the back of the camera is often shaped to help with this, with a bulge under where the back button focus button is usually located - so if you're using back button focusing your thumb isn't utilising the support built into the back of the camera). I don't want to appear overly negative, but thought I would provide a different perspective based on what I have read elsewhere and personal experience. As with all these things YMMV, it's worth reading about, and then good to experiment to see if it works for you.

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mach one
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Re: back button focusing

Post by mach one » Sun Apr 10, 2016 11:00 pm

it is somthing that i have stuck with and for fast moving subjects like motorbikes i seem to be getting a lot more keepers than using the shutter button for focusing

i haven't really found any issues using back button focusing and actually find it quite natural as my thumb sits over the AF ON button when holding the camera and find it real easy to keep the button depressed to focus track when using AI Servo

I did have to turn it off last week when i mounted the camera on a tripod and fitted a remote shutter release to the camera as it would not focus until i turned the shutter button focusing on but i suppose that is a scenario i could set up in one of the custom shooting options on the camera

and today i grabbed the camera to take a couple of photos to put on e bay for my daughter and switched to P/program mode and in that mode the camera switches to shutter button focusing and disables back button focusing so it could get a bit confusing if you use the Program mode on a regular basis

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Re: back button focusing

Post by Andy_99 » Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:20 pm

Just to open an old thread & give me spin on it.

I shoot lot's of Military aircraft & have found a far greater percentage of keepers when using the back button to focus than trying to keep the shutter button in the right place,
In fact I'm so used to it now I tend to use it for all of my focusing duties no matter what the subject.

Yes it may be disabled in some modes (Canon 70d) but I never tend to use these.

Andy

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mach one
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Re: back button focusing

Post by mach one » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:59 pm

Andy_99 wrote:Just to open an old thread & give me spin on it.

I shoot lot's of Military aircraft & have found a far greater percentage of keepers when using the back button to focus than trying to keep the shutter button in the right place,
In fact I'm so used to it now I tend to use it for all of my focusing duties no matter what the subject.

Yes it may be disabled in some modes (Canon 70d) but I never tend to use these.

Andy
I have stuck with as well and it is now second nature

at RIAT i put one of my lenses on an old canon 10D and tried to take a few shots with it and went straight to the back button for focus, i also had an issue with my 7D when i set ti to program to grab some snaps of an item i was putting on E Bay and program disables back button and puts it back on the shutter release took a while for the penny to drop

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talldan76
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Re: back button focusing

Post by talldan76 » Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:42 pm

I've also been using it for a while now, and like you say it becomes second nature!!

I do however also keep forgetting that when changing it off AV or TV mode etc, and on to one of the auto, (lazy) modes that the focus reverts back to the main button - whilst I'm there pressing the back button and wondering why it isn't focussing!!

I will definitely keep on using it, as the results do seem to be better than using the main shutter button.

Dan

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