Auto Focal Point Selection

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by steve_parrott, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. This is sort of a survey to see how many people use auto focal point selection or manually select a focal
    point to place directly on the area wanted in focus. I am especially curious if any wedding
    photographers here use auto point selection.

    Myself, I do not use it. I am just too afraid of it. When I am shooting a bride's face, I don't want the
    camera to focus on a bouquet in her hand, or if I am shooting a wide angle shot of a church interior, I
    think it very unlikely the camera is going to focus exactly on the object I have in mind.

    Am I too paranoid about this? Does the auto point selection really work well?

    By the way, I use a 1Ds with an array of 45 focal points. This question may not be as relative to the
    cameras with only 3 points.

    Thanks in advance for any response and experiences.
  2. I also manually select it but I call it AF point, not focal point... :)

    Happy shooting,
  3. I use the auto focal point selection about 20-300% of the time on my camera. Usually I turn it off anytime I know it is going to cause trouble.
  4. Okay, I meant auto AF point selection and 20-30%, not 300%.
  5. It depends on what I'm shooting. If I'm shooting vacation shots, for instance, auto AF point selection usually works just fine, so I use it. If I'm shooting people, I usually pick my focal point manually to avoid problems like the camera deciding that the person's clothing is a more important part of the picture than their face.
    That's with a 20D, with nine AF points and the little joystick to select them. My first EOS body was an Elan II, with three AF points and a cumbersome procedure for picking one. When I upgraded from that to the next generation of Elan, I went with the Elan 7E (the model with ECF, and it's by far the best of these methods. By far. Where do you look in the viewfinder when you're activating AF? The subject. It's the most natural way to tell the camera what the subject is because it's what you already do. I really miss ECF.
    (Note to Canon: eventually, I'll upgrade my 20D, probably to a 40D or whatever model in this segment is current at the time, but possibly to a 5D or whatever model in this segment is current at the time. Want to increase the chances of selling me the higher-priced camera? Put ECF in it. Seriously. That would be a factor in my decision.)
  6. I bought an EOS 5 (the international version of the A2e) and in its first generation form, ECF is a talking point, but like voice commands on a computer, it probably sold more cameras than it was actually used on. I've heard the later versions worked better, but have no personal experience with them. (for the curious but understandably naive, ECF is "eye-controlled focus").
  7. For sports I have now reverted to centre AF only and, if time allows, focus and recompose. This was after getting too many in focus shots of spectators. For fun I enable them all and for landscapes (tripod) I select the one I want but this is not always successful as the outer ones are vertical or horizontally oriented and don't always achieve focus.
  8. Like Joshua I use the Auto AF about 20-30% of the time or pretty much when I am just shooting for fun and not with a goal in mind.

    I shoot with a 40D and XT and with my 40D I prefer to select my focus points if I shoot people mainly. For my landscapes I can live with Auto AF but it truly depends on the situation.

    My preference? Manually selecting my AF points.
  9. Never. Usually I do center point focus and recompose, else maual focus.
  10. I don't use it at all. Either central point AF (general and family portraits) or manually pre focus on the spot I want (trains). I really miss the ECF on my old EOS7e. When I look at my failures they split evenly between exposure errors (train headlights send my 400D meter into wild under exposure, not such a worry on the 7e) and focus issues, mostly due to dim viewfinder (manual) or camera just getting it wrong (AF). Really, I had more keepers back in the 60s with my old Pentax Spotmatic. So much for technology
    Neill Farmer
  11. Center point and recompose (as needed). Auto focus activated via the * button (CF4=1). Only variation would be manual focus on macro shots, where I'll focus by swaying forward/backward a bit till I like what I see.
  12. I use auto AF selection only for ad-hoc (snap-shot) type photography. For the money shots it's user selected all the way.
  13. Manual on 5D and 40D. Almost always center.

  14. Manual AF point selection is always my preference. I never use auto, but I greatly miss having ECF.
  15. Manual selection of centre point about 90% of the time, but I'll occasionally select a peripheral AF point if I'm after a particular composition.

    This is shooting birds with the 40D and 100-400mm, and I find the 40D's peripheral sensors to be as good as the 30's central point (which is just as it should be).
  16. "30D's central point..."

    Wish we could edit posts!
  17. Worthwhile page for Canon's camera design strategists to read.
  18. I use Auto AF when the contrast is great that time and I'm in a hurry. I manually pick the AF usually the middle if I'm taking particular object (even with this camera sometimes can't produce sharp result) otherwise MF is the life saver.

  19. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Using a 20D and a 5D, I use Manual selection of the AF point: mostly using the Centre Point.

    Note I also use Focus and recompose a lot of the time.

    I have the AF Point selection, selected to the multi controller direct (C.Fn13=1)

    This Custom Function setting I was hesitant about at first, believing I would be more clumsy and less efficient as I have a big thumb and it is a small joystick control; but after reading a detailked comment on the Wedding Forum (forgotten who mentioned it) I tried it and found this CF most useful and very slick.

    (Aside) NB: The correction about `AF Point` (meaning Auto Focus Point) and `auto focal point` is very important and was being helpful not unnecessarily pedantic or picky, IMO.


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