July 25, 2014, 09:19:28 PM

Author Topic: Backbutton Focus..do you use it? Pros? Cons? How hard to get used to it?  (Read 21729 times)

cayenne

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I've been watching some classes on Creative Live lately...I've seen some instructors, recently a couple of wedding photogs saying they have set up and use the backbutton focus.

I need to go back into the manual and look how to set it up, so I can experiment with it, but just wondering how many of you out there use this?

Are you a pro or a hobbyist?

What are the Pros/Cons of setting up and using this system?

How hard have you found it, to get used to this set up, and be able to use it fluidly? 

I'd almost  think if you were moving your focus points around, while shooting manual...using backbutton focus  would pretty much require you to grow an extra finger and 3rd hemisphere of the brain just to coordinate all of this?
:P

Anyway, I'm thinking of giving it a try, but wanted to get some comments from those that use it currently.

Thanks in advance,

cayenne


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chasinglight

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Hi, I am a hobbiest. I shoot portraits, events, wildlife, and landscape. I should almost exclusively in manual mode, though occasionally in Av or Tv. I do change focus points on the 7D pretty often.  Once I made the switch to back button focus I have not looked back. Honestly my biggest concern with the switch was that if I hand someone else the camera then they would not be able to operate the camera...but since I never really hand my camera over to others that's not a big deal.

Bottom line is its very doable. You don't need extra fingers. It's not like you are changing focus points and auto focusing at the same time... You can still change the shutter and ISO with your pointer finger,  and its not a big deal to stop focusing for a moment to change the aperture.

yellowkamper

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I always use it for motor racing, I lock onto the car or bike then follow it holding the button in and use the shutter button to take a picture when it is framed right.

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I have it on all the time, even had it on on my rebel. It took me a few afternoons to get fully used to it.
In the beginning I used to switch back and forth, but now I prefer to have BBF and AI Servo on all the time. If I need to lock focus, I just take the thumb off

GuyF

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Started trying it last weekend for portrait stuff and also birds in flight at a falconry display. Seems a bit odd at first but quickly gets easy though on a couple of occasions my thumb found the exposure lock button instead.

Makes sense to use it for portraits - use rear button to focus then re-frame as required and take the shot. Combined with AI Servo means life is much easier. If you don't get used to it within an hour or so you can always go back to the old way of doing things. I'm a convert.

neuroanatomist

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Use it, love it.
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Schruminator

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As someone just mentioned, the biggest issue is that you can no longer hand your camera off to another person and expect them to be able to use it.

I like it because it means that the camera isn't trying to refocus in between shots (like when you press halfway down on the shutter) unless you want it to. It took me a few days of shooting to forget that it used to be set up any different.

I've heard of some people changing to back button focus and then leaving the AF in Servo mode so if they tap the button it's like single shot AF, but if they hold it down it's servo. It's personal preference like anything else-- I have it so when I hold down the button on the front of the camera (near the lens mount) Servo mode is engaged, but it just works better for me.
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Harry Muff

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Always use it. Combined shutter and focussing is counterproductive.
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jdramirez

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 I'm a visual kind of guy..  which button are we talking about ?
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Seanlucky

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Weirdly enough I never have my DSLR setup this way, but this post has gotten me thinking about it...

When I shoot film on the Hasselblad H2 I have it setup this way, and that's because I actually use manual focus quite regularly. Like this setup because I can autofocus on my subject, reframe (only center point), and then tweak manually. Much easier to manually focus with such a huge viewfinder...

crasher8

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Re: Backbutton Focus..do you use it? Pros? Cons? How hard to get used to it?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2013, 02:15:12 PM »
Yes I use it on all my bodies and no there are no cons. Takes about 2-3 days to retrain your brain. ALL WIN.


AvTvM

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Re: Backbutton Focus..do you use it? Pros? Cons? How hard to get used to it?
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2013, 02:29:16 PM »
Hi, I am a hobbiest. I shoot portraits, events, wildlife, and landscape. I should almost exclusively in manual mode, though occasionally in Av or Tv. I do change focus points on the 7D pretty often.  Once I made the switch to back button focus I have not looked back. Honestly my biggest concern with the switch was that if I hand someone else the camera then they would not be able to operate the camera...but since I never really hand my camera over to others that's not a big deal.

Bottom line is its very doable. You don't need extra fingers. It's not like you are changing focus points and auto focusing at the same time... You can still change the shutter and ISO with your pointer finger,  and its not a big deal to stop focusing for a moment to change the aperture.

+1

My 7D is always set to Back-Button AF and Servo-AF mode. That is the only way to get FAST and FULL control of any AF-situation, whether the target is moving or not. As long as I press the button, AF will track, if I lift my  thumb, AF-tracking will stop. Absolutely perfect. No Cons whatsoever.

If I hand my camera to another person, all I need to remember is switching the main mode dial all the way to custom setting C3 which is "dork setup". Program Mode, AF on the  shutter button, One-Shot AF, central group of AF points active, single shot, and all other settings to basically camera default. When I get the camera back, I switch it to C1 and am back in business. :-)
« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 02:32:17 PM by AvTvM »

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Re: Backbutton Focus..do you use it? Pros? Cons? How hard to get used to it?
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2013, 02:29:16 PM »

mrzero

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Re: Backbutton Focus..do you use it? Pros? Cons? How hard to get used to it?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2013, 02:33:38 PM »
If you hand off your camera to someone else, you can set it to green box mode and it will resume using shutter button AF.  I generally find that works well enough for hand-off shots.
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Nirmala

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Re: Backbutton Focus..do you use it? Pros? Cons? How hard to get used to it?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2013, 02:37:47 PM »
Cant imagine using my camera set up any other way these days.

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Re: Backbutton Focus..do you use it? Pros? Cons? How hard to get used to it?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2013, 02:37:47 PM »