Okay I have a confession, promise not to laugh… Did you promise? Okay I have been seriously jonesing for a new DSLR and the one I have is barely a year old. You know once you get bit buy the Photography bug it’s addicting. You crave higher mega pixels, sharper images, and amazing focus in low light. And of course all your issues can be solved by simply upgrading the camera, right?
Well not exactly, while upgrading your camera can solve a lot of problems, you would be amazed at what types of pictures you can produce simply by learning to use the camera you have. Sometimes you just have to work with what you got.
Okay so here’s my confession, I was reading a lot about back focus, back-button focus and read all you have to do is press that little button on the back of your camera. You know, that little one right next to your thumb (based on Canon) with the minus symbol next to it.
So I did that. Nothing. My pictures still were not focusing on what I wanted them to. It was very hard to get a good picture of my ever moving targets (aka kids). This convinced me it’s this darn camera. So during a heated debate about why I must have the new Canon 7D, he ever so gently mentioned that it could quite possibly be user error. WHAT! He said that you can get the best camera out there but if you don’t know how to use it, it doesn’t matter, or something along those lines.
I thought user error, whatever. Then I Googled “Back Button Auto Focus,” and guess what, I was using that little button all wrong. User error, yea right.
So what’s cool about Back Button Auto Focus is it allows you to lock focus on your subject so you can wait for just the right moment to take the shot. If you or your camera moves slightly, you don’t have to worry about the camera refocusing and possibly blurring out your subject. It’s the perfect tool for moving targets macro and sport photography.
To ACTIVATE your back button AF you have to go into your custom functions on your camera (user error, whatever) and you have to be in the “Creative Zone” part of your camera (at least I had that part right).
While every camera has the custom function to change the Back Button AF, its not going to be in the exact same place. For my Canon XS, it’s Fn 9 and for every camera its called “Shutter/AE lock button.”
Now here’s the tricky part, deciphering the code and selecting the right setting for your needs.
One thing to remember is that anything before the slash mark refers to how the shutter button will behave, and anything after the slash mark tells you how the rear button will work if selected.
On the Canon XS
- 0: AF/AE lock
- 1: AE lock/ AF
- 3: AE/AF, no AE lock
It’s amazing what you learn, by just picking up the camera manual and Googling your problems. I’m still jonesing for the Canon 7D, but for now I’m working with what I got. Plus don’t you think it would make a really great birthday gift (hint, hint, hubby).