By fully understanding and consciously taking control of your camera’s focus mode and focus points, you stand a far greater chance of ensuring you achieve the photo you desire. This also minimizes the chances of repeating an out-of-focus nightmare.
Focus Modes of Your Camera
Leaving your DSLR in automatic mode may allow you to ignore many seemingly intimidating functions. However, it can often prove costly when it comes to focusing.
Each of the camera focus modes has a situation when it is best used. This is usually decided by whether the subject is moving or stationary and the level of your photography skills.
- Single Focus
Known as ‘one shot’, this is perhaps the most straightforward of the camera focus modes. Simply press the shutter button halfway to activate the automatic focus. Once your subject has been locked in, it will remain locked in focus whilst you keep your finger on the half-depressed trigger. You can either press the button fully to fire the shutter or release the button to refocus.
The great advantage of this focus mode is that it allows you to press the shutter release button halfway and recompose your photograph. The focus will remain fixed as long as you keep the shutter release button halfway down.
- Continuous Focus
Continuous, or ‘AI Servo’ is designed to help you keep your subject in focus, even when it is moving. The halfway press of the shutter release button causes the camera to initially focus on the subject. However, unlike the Single Focus mode, the continuous focus will constantly refocus on the subject as long as you are pointing the camera towards it and keep the shutter button half-pressed.
- Single/Continuous Focus
This mode is an automated mode that will choose between single and continuous focus for you. Designed to help out beginners, this mode is absent from some of the more professional models. Ideally, you should aim to choose one of the two previously mentioned focus modes. Mainly because many photographers complain that this method fails to correctly focus most of the time.
- Manual Focus
We should also touch on manual focus (MF). If you find that none of the automated focus modes allow you to isolate and focus on the exact point of your choice, an alternative is to do it yourself, manually.
Manual focus puts complete control in your hands and requires no focus points or mechanical assistance, allowing you to turn the focus ring on your lens, pick the point of focus, and fire the shutter.