Cap­ture the ac­tion with back-but­ton fo­cus

Practical Photography (UK) - - Hidden Camera Features -

MOST PHO­TOG­RA­PHERS FO­CUS THEIR im­ages with a half-press of the shut­ter but­ton, which is the de­fault method on all mod­ern cam­eras. Oth­ers, though, opt for the lesser­known sys­tem of back-but­ton fo­cus­ing (BBF). The idea is that in­stead of shoot­ing and fo­cus­ing be­ing con­trolled by one but­ton, they’re split, with fo­cus con­trol mov­ing to the back of the cam­era (a but­ton usu­ally marked AE-L, AF-L or AF-ON), and op­er­ated by the thumb. Not all en­try-level cam­eras of­fer BBF func­tion­al­ity, but most en­thu­si­ast and pro­fes­sional bod­ies do.

There are sev­eral ad­van­tages to BBF, per­haps the big­gest of which is that you don’t have to hold your finger half-down on the shut­ter but­ton to lock fo­cus. It also makes it much eas­ier to fo­cus on a cer­tain po­si­tion with the cen­tral AF point, re­com­pose, and then take sev­eral shots, as the cam­era won’t try to re­fo­cus ev­ery time you press the shut­ter. And BBF makes us­ing con­tin­u­ous fo­cus­ing eas­ier, which is far better for fast-ac­tion pho­tog­ra­phy. Switch­ing to back-but­ton fo­cus­ing takes some get­ting used to, but most pho­tog­ra­phers who try it ul­ti­mately con­sider it a su­pe­rior sys­tem.

Right

Switch­ing to back-but­ton fo­cus­ing re­quires a quick tweak to the cam­era’s menu.

10 There are some shoot­ing sit­u­a­tions, in­clud­ing wed­ding cer­e­monies, where shut­ter noise can be a real prob­lem. But did you know that some DSLRs have a Silent

Shut­ter mode (in re­al­ity it’s quiet, but not silent)? This is turned on us­ing the drive dial, and is rep­re­sented by a ‘Q’ on a Nikon, and an ‘S’ on a Canon. If you own a CSC, con­sider ac­ti­vat­ing the elec­tronic shut­ter, which is near-silent and al­lows faster bursts.

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