Step by step Get to grips with AF point se­lec­tion op­tions

You can man­u­ally se­lect a sin­gle AF point or let the cam­era se­lect from all the avail­able points

Digital Camera World - - CAMERA COLLEGE -

If all the AF points are ac­tive, you’re leav­ing it up to the cam­era to de­ter­mine which part of the pic­ture should be in fo­cus. Typ­i­cally, it will latch onto the ob­ject that’s clos­est, and this may not cor­re­spond with the po­si­tion of the main sub­ject. For more con­trol, se­lect a sin­gle AF point. This works well for sta­tion­ary ob­jects, but it’s chal­leng­ing to keep a sin­gle point on an er­rat­i­cally mov­ing sub­ject.

Some cam­eras al­low you to ex­pand the AF point so that sur­round­ing ones help out, or to man­u­ally choose groups or zones of AF points from the full ar­ray. The op­tions dif­fer be­tween cam­eras, but here’s what’s typ­i­cally on of­fer on a multi-point model, il­lus­trated by the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

Spot fo­cus­ing

A good op­tion for when you’re pho­tograph­ing close-ups and the reg­u­lar sin­gle point would cover too wide an area.

AF point ex­pan­sion

Neigh­bour­ing AF points as­sist the one se­lected, in­creas­ing the chances of mov­ing sub­jects re­main­ing in fo­cus.

Cen­tre AF point

The cen­tre is the most sen­si­tive point, so choose it if you find the cam­era strug­gles to fo­cus.


A zone of points is man­u­ally se­lected, but the cam­era chooses which AF points to use within a zone.

Off-cen­tre AF point

You may have to press a but­ton be­fore cycling through the AF points us­ing the con­trol dial.

Au­to­matic se­lec­tion

The cam­era chooses which AF points to use – but at least you can man­u­ally set a sin­gle AF point as a starting point.

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