Beyond Autofocus: Using DSLR Camera Focusing Points
February 27, 2014
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Autofocus is designed to make creating pictures a breeze, but it doesn't always pick the subject you were hoping. Think about times when you've clicked several images in succession with your digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, only to find the random tree in the background was sharp, but the couple posing closer to the camera was out of focus.
The camera's autofocus mechanism did focus on something in the scene, but it was not the correct something. Autofocus doesn't have intelligence, but it can work in tandem with the focusing point selector on your DSLR camera to improve focusing accuracy.
Using Focus Points
- Turn the camera on, and activate the autofocus option. The majority of DSLR cameras place this feature on the barrel of the camera lens. Move the switch to the AF option. Older cameras hide the autofocus function in a menu.
- Look for the focusing point selector button on the back of the camera. It's usually on the upper right side, just behind the shutter button. It may have an icon that resembles a square with five dots arranged in a "+" pattern.
- Press the focusing point selector button while moving the selector dial — the same dial you use to change aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings. It's usually located close to the shutter button. Peer through the camera's viewfinder while moving the dial. You'll notice various focusing points indicated by illuminated dots or squares.
- Move the dial to select the point that corresponds to where you want the camera to direct the autofocus. For example, if you're photographing people standing to the right of a tree, choose the focusing point on the right side of the viewfinder, closest to the faces of the people.
- Remove your finger from the dial and button, and the focusing point selector is locked on your last selection.
Snap away! Just remember to change the focusing point each time you change your composition.
Photo credit: stock.xchng