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Back-Button Focusing


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#21 jayaram87

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 02:22 AM

I have set up BBF on my EOS 60D with AF-ON button . I also switched to AI servo setting from single shot as recommended by Tony in his book or video (i am not sure) . This helps when you are outdoor and are trying to photograph moving objects. The downside to this setting is i can't get my 70-200 lens to focus on low light situations indoors as the focus assist beam does not work anymore with this combination of settings. i was perplexed and did some googling to unravel the mystery. this is what i found.....   If you change to One shot or AI focus when using BBF , focus assist light works and the lens can lock focus as fast as canon lens normally do , otherwise it just keeps hunting. i just thought of sharing this information with others.



#22 Bryn H

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 03:47 AM

I have set up BBF on my EOS 60D with AF-ON button . I also switched to AI servo setting from single shot as recommended by Tony in his book or video (i am not sure) . This helps when you are outdoor and are trying to photograph moving objects. The downside to this setting is i can't get my 70-200 lens to focus on low light situations indoors as the focus assist beam does not work anymore with this combination of settings. i was perplexed and did some googling to unravel the mystery. this is what i found.....   If you change to One shot or AI focus when using BBF , focus assist light works and the lens can lock focus as fast as canon lens normally do , otherwise it just keeps hunting. i just thought of sharing this information with others.

 

Hi Jayaram87,

 

I have used BBF for some time on my two main bodies, not available on my really old one. I keep exposure lock on the shutter button (light levels in natural light do change) and I leave focus set to AI Servo. I was completely unaware that this lost me focus assist in poor light so thanks for that info. This explains some odd focussing behaviour I noticed taking some shots at a recent family wedding. Something to watch out for in the future. I also didn't know that switching back to auto disabled BBF so that is two things I have learnt today and I only joined yesterday. Every day is a school day as they say. I can see that I am going to like it here learning from all you guys. Thanks Jayaram and all.

 

Regards,

 

Bryn H :)



#23 jinxtown

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 09:08 PM

I just set it up and have had fits and starts...muscle memory is getting in the way and i've missed some shots of my kids.  The more i get use to it, however, it feels like the right choice.  Word of advice:  practice well in advance of anything meaningful you want to shoot...especially fast moving, impromptu stuff.  Once you get the muscle memory down, its faster otherwise, you'll stand a good chance of missing the moment by pressing the shutter button down like you've done thousands of times before.  

 

For those of you that have been using it are you setting your focus to (canon speak) "one shot" "ai focus" or "servo"  I've left it on servo as a set it an forget it for any type of shooting.  I'm not entirely confident this is right, however.  

 

Please advise. 


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#24 Knightwight

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 01:21 AM

I’ve been trying this BBF thing for a few days as well. I’m still a little confused on which custom function setting to use…AE lock/AF, or AE/AF no AE lock especially for wildlife situations. From all the research I’ve done I’m assuming the latter. I’m also finding the thumb position a little awkward since I tend to look through the viewfinder with my left eye….don’t know why I do but I also shoot a rifle left handed too. Go figure. I wear glasses so my thumb on the back button bumps up against them and just adds to the optic struggle. I guess the solution is to learn to look through the viewfinder with my right eye…feels unnatural though. I’m going to continue to practice with BBF despite these minor aggravations. I really want to see what all the fuss is about. :)

#25 Tony James

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 11:07 AM

I’ve been trying this BBF thing for a few days as well. I’m still a little confused on which custom function setting to use…AE lock/AF, or AE/AF no AE lock especially for wildlife situations. From all the research I’ve done I’m assuming the latter. I’m also finding the thumb position a little awkward since I tend to look through the viewfinder with my left eye….don’t know why I do but I also shoot a rifle left handed too. Go figure. I wear glasses so my thumb on the back button bumps up against them and just adds to the optic struggle. I guess the solution is to learn to look through the viewfinder with my right eye…feels unnatural though. I’m going to continue to practice with BBF despite these minor aggravations. I really want to see what all the fuss is about. :)

 

Left eye huh? Same here, but I don't quite find my thumb getting the way, it "rests" on my glasses, but isn't intrusive. Maybe that's because I have smallish hands, I don't know. Unfortunately I don't have the option of using my right eye to the view finder, it's very poor sighted, and I wouldn't see a thing.

 

I have a Nikon D3100 and my AE-L/AF-L button is set to AF-ON in the Button menu. I also use "single point" focus in the centre of the viewfinder. I think I read that setting it this way, pressing the button to gain auto focus, then releasing it will "lock" that focus even when you move the camera. But pressing and "holding" the button will give you continuous auto focus. For moving subjects I'm assuming. I've tried it out a few times, and it seems pretty good set up this way.

 

So for a static subject I just press the button once until focused with my subject centred, then recompose without touching the focus button, then press the shutter release to take the picture. I "think" pressing the shutter release half way sets the exposure anyway, so I assume if I focus and press the shutter half way, then recompose, the focus AND exposure will be locked from when I centred. That's how I've being doing it on my camera anyway. 

 

I'd like to add that I don't really like autofocus anyway, I'm old school, and like to manual focus if I can. I just don't think my eyes are good enough anymore :(


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Regards, Tony


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#26 David X. Li

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 11:50 AM

I’ve been trying this BBF thing for a few days as well. I’m still a little confused on which custom function setting to use…AE lock/AF, or AE/AF no AE lock especially for wildlife situations. From all the research I’ve done I’m assuming the latter. I’m also finding the thumb position a little awkward since I tend to look through the viewfinder with my left eye….don’t know why I do but I also shoot a rifle left handed too. Go figure. I wear glasses so my thumb on the back button bumps up against them and just adds to the optic struggle. I guess the solution is to learn to look through the viewfinder with my right eye…feels unnatural though. I’m going to continue to practice with BBF despite these minor aggravations. I really want to see what all the fuss is about. :)

 
I wonder if a custom viewfinder/eye cup would help? Maybe something like:
 
Eyepiece Magnifier
Cup Eyepiece
Eyepiece Extender
 
EDIT: Changed links.
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#27 Knightwight

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 03:04 PM

Left eye huh? Same here, but I don't quite find my thumb getting the way, it "rests" on my glasses, but isn't intrusive. Maybe that's because I have smallish hands, I don't know. Unfortunately I don't have the option of using my right eye to the view finder, it's very poor sighted, and I wouldn't see a thing.

 

I have a Nikon D3100 and my AE-L/AF-L button is set to AF-ON in the Button menu. I also use "single point" focus in the centre of the viewfinder. I think I read that setting it this way, pressing the button to gain auto focus, then releasing it will "lock" that focus even when you move the camera. But pressing and "holding" the button will give you continuous auto focus. For moving subjects I'm assuming. I've tried it out a few times, and it seems pretty good set up this way.

 

So for a static subject I just press the button once until focused with my subject centred, then recompose without touching the focus button, then press the shutter release to take the picture. I "think" pressing the shutter release half way sets the exposure anyway, so I assume if I focus and press the shutter half way, then recompose, the focus AND exposure will be locked from when I centred. That's how I've being doing it on my camera anyway. 

 

I'd like to add that I don't really like autofocus anyway, I'm old school, and like to manual focus if I can. I just don't think my eyes are good enough anymore :(

 

Thanks for all that. Going to experiment more that is for sure.

 

It's a beggar being a glass wearer and any fingers or thumbs brushing up against them, such as in this case with the back button as you squeeze up against the viewfinder, leaves oil smears no matter how clean and dry your hands are. It's bad enough trying to keep the camera optics clean from dust and whatnot without having to mess with your spectacles every few minutes. Right eye practice it is! They need to make cameras for left-eyed users.... :D


 
I wonder if a custom viewfinder/eye cup would help? Maybe something like:
 
Eyepiece Magnifier
Cup Eyepiece
Eyepiece Extender
 
EDIT: Changed links.

 

Thanks for the links. I have been eyeing up these simple additions for a while. I've heard mixed reviews on these things but for the price this solution is probably worth a try.


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#28 Bryn H

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 04:07 AM

Thanks for all that. Going to experiment more that is for sure.

 

It's a beggar being a glass wearer and any fingers or thumbs brushing up against them, such as in this case with the back button as you squeeze up against the viewfinder, leaves oil smears no matter how clean and dry your hands are. It's bad enough trying to keep the camera optics clean from dust and whatnot without having to mess with your spectacles every few minutes. Right eye practice it is! They need to make cameras for left-eyed users.... :D


 

Thanks for the links. I have been eyeing up these simple additions for a while. I've heard mixed reviews on these things but for the price this solution is probably worth a try.

 

I am also a left eyed shooter and a spectacle wearer for close work/reading etc. I have had to fit my cameras with diopter correction lenses for the viewfinder so I can dispense with the glasses for that bit at least. I still have to put them back on for viewing my captured image on the lcd so I spend most of my time shooting with my specs perched on top of my head. They spend as much time on the ground though. Perhaps I should resort to a specs chain although a diopter correction lens for the lcd would be better. No problem once zoomed in though - yet!!  Not having to wear glasses for shooting means BBF is no problem but shooting in portrait mode and trying to use the controls on the battery grip is definitely a handicap using my left eye. I am happier using the regular controls. Camera bodies for left eye shooters - I am with that one :D



#29 David X. Li

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 08:34 AM

Camera bodies for left eye shooters - I am with that one :D

You know, they do make right-angle adapters for viewfinders. I wonder if you could find one that's like a periscope to move the viewfinder to the left?

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#30 Joebo9

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 04:30 AM

It does take a while to get use to B B Focusing, but once you catch on you won't go back to the standard way of focusing.

 

Enjoy!



#31 logan

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 10:00 PM

I set my autofocus to the center metering point only. This way once I back button focus, lock in my exposure with my shutter button, I can then reposition if I need to to use rule of thirds. Seems to be working nicely. Not sure if it will work with continuous shooting though. I am shooting single exposure. Here is a link to help you set it up:

 

http://james-brandon...anon-rebel-t3i/

Looks like I'm way late responding to your post, but....

I just went out and tried to using back button focusing on flying birds and "fast continuous shooting" to no joy on my 70D 70-200 2.8 IS +1.4.    I had to repress it continually, which failed miserably.   Holding the back button did not allow the shutter to fire at all. logan

Update; 8:45pm Looks like maybe solution is Ai Servo (I'm new to the bird thing),as mentioned in this forum, I'll test it tomorrow.


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#32 dmc1281

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 10:38 AM

I've tried BBF and it doesn't work well for me.

 

I shoot mainly dance and my focus is in AI Servo so I'm always holding the shutter button half way ready to get the shot I want, when I was trying out BBF I found I had to release it to take a picture which usually meant that I needed an extra movement before I took the picture and lost most of the good ones.

 

I was able to use it for portrait pictures I did but I abandoned using it so I wouldn't get confused.



#33 ajax

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 12:18 PM

You shouldn't have to release the focus button to fire the shutter.  It's good that you can though as it means even with AI-Servo you can focus and re-compose if you choose to.



#34 cuda

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 10:46 PM

I've been using back button focus on both camera bodies for about 6 months. Once you get the the feel of it you'll never go back. One big challenge is that you need to remember the locations of all the other buttons without removing your eye, from the viewfinder once you master that it's easy. Also it's faster.

#35 JestePhotography

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 01:09 PM

Once you get used to it the number of keeper shots you will get will go WAY up

#36 Vinny

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 12:40 PM

I just started using this technique (last 2 days) and it may have to do something with hand size. My hand is large enough to keep my thumb on the back button but I can see where that may be an issue with people with smaller hands. The one thing I don't like is that when the camera is in fully auto the Nikon D90 does not revert back to focusing with the shutter button ... I did try the wireless remote and it did seem to focus then. But the truth with any technique is once you've mastered that technique doing something different may not be necessary!



#37 colne valley

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 02:09 PM

hi, I have been using bbf about a month now and love it.



#38 PeterPP

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 10:42 AM

BBF on all my bodies, even the venerable ancient 20D, been using it almost from the start of going digital.

 

To help confuse matters my new 7dmkii has 2 buttons set for back button focusing

The normal back AF button starts AI servo, case 5, expanded area AF.

The * back button starts single shot, case 6, high precision spot AF.

 

Focusing cases 5 and 6 are custom set, not the factory set cases 5&6.


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#39 MattMadeIt

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Posted 29 June 2015 - 09:05 PM

I use back button on my D5200 but it has caused me to change other things to avoid a few hassles. For example I had to disable instant playback of shots as the AE-L AF-L button doubles as the write protection while playing back images. My friend joked that it was like I was trying to get one step closer to film, waiting to see my shots until well after they had been taken.

#40 vladfrenkel

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 09:20 PM

Yep. Totally switched to it first on T1i (old) and finally on newer Pentax K3 II...Great to capture sports photos of my daughter as well as portrait shots. Getting about 1 or 2 days to get used to.






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