Why I Back Button Focus…

Are you tired of missing the perfect shot because your camera auto-focuses on the wrong subject? Do you struggle with capturing fast-moving subjects or shooting in low light conditions? If so, then back button focus might just be the solution you’ve been searching for. In this blog, I will share my personal experience and explain why I’m a strong advocate for back button focus. By reassigning the focus function to a separate button on the back of your camera, you can achieve greater control over your focus points, enhance your ability to track moving subjects, and ultimately, improve the overall quality of your photographs. So, let’s dive in and explore why I back button focus and how it can revolutionize your photography experience.



Why I Back Button Focus

David Brent, an avid photographer, shares his experience and reasons for using back button focus. This feature, found on his camera, allows him to separate focusing from the act of taking a photo. Brent finds this button, labeled AF AE lock, to be the most important button on his camera.

The Importance of Separate Focusing

Traditionally, focusing and taking photos are controlled by the same button. Users typically half-press the shutter button to focus and fully press it to take a photo. However, Brent faces challenges when wearing gloves or dealing with distractions like wind or noise. These factors often lead him to unintentionally focus on the wrong subjects or take unwanted photos. With back button focusing, he can dedicate a separate button on the back of his camera for focusing, allowing him to focus precisely without worrying about the pressure on the shutter button.

The Benefits of Continuous Autofocus

Another advantage of back button focusing is the ability to stay in continuous autofocus mode for extended periods. Typically, photographers need to switch between single autofocus and continuous autofocus modes. However, with back button focusing, this constant switching is unnecessary. Brent uses the example of wanting to focus on a specific tree in a busy frame. Using the traditional half-press technique and recomposing the frame would cause the camera to continuously refocus on the new composition. By using back button focus, he can focus, release the button, recompose, and take the shot without the camera attempting to refocus.

This feature is particularly useful for sports or concert photographers who want to ensure their camera remains in continuous autofocus mode. By simply focusing on the desired subject with the back button, they can continue shooting without worrying about accidentally refocusing during recomposition.

A Game-Changing Tip

Back button focusing is a simple yet game-changing technique for many photographers. Brent shares how this feature has completely transformed his approach to photography. By having a dedicated button for focusing and separating it from the act of taking a photo, he has found more control and flexibility in his shots.

While it may not be the most talked-about feature, back button focus is essential for photographers who value precision and efficiency. Give it a try and see how it can revolutionize your photography!






Why I Back Button Focus – FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions – Why I Back Button Focus

Q: What is back button focus?

A: Back button focus is a technique used in photography where you assign autofocus to a separate button on your camera, typically located on the back. This allows the photographer to separate the autofocus function from the shutter release button.

Q: Why would I use back button focus?

A: Back button focus provides several advantages:

  • Allows for greater control over focus and composition
  • Enables continuous autofocus without the need to refocus after each shot
  • Reduces the risk of accidentally refocusing when pressing the shutter release
  • Allows for easier tracking of moving subjects

Q: How do I enable back button focus on my camera?

A: The process may vary depending on your camera model. However, here are general steps to enable back button focus:

  1. Go to your camera’s settings menu
  2. Find the “Custom Functions” or “Custom Controls” option
  3. Look for the option to assign autofocus to a specific button
  4. Select the desired button (often labeled as “AF-ON”)
  5. Save your changes and exit the menu

Q: Are there any situations where back button focus may not be ideal?

A: While back button focus is a highly beneficial technique, there might be some situations where it may not be suitable. For example, in fast-paced, spontaneous moments, relying solely on back button focus might result in missed shots. It’s important to practice and understand when it’s appropriate to use it based on your shooting style and subject.

Q: Can I switch back to using the shutter release for focusing?

A: Yes, absolutely! Switching back to using the shutter release button for focusing is quite straightforward. Simply navigate to your camera’s settings and reassign autofocus back to the shutter release button. It’s recommended to experiment with different techniques and find what works best for you and your photography needs.


I hope you find useful my article Why I Back Button Focus…, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

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