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  1. #1
    kimspics's Avatar
    kimspics is offline dPS Forum Member
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    Default Back Button Focusing

    I shoot with the D300 and the D700. I would like to get your thoughts on Back button focusing ??? I really don't understand it...Can someone please explain it and tell me do you like it or not ??
    Nikon D300 & Nikon D700
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    The whole idea is that you're supposed to be able to send an explicit "start focus" signal to the camera when you want to have the camera focus and (maybe more importantly) not have the camera try to focus when you don't want it to focus. This article does a pretty good job of explaining Canon's version of back-button AF, but I think most of the ideas should translate to Nikon.

    I've been playing around with back-button focusing on my 40D for the last couple of weeks. I'm still trying to get my thumb trained to find the button with the camera to my eye. Right now, I still go back to "normal" shutter-AF when I'm not explicitly playing around with back-button AF, as I'm just not comfortable enough with its operation to trust that I'd get it right when I need it, but I can see situations where it would come in handy.
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    Ive never understood it, though it's the only way to AF with a D300s in liveview, and it works well for that. Remember on Nikons: If you dont press the shutter half way, you dont get VR. So if youre using Back-button focus, you wont get VR in the viewfinder until you press the shutter to take the shot.

    Ive always just preferred the shutter-button, but I know a lot of people say the "pros" always use the back. Cant fathom why.
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    Ive never understood it, though it's the only way to AF with a D300s in liveview, and it works well for that. Remember on Nikons: If you dont press the shutter half way, you dont get VR. So if youre using Back-button focus, you wont get VR in the viewfinder until you press the shutter to take the shot.

    Ive always just preferred the shutter-button, but I know a lot of people say the "pros" always use the back. Cant fathom why.
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    Once you get the hang of it you'll never go back... at least that is how I feel (shooting Nikon). I leave the camera in continuous auto focus. I then can press the back button one time and release similar to single servo... or I can hold that button in and track the subject in continuous. Once you snap in the focus you can reframe and move your finger off the shutter and not have to worry about it refocusing when you touch the shutter again. Setting the shutter to AE lock then gives you independent AE and AF lock controls.
    The only downside from my POV is handing your camera to somebody and having to explain what to do to focus...

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    Quote Originally Posted by zona5101 View Post
    Once you get the hang of it you'll never go back... at least that is how I feel...

    The only downside from my POV is handing your camera to somebody and having to explain what to do to focus...
    My sentiments exactly!
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    Quote Originally Posted by zona5101 View Post
    ...The only downside from my POV is handing your camera to somebody and having to explain what to do to focus...
    ...and this is why I *love* custom modes.

    I love controlling the AF separately from the shutter button. I get tired of holding a half-press to keep a focus lock. Reversing the behavior so that half-press is "search for focus" and no pressing is "locked focus" makes me happy. And releasing the shutter button NOT releasing the focus lock is also a blessing.

    Use it. See if it works for you. Everybody's different. But I could kick myself for not learning about it and using it years earlier.
    I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic G3. flickr stream and equipment list

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