Back Button Focus Issue

PJM

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I just started trying BBF on my Nikon D5600 w/ Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 lens attached. I had gone through the menu system and set the AE-L/AF-L button to the AF-ON function. When I first tried it out it seemed to do what I expected.

Today, in the field, I set the camera to auto focus continuous, AF-C, with 39 points and also set VR On. The camera would not focus each time I hit the AE-L/AF-L button. There were times I had to press the shutter button half way, hearing a little whir and click, before the camera would focus using the back button.

Any ideas on what gives?
 

stk

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I used to have the D5600 and always used back button focusing. Never any problems with native glass, while some older Tamrons and Sigmas needed a firmware update to function properly. So I guess that could be the problem..?

By the way, I would deactivate the focus on the shutter button, or else it's no point.
 
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wfooshee

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I'm not sure there's any point to BBF if the AF is continuous. BBF is meant to set your focus, then you can concentrate on framing, composing, whatever, and when you shoot, the focus is already set. When using continuous AF, I would think the shutter button is the only thing that makes sense, as the the focus will track whatever it grabs on the first half-press of the shutter button. It won't track continuous with BBF unless you hold the back button down as you shoot, which is not what BBF is made for.

My own habit is to disregard BBF if I'm shooting continuous AF, such as a sporting event, air show, or car race. My only use of BBF is with a static scene... hit the button for focus, then shoot when I'm ready. BBF simply makes no sense if you're trying to focus-track moving objects in the scene, which is what AF-C is designed to do.
 

stk

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I'm not sure there's any point to BBF if the AF is continuous. BBF is meant to set your focus, then you can concentrate on framing, composing, whatever, and when you shoot, the focus is already set. When using continuous AF, I would think the shutter button is the only thing that makes sense, as the the focus will track whatever it grabs on the first half-press of the shutter button. It won't track continuous with BBF unless you hold the back button down as you shoot, which is not what BBF is made for.

My own habit is to disregard BBF if I'm shooting continuous AF, such as a sporting event, air show, or car race. My only use of BBF is with a static scene... hit the button for focus, then shoot when I'm ready. BBF simply makes no sense if you're trying to focus-track moving objects in the scene, which is what AF-C is designed to do.
I'm not sure there's any point to BBF if the AF is single.
 

wfooshee

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I'm not sure there's any point to BBF if the AF is single.

To me, that's exactly what it's for. Separate the focus from the shutter button. Set your scene, find your focus point and tap the back button, then compose, frame, and shoot. You focus is locked from the point you tapped the button and you're free to do whatever else you need to do with the camera (other than change its distance to the subject.)
 
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PJM

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What I have seen and read is that by putting the camera in continuous mode you can use the back button for both single servo (press and release) and continuous (press and hold) focus without needing to change modes through the menu system.
 
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PJM

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I used to have the D5600 and always used back button focusing. Never any problems with native glass, while some older Tamrons and Sigmas needed a firmware update to function properly. So I guess that could be the problem..?

By the way, I would deactivate the focus on the shutter button, or else it's no point.
I will have to check out your last point. I was under the impression that setting the AE-L/AF-L button to AF ON also deactivated the focus on the shutter button.

I will check out your first point too. It's a native Nikon lens but maybe there is an update for it.\

Thanks for your feedback.
 

wfooshee

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Disagree all you want, folks, but why use BFF when in continuous AF? Now I have to work two buttons while I shoot sequences, which I find quite clumsy. I'm already holding the shutter button, let it trigger the continuous AF.

BFF lets you separate the AF function from the shutter press, but I don't want it separate when I'm shooting continuous sequences of frames with continuous AF. That simply makes no sense.
 

stk

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...

By the way, I would deactivate the focus on the shutter button, or else it's no point.
I will have to check out your last point. I was under the impression that setting the AE-L/AF-L button to AF ON also deactivated the focus on the shutter button.
I'm almost sure I'll have to deactivate the focus on the release button as well.

Disagree all you want, folks, but why use BFF when in continuous AF? Now I have to work two buttons while I shoot sequences, which I find quite clumsy. I'm already holding the shutter button, let it trigger the continuous AF.

BFF lets you separate the AF function from the shutter press, but I don't want it separate when I'm shooting continuous sequences of frames with continuous AF. That simply makes no sense.
That is totally up to you, and you should of course continue to do it the way you find the most useful.

For me, one of the benefits with using back button focusing is that it makes AF-C work like AF-S when I want, with no need to change focus mode. Yes, you'll have to operate two buttons, but it takes almost now time to get that into your muscle memory.
 

paigew

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Disagree all you want, folks, but why use BFF when in continuous AF? Now I have to work two buttons while I shoot sequences, which I find quite clumsy. I'm already holding the shutter button, let it trigger the continuous AF.

BFF lets you separate the AF function from the shutter press, but I don't want it separate when I'm shooting continuous sequences of frames with continuous AF. That simply makes no sense.

BBF on continuous AF works when your SUBJECT is moving, even slightly. It continuously grabs focus, so when photographing anything moving, even slightly, it is the best option.

RE: holding down two buttons: You should set your BBF to a custom button that is easy to access/hold down while you are shooting. I pretty much have my thumb on my BBF button and my pointer finger on the shutter at all times!
 
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wfooshee

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Disagree all you want, folks, but why use BFF when in continuous AF? Now I have to work two buttons while I shoot sequences, which I find quite clumsy. I'm already holding the shutter button, let it trigger the continuous AF.

BFF lets you separate the AF function from the shutter press, but I don't want it separate when I'm shooting continuous sequences of frames with continuous AF. That simply makes no sense.

BBF on continuous AF works when your SUBJECT is moving, even slightly. It continuously grabs focus, so when photographing anything moving, even slightly, it is the best option.

RE: holding down two buttons: You should set your BBF to a custom button that is easy to access/hold down while you are shooting. I pretty much have my thumb on my BBF button and my pointer finger on the shutter at all times!

Continuous AF also works when your subject is moving while your shutter is half-pressed or fully pressed, and I only have to operate one button.

I do understand that I can tap the BFF to set focus, and it behaves as single, even if AF is set to continuous, but for me, that's a so what?

You guys are treating me like I don't understand BFF, but I do. It simply serves no advantage to me, because 95% of my shooting is objects in motion, and keeping focus tied to the shutter button is simpler for that. How is using two buttons, one to keep focus active and one to keep shutter active, an advantage? It simply isn't. Not for my shooting.

If someone shoots enough different kinds of work to make the tap of the BBF advantageous for certain situation, then fine, go for it. I stand by what I said about 100% continuous shooting using continuous AF being simpler by the shutter button.
 

paigew

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Continuous AF also works when your subject is moving while your shutter is half-pressed or fully pressed, and I only have to operate one button.

I do understand that I can tap the BFF to set focus, and it behaves as single, even if AF is set to continuous, but for me, that's a so what?

You guys are treating me like I don't understand BFF, but I do. It simply serves no advantage to me, because 95% of my shooting is objects in motion, and keeping focus tied to the shutter button is simpler for that. How is using two buttons, one to keep focus active and one to keep shutter active, an advantage? It simply isn't. Not for my shooting.

If someone shoots enough different kinds of work to make the tap of the BBF advantageous for certain situation, then fine, go for it. I stand by what I said about 100% continuous shooting using continuous AF being simpler by the shutter button.

For me, I am pretty much holding down the BBF button at all times when I am actively shooting a moving subject. I am talking kids running around, dogs, sports, etc. There are many times when using two buttons is best, for example when you have foreground interference with your subject.

No one is acting like you don't understand BBF but you DID ask for advice on the subject. BBF works for many, many, many photographers. There is no right or wrong way, if you want to continue to use single point focus, go right on ahead. But in certain shooting situations, BBF is definitely preferred.
 

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I started bbf many years ago and once used to it, I love it. Haven't suffered any of the issues or concerns detailed here. Thing is if it's for you then great, if not don't use it.
 

nokk

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For me, I am pretty much holding down the BBF button at all times when I am actively shooting a moving subject. I am talking kids running around, dogs, sports, etc. There are many times when using two buttons is best, for example when you have foreground interference with your subject.
this is pretty much how i use it with wildlife photos.
 
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PJM

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I used to have the D5600 and always used back button focusing. Never any problems with native glass, while some older Tamrons and Sigmas needed a firmware update to function properly. So I guess that could be the problem..?

By the way, I would deactivate the focus on the shutter button, or else it's no point.
Is there a separate control to deactivate focus on the shutter button? From all I can find, setting the AE-L/AF-L to AF ON does that for you.
 

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