Focusing Methods vs Focusing Area


TPF Noob!
Feb 29, 2012
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Hello Everyone,

Finally purchased my camera and spelt the last couple of hours reading the manual, watching video's on youtube ect...
I have a question about the Focusing parameters.

There seems to be 2 Focusing parameters that break off into subsections.

1. The Focusing Mode
2. The Focusing Area

These 2 parameters break down into smaller parts..

1. The Focusing Mode - AF-A / AF-S / AF-C / MF
2. The Focusing Area - Single Point AF / Dynamic AF / 3D Tracking / Auto-Area AF

Now, I need some help..
Let's say I want to take a picture of my brother playing soccer..

Would I use the The Focusing Mode of AF-A or AF-C while setting the Area Mode to Dynamic AF or 3D Tracking??
From what I understand, AF-A automatically switches between a static and continuous moving object while the Dynamic AF or 3D Tracking would following the object across the viewfinder or live view display...

I'm I on the right track?? I would have continuous frame shooting turned on for sure... shooting rapidly..

I want to know if I'm doing this right or not..

ok AF-A is pretty much autofocus automatic, this is something i dont set to. The other two are AF single servo and continous (AF-C) obviously MF is manual focus.
The way i keep my settings are AF-C release without focus and AF-S release only with focus. I would forget about AF-A mode it pretty much tries to distinguish like u said between a moving or still subject, you know this better than the camera so pick one!!! for dynamic or 3d tracking i would use AF-C because in both of those modes you are tracking something that is moving. So you want to be constantly focusing thus Continous focus.

Single servo is used when the subject is completely still, also you yourself are still, pick a af point press ur shutter halfway and shoot.

Here is the main difference, in single it will only AF to your subject once, if you have focus your image will be sharp, if the subject or you yourself move, the picture will no longer be sharp. In continuous the focus is constantly changing you will notice this in your viewfinder as well. You could also use continuous however for single point AF area, if you keep framing the same and follow the subject with your camera the focus will keep changing to follow your subject. You are on the right track.
If you want to shoot your brother playing soccer then you certainly want to use AF-C mode since it will continually autofocus on a moving subject. AF-S mode only focuses once, which is nice when you don't want the focus point to be in the center of the image. AF-A mode allows the camera to decide if the subject is moving or not. I seldom take mine out of AF-C mode.

I have yet to use any autofocus AREA than single point. I've tried a few times to use auto and 3D but the camera and I tend to disagree on what should be focused on so I gave up. I will occasionally change which focus point is used but the majority of the time I leave it on the center one. Perhaps I'm missing out on a handy feature but I personally prefer single-point area.

Edit ... Pertaining to RGregory1965's post below, another forum of which I am a member recently had a poll on this subject. 60% of the respondents use single-point autofocus when using AF-C mode. The next closest was 21-point dynamic area with only 17% of the respondents using that mode.
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Mine stays on AF-C single point.....99.9 percent of the time
Hmm, mine is autofocus c is press the sutter down all the way and it will shoot even if subject isnt in focus

But autofocus s it wont release shutter till its in focus

In the options you can change this, perhaps mine got reversed

But like said mine is always on single point. I have seen cameras grab the wrong thing too often. Then manual focus for video

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