How does one use the AF-ON function..... sorry. but new to AF DSLRs

Started Oct 4, 2012 | Discussions thread
jfriend00
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Re: How does one use the AF-ON function..... sorry. but new to AF DSLRs
In reply to pavi1, Oct 5, 2012

pavi1 wrote:

jfriend00 wrote

With a little retraining on how to use your camera and the right settings, the AF-ON button can give you amazing flexibility for how you focus.  You configure the camera to only focus on the AF-ON button (no focus with the shutter button) and you set the camera to continuous focus (AF-C) and you allow the shutter to fire even if you're not in focus.

Unless you have a really good memory you will end up with a lot of out of focus pictures if you set the shutter to fire even if you are not in focus. Perhaps a long training period will make a two button press a habit, but it will take most some time  to switch from a lifetime of one button press to the new two button press. I do use the AF on button on my D300S but the shutter is still set on focus priority. What focus function does this rob me of?

You would lose most of the functionality if you allow focus to stay on the shutter button.  See the second post in this thread.  You would lose three of the four benefits in that post.

The whole idea is that of the benefit is that focus is NOT triggered by the shutter button so you can separate setting focus from taking the picture.  This allows you to set focus in any number of ways and then separately decide when to take the picture without impacting focus.  Among other benefits, you couldn't do focus and reframe, you couldn't use manual focus, etc.. with out having to change camera settings between each different focus technique.

If you can't remember to achieve focus by pressing the AF-ON button before taking a shot, then obviously you can't use this technique.  But, it is entirely learnable (if you're willing to train yourself) and provides significant benefits.  I learned it in my late forties after 20+ years of just using the shutter button for focus so it can certainly be done.  It took about four soccer games to feel comfortable with the new technique.  Yes, I did lose some pictures during the training period.  If you want to learn it, you have to practice.  Many, many, many pros use this technique because it has no downside (other than the time to learn it) and plenty of upside (much more flexible focus technique without having to change camera settings).

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