LiveView Touch Focus DPAF

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Michael Thomas Mitchell Forum Pro • Posts: 11,663
LiveView Touch Focus DPAF

We don't often hear much about touch focus shooting with DPAF-equipped Canon cameras, but we had an experience last evening that I thought worth sharing.

We were shooting a quinceanera yesterday, and it included an "open-air" photo booth. We market it as a "step-up" photo booth, that includes a studio backdrop and lighting. Pictures are wall-projected in near-real time, which keeps interest high. Guests can use a prop we provide or make a sign, and the photographer captures 2-4 frames per group. We've used different cameras and different setups over the years, some with more success than others. But last evening, we implemented something which we had been testing over the past week or so with good success. That is, of course, touch focus.

For those rare few who might not know what's I'm talking about, "touch focus" refers to activating both focus and shutter simply by touching the intended point to be in focus on the camera's touch screen. Obviously, this requires one of the newer Canon models equipped with DPAF (Dual Pixel Auto Focus) and a touchscreen. We used a 70D we picked up used last summer for just $350.

The method contrasts significantly with the traditional method of the photographer having to look through the viewfinder, select his focus point, focus, and shoot. On a typical evening of, say, 300 total photographs, we might lose anywhere from 10-30 shots which were simply too out of focus to be usable.

Last evening, using the touch-shoot method, our success rate for focus was 100%.

Furthermore, every photograph was not simply "in focus", but perfectly in focus, razor sharp. In fact, I was started to see that the photos were so sharp despite being shot at 800 ISO. (We've been incorporating more and more LED lighting in our work, primarily because we are mixing in more and more video, blurring the lines between what we traditionally think of as distinctly "still" or "motion picture". Flash still has plays an irreplaceable role in our traditional wedding portraiture, but at the reception, the flash often comes off in favor of LEDs, thanks in large part to ever better high-ISO performance.)

Anyway, based upon the incredible performance last evening, we're going to be exploring touch-focus a bit more, here and there, and hoped that our experience might encourage some others to learn more about this technique available to them which they might have thought little of before.

(BTW: It was my wife, and not me, who inspired the idea in the first place. Having recently had back surgery, she was concerned about bending to look into a viewfinder, and questioned why a DSLR couldn't just work much like her cellphone already did. With little to no experience with either our 70D or 5DIV, she had no idea the capability was right there all along.)

 Michael Thomas Mitchell's gear list:Michael Thomas Mitchell's gear list
Canon EOS-1D Mark II Canon EOS 70D Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
Canon EOS 70D
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