Help on getting the most from Single Area (1-Area) AF

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G from Sydney Junior Member • Posts: 46
Help on getting the most from Single Area (1-Area) AF

I would like some tips on getting the best out of Single Area (1-Area) AF.

For reference and as you may have see below, I have a Panasonic GX85.  Not the latest and greatest, but this question is about getting the most out of what I have and I'm sure it would apply to other Panasonic bodies as well.

At the end of last year, I took a picture of siamyang (type of ape) crossing a body of water on a rope (at a zoo). This ape was all black: black skin, black hair and black eyes. I used single area AF and AFS. I had the focus area set to be just larger than the ape's head, so some of the background could be seen behind it. Unfortunately, the camera focused on the background and not the ape's face. For interest's sake, the ape was relatively still when I took the shot, so no problem getting the focus area on the subject.

In the past few days, I finally found some info on the subject while reading through this thread: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4578140 .
I get the idea that because there was very little contrast in my subject (black on black on black), but good contrast in the background, the camera focused on the background.

Even before reading some of the comments in that thread, I got the idea that my focus area was set too large, which brings me to the next part of my question...

In recent weeks, I went along to my kids' school athletics carnival and took some pictures. One of my kids was wearing a medium-dark blue shirt. The difference in contrast wasn't probably as much as the ape, but was still on the low side. This time I had the focus area set to the smallest area, was aiming at their body and because they were moving, I was using AFC. Again, I missed focus on a few shots.

Question: What is the right size to set the focus area?

In the first scenario, I think I should have had it a bit smaller than the ape's head, so that no background was peaking through. Alternatively, I could had aimed for the body, which would have completely filled the focus area.

In the second scenario, would a larger focus area have helped? In this case, so the area was almost filling my child's body?

Any other tips or things I should consider in terms of setting the focus area?

Thank you in advance.

 G from Sydney's gear list:G from Sydney's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm F4-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm F1.7 ASPH Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro +4 more
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85
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