What's the difference between spot AF and single point AF? 7D

Started Feb 4, 2012 | Discussions
nomadmtb
nomadmtb Junior Member • Posts: 25
What's the difference between spot AF and single point AF? 7D

I have been shooting with single point AF for a while now. I was assuming that spot and single point were one in the same. Does anyone know if there is a difference?

-Kyle

Canon EOS 7D
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bhollis
bhollis Veteran Member • Posts: 3,923
Re: What's the difference between spot AF and single point AF? 7D

nomadmtb wrote:

I have been shooting with single point AF for a while now. I was assuming that spot and single point were one in the same. Does anyone know if there is a difference?

-Kyle

Spot AF samples a smaller area when focusing, and can be useful when critical focus on a particular "spot" is desired.

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Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 15,536
Re: What's the difference between spot AF and single point AF? 7D

The answers to your question are right there in the manual.

You obviously need to read your camera manual. A few quick glances at the manual simply won't do for a professional camera like the 7D, you really need to study it.

With Single Point AF you can select any of the 19 focal points as the active focal point. With Spot AF only the central AF point is used. See p.87 of manual.

The area used for AF is smaller with the Spot AF than with Single Point AF. See p.89 of manual.

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Ron_W
Ron_W Regular Member • Posts: 182
Re: What's the difference between spot AF and single point AF? 7D

(1) Spot AF (Manual selection) C.Fn III -6 (Page 89)

Although this is the same as single-point AF, the
selected AF point covers a smaller pinpoint
area to focus. Effective for pinpoint focusing
overlapping subjects such as an animal in a cage.
Since Spot AF covers a very small area, focusing
might be difficult during hand-held shooting or for a
moving subject.

Spot AF can be activated on any one of the 19 AF points. - Just Try it...
--
Ron

See Plan for Equipment...

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dojoklo Contributing Member • Posts: 526
Spot is not necc. more accurate
1

While you may be tempted to use Spot AF mode all the time instead of Single Point AF mode, thinking it will be more accurate, don't do this.

When autofocusing, the camera looks for areas of contrast or a nice line. The better the contrast or line that it finds, the faster and more accurately it can autofocus.

When in Spot AF mode, the camera looks at a tiny area to find this contrast or line, and it is often more likely that you will be simply aiming the AF point at an area of solid color or something else that may be difficult to focus on. For example, when focusing on a subject's face, Spot AF might only see an area of cheek and relatively solid skin, while the regular Single Point AF is looking at a larger area and might pick up the nose or eye and thus be able to focus.

So, only use Spot AF in situations where it is needed, such as when shooting through a fence or through leaves and you don't want the camera to look at a wider area and accidentally focus on the fence or leaves rather than the subject or bird beyond. Use Single Point the rest of the time. It is still highly accurate, and the area it looks at is still pretty small, yet large enough that you don't have to carefully aim like a sharpshooter for every shot.

riknash Veteran Member • Posts: 6,874
Re: Spot is not necc. more accurate

The problem with single point vs spot focus is that one never knows for certain what the camera has determined to be the focus point when the area of focus concern is small and single point focus would result in coverage variable in depth.

dojoklo wrote:

While you may be tempted to use Spot AF mode all the time instead of Single Point AF mode, thinking it will be more accurate, don't do this.

When autofocusing, the camera looks for areas of contrast or a nice line. The better the contrast or line that it finds, the faster and more accurately it can autofocus.

When in Spot AF mode, the camera looks at a tiny area to find this contrast or line, and it is often more likely that you will be simply aiming the AF point at an area of solid color or something else that may be difficult to focus on. For example, when focusing on a subject's face, Spot AF might only see an area of cheek and relatively solid skin, while the regular Single Point AF is looking at a larger area and might pick up the nose or eye and thus be able to focus.

So, only use Spot AF in situations where it is needed, such as when shooting through a fence or through leaves and you don't want the camera to look at a wider area and accidentally focus on the fence or leaves rather than the subject or bird beyond. Use Single Point the rest of the time. It is still highly accurate, and the area it looks at is still pretty small, yet large enough that you don't have to carefully aim like a sharpshooter for every shot.

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Jerry-astro
Jerry-astro Forum Pro • Posts: 19,115
Not quite...

Sailor Blue wrote:

With Spot AF only the central AF point is used. See p.87 of manual.

Umm, you might consider giving the ol' manual another read yourself. That statement is incorrect. Far as I know, any point can be set up to use spot focus. Neither p.87 nor p.89 indicate any limitations on focus point selection.

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Karl Gnter Wnsch Forum Pro • Posts: 11,408
Re: What's the difference between spot AF and single point AF? 7D

Sailor Blue wrote:

With Single Point AF you can select any of the 19 focal points as the active focal point. With Spot AF only the central AF point is used. See p.87 of manual.

Wrong you are mixing up spot AF and spot metering...

-- hide signature --

regards
Karl Günter Wünsch

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dave61 Regular Member • Posts: 212
Re: What's the difference between spot AF and single point AF? 7D

Yes -- mixing up focus and exposure. I couldn't quite understand the issue at first.

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