Back Button Focus
Nothing shows that you’re a pro more than having a back-button-focus setup on your camera. Divorcing the focusing from the shutter action releases you from the confines of the single button, allowing things like stopping focus momentarily when something runs in front of your subject, or pre-focusing, or focus and recompose.
All things that can be done with shutter button half-press focusing.
I used BBF for a couple of years, and found it advantageous in only a couple of situations. The rest of the time it’s basically a gimmick, and forces more RSI into my hand. So I retrained myself back to the default setup of a shutter half-press, which also means I can hand my camera to anyone and not have to explain my “weird” focus setup to them. It also means I don’t have to think about 2 separate actions when snapping away.
Back when AF systems were shit, perhaps this was a good idea… but I don’t see the need for it now. I have different continuous AF modes; keep tracking subject and ignore obstacles, for example. And I am using a Fujifilm X-H1, a supposedly inferior camera – and yet I see plenty of far inferior images coming from folks that I know are using BBF. One, I discovered, sits at f/11 when slow shutter panning and has auto-ISO on, no matter how dark it gets; I wondered for a long time why there was so much noise in his images from a current model Canon….
Back Button Focusing doesn’t make you a pro, or necessarily good.
Reliably producing good images shows you are good.
Post images and content © Nigel Swan unless stated otherwise
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