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Back button focusing - thoughts and experience?


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2 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

I tried it and found when I needed to take a picture, I was trying to do it the way I was used to and thought my camera was broken because it wouldn’t autofocus. A slap-myself-in-the-head moment. So I just went back to what I was used to, familiar with. Something I didn’t have to think about first and wonder how long using BBF would become second nature. Call me a fuddy-duddy.
Boy, auto correct had a field day with that word. 😊

Betty, did you have trouble with this style of focusing only on specific cameras, lenses or situations.  I shall be getting more into using DMF once I attach the 135mm f1.8. 

 

For me, one thing at a time, I am so into manual focus right now. Suddenly I like manual focus, and manual everything, like a new toy to play with, not that I haven't used it before, had to with the 85mm f1.4 Rokinon but did not hang on to that lens long.  I have relied on the camera AF almost exclusively for several years. At the moment I am enjoying the Laowa 15mm f4 wide angle macro which is a manual focus lens loads of fun.  But, not to hijack Steve's thread or get off topic, here is another link that relates to what Steve was asking or talking about, might be of interest to anyone who owns a Sony DMF or Direct Manual Focus techniques for Sony Alpha Cameras.  (Disclaimer, sort of) The links I am sharing are intended for those of us that don't know or aren't all that familiar with all these techniques; not for the pros who know all this already.

 

Helen

 

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I think the size of your hands and the position of the button has an effect on how easy it is. I was failing utterly with one of my Nikons and then with a new camera I found it was a reasonable choice because the button was closer to hand. There are definitely times when I wish for large, strong hands.

 

Paulette

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2 hours ago, hsessions said:

Betty, did you have trouble with this style of focusing only on specific cameras, lenses or situations.  I shall be getting more into using DMF once I attach the 135mm f1.8. 

 

For me, one thing at a time, I am so into manual focus right now. Suddenly I like manual focus, and manual everything, like a new toy to play with, not that I haven't used it before, had to with the 85mm f1.4 Rokinon but did not hang on to that lens long.  I have relied on the camera AF almost exclusively for several years. At the moment I am enjoying the Laowa 15mm f4 wide angle macro which is a manual focus lens loads of fun.  But, not to hijack Steve's thread or get off topic, here is another link that relates to what Steve was asking or talking about, might be of interest to anyone who owns a Sony DMF or Direct Manual Focus techniques for Sony Alpha Cameras.  (Disclaimer, sort of) The links I am sharing are intended for those of us that don't know or aren't all that familiar with all these techniques; not for the pros who know all this already.

 

Helen

 

It was with one of my Nikon cameras, either the D7000 or D800. What Paulette said is very reasonable, but with me it was muscle memory. Using the shutter button is instinctive and trying to change that wasn’t worth the bother to me.

I do shoot everything manual on my Fuji’s except focus. I don’t trust my eyes, it’s kind of like an eye exam. “Is this sharper (or clearer) or is ..click..this one? Makes me tense, and I don’t like anything that takes away from the fun!

Good luck!

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16 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Hope you're feeling better. Good luck with the washing machine repair person. Do you know a good plumber? Our kitchen sink is blocked.

 

With all the fiddly buttons to push and wheels to turn on cameras these days, I sometimes feel that I need to grow a couple more fingers. I miss the simplicity of my old film cameras. But that's progress for you... 🙃

 

20 hours ago, Steve F said:

Get well soon Allan!

 

Better today thank you both.

 

Repair man did not turn up. Why does that not surprise me?  Spoke to the manufacturers today told them machine bought last year from Currys and still in warranty. He gave me a coupon number and asked me to contact C****s. Gave number to young lady at that place and they said they will send out a replacement machine and take the old one back.  Hope it is soon I have three weeks washing backed up. Be going around naked soon.

 

As for a plumber - I use "Mr Muscle sink unblocker". Cheaper.

 

Allan

 

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5 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

 

 

Better today thank you both.

 

Repair man did not turn up. Why does that not surprise me?  Spoke to the manufacturers today told them machine bought last year from Currys and still in warranty. He gave me a coupon number and asked me to contact C****s. Gave number to young lady at that place and they said they will send out a replacement machine and take the old one back.  Hope it is soon I have three weeks washing backed up. Be going around naked soon.

 

As for a plumber - I use "Mr Muscle sink unblocker". Cheaper.

 

Allan

 

 

I've tried "Mr Muscle", but nothing seems to work. Plumbers here charge a fortune (perhaps I should have been one), and most of them don't want to bother making house calls. They want the big, lucrative commercial jobs, of which there are many in Vancouver. If I send my private jet over there to pick you up, will you bring a plunger?

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16 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

I've tried "Mr Muscle", but nothing seems to work. Plumbers here charge a fortune (perhaps I should have been one), and most of them don't want to bother making house calls. They want the big, lucrative commercial jobs, of which there are many in Vancouver. If I send my private jet over there to pick you up, will you bring a plunger?

 

Best back your private jet up to the plughole and give it a blast of the exhaust.🙃

 

Allan

 

I was told by a plumber how to use a plunger. Instead of using long strokes, Ahem!, it is better to use fast short strokes as it pumps the blockage back and forth and helps to break it up.

 

ITMA

 

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8 minutes ago, Allan Bell said:

 

Best back your private jet up to the plughole and give it a blast of the exhaust.🙃

 

Allan

 

I was told by a plumber how to use a plunger. Instead of using long strokes, Ahem!, it is better to use fast short strokes as it pumps the blockage back and forth and helps to break it up.

 

ITMA

 

 

Thanks for the -- Ahem! -- tip. Perhaps I shouldn't have dumped that Kg of raw oatmeal down the sink. 🤢

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On 07/03/2021 at 10:58, Steve F said:

So I finally got around to changing my camera to back button focus and I felt all grown up. The benefit being that you can leave your camera on AF-C (autofocus-continuous) and if you want to do the equivalent of AF-S single shot focus and recompose, you just stop pressing the back button that controls the focusing and your focus is then fixed. Rather than going into camera menus to change your focus type.

 

Then I watched a YouTube video (I know!) and the photographer was recommending instead to leave the shutter release as also controlling focus as normal, and to change the button on the back of the camera to switch off the autofocus. This way, you don't need to press two buttons to focus and take a picture all the time; you can simply just switch off the autofocus with a single press and then you are focused on your subject and can recompose when you want - you have 'focus lock'.

 

Then, something else occurred to me (I have time, it's the weekend and lockdown!), I have a relatively modern camera - A7iii - so I have a 3rd option of AF-A (Autofocus Automatic) so the camera automatically switches between AF-S and AF-C depending on whether it detects that the main subject is moving or not. Which renders the whole back button thing moot anyway??

 

 

...So, has anyone got any thoughts or experience with this?

 

I'm borrowing a Nikon APS-C camera at the moment with the very highly regarded 200-500 for birding. It was given to me with back button focus set and since this is how I used to work in the Canon days, I never bothered changing it and within a couple of shots I remembered all those years back why I liked it. As you say it means that you can use AF-C but have the equivalent of AF-S with only a momentary press. Personally I've never trusted AF-A or its equivalents because it can introduce hunting on static subjects where there shouldn't be any, but may not track a suddenly moving object quick enough to be useful. It is essentially a jack of all trades and absolutely a master of none.

 

I don't know whether this is possible on the A7iii, but a setup I have read of some people using on the Nikons is to have your shutter half press set to use a wide focus area, and back button focus set to a spot point. This removes the advantage of BBF only but for birders sounds like a winner in fast moving scenarios and is something I am going to investigate more.

 

If I may ask, Steve, I recall you have the 100-400 GM as well, and would love to hear what you think of this on the A7iii and whether you have also used the 200-600. I did not think the birding bug would bite me so hard when I last got some kit and it looks like I might be about to do it all again!

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On 11/03/2021 at 16:15, Cal said:

 

I'm borrowing a Nikon APS-C camera at the moment with the very highly regarded 200-500 for birding. It was given to me with back button focus set and since this is how I used to work in the Canon days, I never bothered changing it and within a couple of shots I remembered all those years back why I liked it. As you say it means that you can use AF-C but have the equivalent of AF-S with only a momentary press. Personally I've never trusted AF-A or its equivalents because it can introduce hunting on static subjects where there shouldn't be any, but may not track a suddenly moving object quick enough to be useful. It is essentially a jack of all trades and absolutely a master of none.

 

I don't know whether this is possible on the A7iii, but a setup I have read of some people using on the Nikons is to have your shutter half press set to use a wide focus area, and back button focus set to a spot point. This removes the advantage of BBF only but for birders sounds like a winner in fast moving scenarios and is something I am going to investigate more.

 

If I may ask, Steve, I recall you have the 100-400 GM as well, and would love to hear what you think of this on the A7iii and whether you have also used the 200-600. I did not think the birding bug would bite me so hard when I last got some kit and it looks like I might be about to do it all again!

 

Hi Cal,

I've never used the 200-600 - sounds big and heavy... And living in the centre of a large town on the 9th floor during lockdown, all I see at this level is crows, pigeons, and the occasional red kite! I haven't had a chance to go out birding with it, but hope to start using it more once things get back to normal.

Steve

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