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Autofocus is the ability of a camera/lens system to automatically adjust the focus of the lens via a motor attached to the focus group of the lens. Contrast with manual focus.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

46
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4answers
13k views

What is the best way to micro-adjust a lens?

I have a Canon 7D with a 50mm f/1.4 lens, and I think the auto-focus of the lens is off. How can I test and adjust this reliably? Will this approach work with all of my lenses? If I had a different ...
27
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the difference between a linear and a circular polarizer?

When I bought my polarizer, a friend told me that I should get a circular one, because the linear ones can mess with the autofocus. Is this true? What should each be used for?
27
votes
8answers
3k views

What is the advantage to back-button autofocus?

I've heard some advanced photographers talk about using back-button autofocus. As I understand it, this involves changing one of the camera's custom setting to engage the AF when a button on the rear ...
18
votes
4answers
8k views

How do camera body motors compare to in-lens motors for focusing?

What is the difference between using a motor on the camera body and the motor built into lenses? Aside from how both compare in terms of speed, what differences would I notice if I use a body with a ...
36
votes
3answers
10k views

What apertures are required to enable autofocus, including cross-type or high-precision focusing, on Canon DSLR cameras?

This is a follow-up to Why does Canon and Nikon limit or disable autofocus beyond certain f-numbers? I'm doing this to separate the AF aperture requirements from the linked question above. My goal ...
23
votes
9answers
3k views

Why would I want to select an autofocus point?

I'm trying to understand why I would ever want to select an auto focus point other then the center point. I have a Canon XTI Rebel DSLR which has 9 auto-focus points, but I'm also looking into getting ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

What type of lens will auto-focus on Nikon bodies without a focus motor?

I know my D40 doesn't have a motor in it to auto-focus lenses. What type of lens has the motor in it? How can I know which lenses will and will not work?
6
votes
3answers
16k views

Is the lack of AF Motor on the Nikon D5100 an important factor?

I had made up mind on purchasing a Nikon D5100 during the holidays but only yesterday I realized that it doesn't have a AF motor with it. This is forcing me to change to Canon 550D which is in the ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Why can't my SLR autofocus on certain parts of a scene?

I had my Nikon D7000 on single-point auto focus and it just would not focus on the spots I wanted. I have marked the spots that could not be focused on with red circles, and the parts that could be ...
28
votes
3answers
144k views

What does STM mean on a Canon lens?

The Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 has a designation of STM on the lens. What does this mean? What are the advantages of having it and does it replace an older technology? We have a terminology thread that ...
29
votes
3answers
3k views

How does autofocus work?

How does auto focus work on modern cameras? How accurate is it?
12
votes
4answers
1k views

How do you use the different autofocus points on your DSLR?

My Nikon D300 has quite a few autofocus points. There's a button I can operate with my thumb to change the autofocus point but I find that quite difficult to use. So I almost exclusively use the ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the effect of the number of cross-type focus points on sharp focus?

Canon claims that EOS 6D has special capability to focus in low light, but it has only one cross-type sensor and overall only 11 focus points. Does only one cross-type focus point in the Canon EOS 6D ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

If the focal plane is curved, should the outer AF points work correctly or front-focus?

Many (all?) lenses have a (slightly) curved focal plane. In general it's close enough to flat that you don't really notice it, but under certain conditions it may become apparent. As I understand it ...
28
votes
4answers
39k views

What is back-focusing?

What is back-focusing? Is it something I need to be worried about, or can I just live with it? How can I tell if my camera/lens is sufferring from it?
19
votes
6answers
14k views

What is the practical difference between phase-detect and contrast-based autofocus?

What are the main differences in field use between phase detect AF and contrast based AF? I understand the technical differences, but I am not sure what the implications from a photographer ...
11
votes
2answers
5k views

Why does Canon and Nikon limit or disable autofocus beyond certain f-numbers?

One thing that I've noticed with Canon DSLR camera is they will disable or limit autofocus when the lens is below certain aperture values, which are specified in my answer to What are the aperture ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Do the issues with sharpness I am seeing require AF fine-tuning?

I own a nikon D7000 with 18-105 lens. I am not happy with sharpness I get with autofocus in portraits. I read about front/back focusing, but I am not sure whether my gear has this issue. Is this issue ...
13
votes
4answers
746 views

Why doesn't auto-focus work with an all-white subject (like a wall)?

I am trying to compose a shot using my Nikon D60 and 18-55mm lens towards a white wall in a auto-focus mode. It looks like I am not able to take the photo. I feel the camera is not able to find any ...
31
votes
5answers
3k views

Focus problem vs. motion blur vs. camera shake - how to tell the difference?

I'm not sure if the title of the question captures what I mean, but it's hard to be succint in the space allowed. Suppose you have a picture that is not as sharp as you think it should/could be. ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

When to use a particular auto-focus mode

I have a Nikon D90, and after taking a photography course that recommended single point auto-focus I predominately use that. I was testing some of the modes today (single point, dynamic area, ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

Why do mirrorless cameras have quicker autofocus than SLRs using live view?

With early 2013 cameras, it's generally accepted that using contrast detection autofocus on SLRs (ie live view on most SLRs) is something which is really suitable only for static, or close to static, ...
13
votes
1answer
11k views

How does focus work on mobile phone cameras?

How does focusing work on mobile phone cameras? Aren't their optics simple enough to not have any moving parts whatsoever? If so, how come most smartphones have an auto-focus, and with various ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the advantage of the huge number of AF points?

If the camera has only 1 central AF point, it is difficult to focus on an off-center subject ( without recomposing after autofocus ) so having 3 AF points seems really useful. Similarly I understand ...
9
votes
3answers
999 views

Is the color of the AF assist light important?

What are the differences between white and this darkroom red/orange active autofocus assistance lights?
9
votes
8answers
3k views

Should auto-focus need adjusting?

I own a Canon XTI, and it always seems my shots are slightly out of focus. I usual have my camera set to the center focus point, and usually half press the shutter button to establish the focus on the ...
6
votes
1answer
738 views

Which offers better results: FoCal or LensAlign Pro?

I am in need of microadjusting my autofocus for a couple of my lenses with my Canon 7D. Namely, I need to adjust the 100-400 L lens, which seems to consistently AF a bit softer than I've seen from ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Why am I allowed to turn my focusing ring beyond infinity?

Is there a good reason why I can turn the focusing ring on my lenses beyond infinity mark on focusing scale? Following recent questions here and here, it sounds like a real usability issue. ...
6
votes
1answer
419 views

Where is the AF sensor located in a DSLR?

As I understand every DSLR has a separate, smaller sensor that handles phase detection focusing. Where is it located? If this location is different for every DSLR, and therefore this broad question ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What causes auto-focus “freezing”?

On occasion, the auto-focus system in my camera and/or lens just stops working. I'll be holding down the shutter release halfway and tracking a subject and I can feel/hear the auto-focus system ...
4
votes
2answers
230 views

Are of cross-type focus points more accurate, or just faster?

Do cross type focus points achieve sharper photos than horizontal points or do they just grab focus faster.
4
votes
4answers
4k views

What can I do if autofocus does not work but manual focus does?

Recently, the autofocus on my Nikon D3100 stopped working. The ring of the lens wouldn't even turn when I tried to focus. However, when switched to manual focus, the camera works fine. When I used a ...
4
votes
1answer
527 views

What is an auto-focus motor?

I recently bought a Canon 550D, and I read it has an auto-focus motor, which not all cameras possess. I'd like to know what it is, and what I can do to keep it running smoothly; AFAIK the manual ...
2
votes
4answers
12k views

What should I do when my Nikon AF-S lens won't auto focus?

I have a Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX I bought for my Nikon D5100, it's only a couple months old, never been dropped or anything, and it all of a sudden won't auto focus. Anyone know if this is a simple ...
1
vote
1answer
124 views

Focus in night photography

Another question related to the Olympus OMD EM5. I bought this camera to replace my Nikon D90 and I'm very satisfied with it. However, I find very hard to do the focus at night. With the Nikon D90, ...
1
vote
6answers
237 views

Is it normal for autofocus to produce blurry photos under low light?

I use a Sony NEX-5R. I find that the autofocus often fails during low light, as in produces out of focus photos. Sometimes it's clearly out of focus, and I can see that on the LCD, in which case I ...
17
votes
2answers
42k views

What's the difference between cross-type autofocus points and regular ones?

What's the difference between different autofocus point types (cross vs point and such)? Cross points seem to be a "feature" — why?
5
votes
1answer
18k views

What is the difference between Al Focus and Al Servo autofocus modes?

Recently I bought a Canon 60D and I am uncertain about when and how to use/activate the Al Focus and Al Servo functions. I understand the One Shot autofocus function for still subjects. You press ...
11
votes
6answers
6k views

How can I get everything in focus?

I have a Canon 550D with 70-200 f4 and 50mm prime lenses. Although the camera has built-in 9 focal points, I sometimes face a strange problem. Here's a sample photo: In reference to the above pic, ...
10
votes
2answers
893 views

How can I determine if my Sigma 10-20mm lens copy is appropriately sharp and focusing right?

I just purchased a Sigma 10-20mm lens (Canon mount) and based on the reviews I was aware that many people receive copies of the lens that are soft or don't focus properly. I purchased from B&H, so ...
8
votes
2answers
782 views

What technical reasons prevent Canon's new hybrid AF working with non-STM lenses?

Canon's new Rebel T4i (a.k.a. EOS 650D) has a new "hybrid AF" mode, which allows continuous AF during video, but only when used with one of the new STM lenses. I've seen chatter on the web forums ...
7
votes
4answers
723 views

Which is better - autofocus and recompose vs. manual focus?

In some occasions autofocus doesn't focus what I intend it to. What is the better option - to use autofocus, focus what I want and recompose, or use manual focus in that situation?
25
votes
6answers
4k views

Can I damage the focus system by turning the focus ring when the lens isn't mounted?

I have a couple lenses that don't have an internal focusing system, and whenever I want to put them back in my bag, I turn the focus ring to make the lens shorter. I noticed that when the lens is set ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

When would one need manual focus override?

In lens reviews, ability to override auto-focus manually is often referred to as a good (and important) feature. I have rarely, if ever used that feature, so I feel I might be missing out on an ...
10
votes
1answer
310 views

When focusing in Live View, where is the point of focus?

I use Canon SLRs. When using live view focusing, there is a rectangle which turns green when the focus is achieved. My question is: Is there a single focus point at the center of the rectangle? Or ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Can lens focus speed affect continuous shooting speed?

I was using a 50mm f/1.8 II lens on my Canon 40D yesterday, and I was trying to capture some action shots using continuous high-speed drive mode and AI Servo autofocus mode. I was using a shutter ...
7
votes
1answer
553 views

What are the differences between AF/metering chips for M42 lens Canon DSLR adapter?

I'm looking for an adapter to use an M42 lens on a Canon DSLR. I was wondering if anyone knows the difference between the following types of chips : 2nd generation AF 3rd generation AF EMF AF ...
7
votes
5answers
490 views

Precise focus in self-portraiture

I've been trying to take some self-portraits, but I often have to struggle with the auto/manual focus. I don't miss by a lot, but I really want sharp focus in the eyes. I'm using a 50mm/1.8 around ...
5
votes
6answers
14k views

Why does my Nikon D3100 no longer auto-focus correctly?

I bought my camera on January 2011. Since a few months ago, I'm facing a problem with the autofocus. It happens with my two lenses 18/55mm and 55/200mm. I noticed that the focus light doesn't turn on ...
5
votes
2answers
943 views

Can't auto-focus at full zoom

I have a Canon 1000d, and the standard lens EF-S 18-55mm. Recently I was out taking photos and I've noticed that if I zoom in fully, the lens can't auto focus. I can still take shots using manual ...