I just got my first DSLR, a Canon EOS 6D with 50mm f1.8 lens. I'm tring to learn by watching YouTube, but have some questions.

  1. When I use the lens on MF and the body on MF, I can't focus using the focus point. I just can focus using the lens ring, is this normal or do I have to do something else?

  2. I try to use focus point but I can't, the only way I can focus using focus point is by putting the lens on AF and the body on MF, is what I'm doing right or what?

  3. Can I manually focus by using the focus point? I mean can I use focus point when my camera and lens are on MF?

2 Answers 2


1) Manual focus means you must turn the focus ring to change the focus distance of the lens. Anytime the camera moves the focus point of the lens you are using autofocus (AF). With the Canon EOS system you use the AF/MF switch on the lens to select Manual Focus (MF) or Autofocus (AF).

Other than a few exotic big white Super Telephoto lenses that have an electronic MF feature (where you set focus to a certain point and program an extra button on the lens to return to that point whenever the extra button on the lens is pressed), the only way to manually focus Canon EOS lenses is to turn the focusing ring on the lens barrel. There are no controls on Canon EOS bodies to manually focus a lens.

2) The 'manual' focus point selection setting on the body is not to select whether you or the camera focuses the lens. Rather, it is to select whether you or the camera decide which AF point to use for the camera to autofocus the lens. With a manually selected AF point you tell the camera exactly which AF point to use to focus the lens. With the automatic AF point selection setting the camera selects the AF point from those available. In the 'Auto' and 'Scene' zones the camera always selects the AF Mode and the AF point. In the P-Tv-Av-M exposure modes you can let the camera select the AF point (by selecting all of them) or select one yourself.

3) With the lens set to manual focus (MF), you will have to turn the focusing ring to set the lens' focus. If there is a selected AF point active, when you have manually focused the lens to the correct distance for that point the focus confirmation light should come on in the lower right hand corner of the viewfinder if the 'One Shot' AF Mode was selected before the lens switch was moved to 'MF'.

Keep in mind that Manual (M) exposure mode selected via the mode dial has nothing to do with manual focusing mode. You can use manual exposure mode with autofocus or with manual focus. You can use some of the 'semi-automatic' exposure modes (Program (P), Shutter Priority (Tv), or Aperture Priority (Av)) with either AF or MF as well. You can even use the full Auto exposure modes with manual focus by setting the switch on the lens to 'MF'!


Sometimes, for quickness, manual focusing using the zone method and hyper focal distances (Zone Focusing) works. One caveat is that a busy background can't be blurred out without refocus. Another is that you must have a usable focus distance scale on your lens.

It works best with a wider lens, say 28-35mm prime and a narrower aperture to obtain depth of field. The only point that will be exactly in 'focus' is the distance the focus is set at, but the area that is acceptably in focus can range from not much, from a few feet away to infinity depending on the lens and aperture.

Check out DOF master.com for hyper-focal distances at various F stops for your lens and camera. Most DSLRs' autofocus works quickly, but with the ISO capabilities modern cameras have to go to higher ISO, even on a cloudy or dark day, zone focusing works well and once set doesn't have to be changed. I use it at times, set the shutter speed to say 1/250s or faster and ISO on Auto. A lot of street shooters use it, since sometimes even a split second of hesitation in auto focus, can lose the "decisive moment.

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