Back Button Focus

One of the more controversial subjects in photography, at least for me, is the use of back button focus.

The premise is that, on cameras that allow this level of configuration, you can separate the ‘focus’ and ‘shoot’ operations, so one button under the thumb on the back of the camera becomes the ‘focus’ button, and the half-press of the shutter button no-longer changes the AF setting.

I’ve tried it, admittedly fairly briefly, and I can’t see the point. I don’t want the camera focussed on something that isn’t what I’m taking a picture of.  My two most used cameras have 49 and 65 autofocus points.  Recompose and shoot doesn’t happen very often, and I’m usually working with moving subjects, so the camera is permanently in AI-Servo mode.  Why would I NOT want to focus at the same time as taking the shot?

Shooting with the 7Dii, I’m usually steering the autofocus point in use as I’m shooting (and using a single AF point), so my thumb is busy elsewhere.  I’m still learning the finer points of the M6, and usually I’m using the touch shutter if I want to take more control over where the camera focusses. With the EVF, you can at least see where it’s aiming so can correct if needed. 

However, the thing that really, really winds me up is the assertion made that BBF will improve your photography, or even worse that you’re somehow not a ‘proper’ photographer if you don’t use it.  By all means give it a try.  If it works for you, the carry on.  But please don’t suggest I’m not as good a photographer just because I don’t use it.   Thanks.


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