Multi-point vs Single Point AF

Today's cameras provide fast, reliable, auto focus systems (AF). Most modern cameras are now equipped with multi-point AF sensors that do a great job provide quick high-speed tracking for our subjects. As great as the technology is, it can't read your mind. Even the most advance auto focus system cannot determine your photographic intentions. With subjects at various distances from the camera, a multi-point AF system will often focus on the nearest reliable target. Undoubtedly there will be times the cameras auto focus will focus on the wrong subject, giving you less than desirable results.

Instead of relying on your cameras auto focus to make decisions for you. Why not break away from the point-and-shoot approach, and tell the camera exactly where you want the focus.

Most cameras today, that offer multi-point AF, allow you to manually select which focus point to use to ensure focus on your intended subject, and give your photos the results you want.

I recommend setting your camera to use a single focus point. In my opinion, using the method of Focus and Compose, is the most effective method of getting accurate shots.

To use this method, simply set your cameras AF to only use the center focus point. The rest is strictly technique. When taking a picture, position the camera's center AF point directly on the subject you wish to be focused on, then activate your cameras AF Lock by pressing the shutter button down halfway. Once your cameras signals you a focus lock, (usually a audio beep or the center AF point in the view finder will light up). Continue to hold the shutter down halfway, then recompose your shot.

We've all seen those fantastic portraits were the models eyes just draw you in. In these type of portrait shots, we generally want to focus on the eyes. This effect can rarely be achieved in a point-and-shoot mode with multi-point AF.

Using the Focus and Recompose Method, we simply place the center AF point directly on the subjects eyes, lock the focus, and recompose, once composed, take the shot.

This will take some practice, but the results are well worth it.