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How to use Autofocus in your DSLR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viJRI4LMm1M

Having proper focus in an image is imperative.  No one wants an out of focus picture of themselves or a family member, same goes for other types of photography.  This is one of the basics, so you need to get it right all th time.  In my video I go over how to use each mode, why you shouldn't focus then recompose & how I focus.  You can also find out what the 1/3-2/3s rule of focus is. 

Please share this video with your friends!  Thanks!

Fashion Show Fashion Show by Cazillo, on Flickr

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0 # iceman 2011-09-21 18:15
i don't get the 1/3-2/3s rule of focus is... =(
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0 # Gregory Cazillo 2011-09-22 09:27
cazillo.com/.../... go to the 39 minute mark, I explained it again.
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0 # Urban Lindström 2011-09-23 12:15
well explained, tried to take pictures of drag racing cars but the result I got was crap. unfocused and blurry. I wonder if you could recommend a good entry-level model as my current canon 10d of 2003 feels outdated, with 7 focusing points and lousy at higher ISO values​​.

Your tuition is class leading. keep it up
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+2 # Jim 2011-09-21 20:33
Canon to Nikon conversion chart

One Shot = Single Point AF
AI Focus = Dynamic Area AF
AI Servo = Auto Area AF
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0 # Gregory Cazillo 2011-09-22 09:27
thanks!
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0 # Den 2013-04-24 00:57
Sorry, just needed to correct an old post before too many people get confused by the wrong information. This is incorrect. You are talking about two different aspects of focus.

Canon to Nikon Point Selection
---------------------------
Single-point AF / Single-point Spot AF = Single Point AF
AF point expansion / Zone AF (only high model Canons) = Dynamic Area AF
Automatic Point Selection AF / x-point Automatic Selection AF = Dynamic Area AF
(No equivalent in Canon that I am aware of) = Auto Area AF (see nikonusa.com/.../...)

Canon to Nikon Focus Mode
------------------------
One Shot = Single Focus Mode
AI Focus = (Possibly nothing the same on Nikon - hybrid mode, starts in One Shot, switches to AI Servo if necessary)
AI Servo = Continuous Focus Mode
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+2 # Anthony Hostetler 2011-09-21 22:56
I have a D90 and a D200 My D200 shoots crisp in focus photos..The D90 ive had nothing but problems with At first I thought it was me Ive sent it to Nikon 3 times they say there is nothing wrong... I used the D90 in school and never had this problem...I looked up D90 focus problems and they are out their, But nikon refuses to fix so I had to go the BBB route!!!! didn't want to but when i shoot the same shot with two cameras and the old D200 is sharp and the D90 has a slight blur around I know it is not me!!!!!!!!! if you have a D90 focus prob dont bother sending it to Nikon they will tell you its your settings...... all they do is clean and take a few pics in their shop... unlike shooting 200 plus pics at a wedding....not right i have allot of glass if i did not i would switch to conon
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0 # Gregory Cazillo 2011-09-22 09:25
Do some test in a controlled environment and good lighting, then send those tests along with the camera for repair.
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0 # Garak1 2011-09-22 04:10
My only problem with focus is with the sigma 50mm 1.4!! When I shoot subjects that are close, everything is crisp. But when I want to shoot, let's say, a subject that is 4m away from me, it's blurry.

It really bothers me, but I can work around it. Though, I surely hope that whenever I'm buying a pro nikkor lens, I will not have these problems.....

On the matter it self, I also use single focus points. This comes from me being accustomed to the D60's 3 point af. For sports I use the dynamic af and I have to say that it also works great.
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0 # Gregory Cazillo 2011-09-22 09:24
does it happen with other lenses?
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0 # Garak1 2011-09-22 11:14
Quoting Gregory Cazillo:
does it happen with other lenses?


Other than the 50, I have a sigma 8-16mm & sigma 70-200.

The wideangle is great! No bad words about this lens. I even used it at a concert and it worked like a charm. (many people say the 8-16mm is to0000 slow)

The 70-200 is never super sharp(imo). Maybe that's the characteristics of this lens. It does not show the same problems as the sigma 50mm.

I am thinking of buying nikkor lenses in the future. Do you think the IQ and AF of nikkor lenses will blow my mind??
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0 # Gregory Cazillo 2011-09-22 15:41
Try a friends camera with each lens, see if that helps.
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0 # Gregory Cazillo 2011-09-22 16:02
Oh and wideangles will always be sharper. You have to get really close to have a shallow DOF.
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0 # Houston Pittman 2011-09-22 21:16
Greg, Thanks so much for the info on Autofocus this has really help me!! :-)
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+1 # Leo Hoang 2011-09-23 09:42
Greg, just wanted to say thanks for the videos. As always, you explain things well.

My one critique with the videos though, is that maybe you should have more visual things to demonstrate it.

Like if you were to show a picture focused correctly, then show one when it's been focused and recomposed. Then point out the differences within the image and show us how you shoot them.
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0 # Gregory Cazillo 2011-09-23 10:15
Its all coming, stay tuned.
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0 # Peter Morgan 2011-09-23 19:58
Sound advice. Clearly explained.
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0 # Curtis 2011-09-30 01:10
Do you use back button AF? I have heard that once you try it you'll never go back?
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0 # Gregory Cazillo 2011-09-30 07:52
No, I never use the back button af, shutter button works fine for me.
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0 # Parminder 2011-09-30 03:20
Hi,
I have a nikon D5000 and sigma 70-200. I have problems in getting focus in group shots. One subject is good. but when there are more than two i have problems in focus.
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0 # Gregory Cazillo 2011-09-30 07:53
Use the 1/3 2/3 rule of focus and a smaller aperture like 5.6 or even f8 if you have to.
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-1 # Katherine 2011-09-30 14:13
Very timely info for me. I've been shooting a lot of sports and have great composition and exposure, but too many of my shots are just a little blurry - it's driving me nuts. I'm trying not to extend to the far end of my 70 - 200, 2.8 and I'm holding my camera the RIGHT way, thanks to you bugging' me. I'm also making sure I'm steadied against a fence. Given the above video, I'm trying to clarify here. I should be shooting in spot metering (versus matrix or center weighted) and 3D continuous focus? Any other hints to freeze athletes in motion? In what range should my shutter speed be?
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+1 # Gregory Cazillo 2011-09-30 15:47
Metering really doesn't have any thing to do with this video or focus. However I suggest using a single point of focus (as the video explains) and matrix/evaluati ve metering 95% of the time. The other 5 you might need to switch to center weighted but very, very rarely spot metering. I personally prefer to stick with matrix and then adjust exposure after checking my histogram.

As I explained to someone the other day, try shooting in manual exposure. Set your shutter around 1/200th or higher, wide open aperture then set the ISO to match the lighting. Shoot a few, checking your histogram once in a while to be sure its ok. Also watch the brightness of the scene, if the light changes your exposure should too. Keep your shutter/apertur e the same, only adjusting your ISO.
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-1 # Katherine 2011-09-30 20:09
Right. I get the difference now. For something like soccer or baseball should I be on AF-A or AF-C?
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0 # Gregory Cazillo 2011-10-07 09:57
It really depends what you are shooting. If the subject is moving, yes. Otherwise using single AF is fine.
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0 # Winston 2012-03-28 13:05
Could you tell me which would be the best point to set my 9,21,51 for shooting weddings
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0 # Gregory Cazillo 2012-03-28 13:09
I use all 51 on both of my cameras. I don't know why someone wouldn't take advantage of all points...
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0 # Bruce Folster 2012-04-15 15:31
I have a d300s ..which mode is best for group shots,the continous,singl e,or manual? I have a 70-200mm 2.8 and what is 1/3-2/3 rule focus?
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0 # Gregory Cazillo 2012-04-17 13:37
Single...I thought I explained that in this video and also this one... cazillo.com/.../...
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0 # Rex Hall 2012-04-22 18:47
Thanks Greg for the training vids. I'm a beginning photographer enjoying the journey, with increased hope of someday cracking out some nice work.
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0 # Carole Brocher 2012-06-25 22:40
Are you saying spot metering is what you use most?
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0 # Gregory Cazillo 2012-06-26 10:07
Nope, the least.
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0 # Furqan 2012-07-23 12:30
I use single point focus myself, its call flexible point focus on my sony Nex camera, and if things get complex I use manual focus to see what I want focus.

Thanks for the tips. I was confused about focusing and recomposing because I tried that and I was not getting sharp images.
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0 # Furqan 2012-07-23 12:38
Another question about focus, where should I put focus point if I am shooting a couple holding their new born?
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0 # Gregory Cazillo 2012-07-23 14:21
Use the 1/3 2/3 rule of focus...
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0 # Winston Matis 2012-11-12 15:24
How do you focus on subject that are not stationery. I do weddings and find it very hard to get sharp focus on moving subjects.
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0 # Gregory Cazillo 2012-11-12 15:28
Use continuous mode and a single point. Weddings shouldn't be that hard, sports are harder to shoot and keep focus in the right place.
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0 # Julie Anne Moore 2013-04-11 21:11
I am having a hard time focusing on dogs when they are moving straight at the camera. I am shooting them with a single focus point on their head, in continuous mode. The photo looks okay on the camera; however, when I upload to the computer it is clear that the dog ran out of the focus, as the focus is on the dog's back or shoulders.

e.g. www.flickr.com/.../8640884193 the focus is clearly on the dogs shoulders.
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