Auto Focus Method Explained

The new mirrorless cameras give us so many options. I’m using the Canon R5 but the following will apply to Nikon, Sony, Olympus, and Fuji. The key is to experiment and learn from your mistakes and triumphs.

I used 1-point AF on my DSLR cameras most of the time. I’d move that one point around the screen with lightening speed — a skill I developed over many years of practice.

1-point AF has its place in our photography toolkit.

After working with the R5 for four months, I’ve found that the 1-point AF has its place.

Eye tracking is amazing. We’ve had this technology on cheap point-and-shoot cameras for years and even on cellphone cameras. The engineers at Canon have really hit a homerun with Animal Eye tracking. I hear Olympus has done well in this arena, too.

Use your Menu setting to tell the camera to look for human eyes or animals eyes, by the way. Canon puts this in the pink menus.

The Animal Eye AF will get confused, though. The camera kept trying to focus on the berries versus the bird.

Large Zone AF: Horizontal has been great for flying birds.

Large Zone AF helped me stay with this immature bald eagle as it lifted off out of the marsh.

I’ve worked with Canon R5 for several months under a variety of different situations. I’m changing Focus Methods now depending on the circumstances. My old skill at moving one focus point around on my DSLR has now morphed into changing my Focus Method.

  1. Approaching a bird with a defined eye in clutter — switch to Animal Eye AF
  2. Approaching a duck that’s about to take off — switch to Large Zone AF
  3. Trying to photograph a small bird in the brush — switch to 1-point AF
  4. Flying hawk overhead — switch to a small cluster

These focus options give us lots more tools in the toolbox. Take some time to practice and develop your skills.

Questions? Feel free to post below. Thanks for reading.