Back Button Focusing

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Boatman, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. A hot topic on some other forums is 'back button focusing'. All the better Canon and Nikon DSLRs have this feature, which allows pre-focusing and locking the focus with a special button on the back of the camera, reachable with your right thumb. Wish I had one of those on my GH2.

    But wait, I do! Except it is called the 'exposure lock' and and you have to go into the custom settings to turn on 'AF/AE Lock Hold' for this to work as a 'back button'. Then it does exactly the same thing as the button on the fancy DSLRs.

    Guess I'll have to try using it more and see if it is worth all the noise about it. I've always felt that half-shutter lock covered most of my needs for pre-focusing anyway.
  2. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    The primary advantage, I think, of separating the AF-Lock and AE-Lock is that you can pre-focus without locking exposure, so if lighting changes between locking AF and shooting the camera will adjust.
  3. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Real Name:
    Exactly. Plus, I just find it easier. On my Canon cameras the center focus point was the most accurate, so I always used that. Then it was just easier to set focus and change composition. Of course you can do that with a half press, but I found back button focusing easier. Once you get used to it, it becomes second nature and you don't even think about it. Then you hand your camera to someone to take a picture and you have to explain everything.
  4. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Real Name:
    It is really nice to decouple AF from AEL. While using S-AF I have it set this way, for C-AF I use the half press.
  5. uci2ci

    uci2ci Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Real Name:
    For me the biggest advantage of back focusing comes for when I shoot birds and other small animals, because once I have a sharp focus I can keep taking shots of the animal under different poses. Having the camera refocus every time leads to missed poses and worse yet missed focuses
  6. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    Real Name:
    I actually started using it with AF-C on DSLR but had been very used to it I also use it on m4/3 even when using AF-S. It's such an easy technique to use and I think it makes your keeper rate higher due to being able to control when to focus.
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    It's the only way I use AF, on DSLR or Non-Reflex.
  8. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I've been using it since Ned showed us all how to set it up a couple of years ago.
  9. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Real Name:
    I have both of my cameras set up this way - I really like the way it works.
  10. brettmaxwell

    brettmaxwell Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2012
    one major advantage to this on DSLRs (in general) is you can instantaneously switch between AF-S and AF-C (single/continuous). You have the camera set to AF-C, a quick tap effectively give you AF-S, or hold it down for AF-C. Unfortunately this advantage is moot with contrast detect AF systems that can't do AF-C well anyway.
  11. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    But they're getting better. I'm surprised at how much better the GH3 is than the GH2 at C-AF. I've only tested it a little, but so far I'd say it's not as good as my 1D Mk II was, but it's not far off my EOS 50D. Probably better than the entry-level DSLR cameras like the EOS Rebel.

    I wouldn't choose it for pro-sports work, but for someone who shoots sports occasionally, or just wants to get their kids playing soccer or baseball, it'll do fine.