Back Button Focus

This week I want to talk about a better way to use your AutoFocus on your camera. By default you already know that pressing your shutter button halfway down is how you get your AF lock. The problem is, if you release your shutter, your camera then needs to reacquire focus when you press the button down again. There is an easier way to get your focus and keep it and that method is called Back Button Focus. The button in this shot circled in white is the one I like to use for BBF on my EOS 6D.


Back Button Focus is when you program your camera in the menu to use a button on the back of the body to achieve focus instead of the shutter button. The advantage of this is you don’t lose your previous focus lock when you release the shutter button and then have to reacquire it again to take your next shot. Canon was the first camera builder to add BBF to their bodies back in 1989 and every camera has had it since that time.

To set up BBF on your Canon camera, go into the menu and look for “Metering Start/Meter+AF Start, which I know sounds confusing but that is the option you want. Most photographers that use BBF like myself will us the AF Lock button on the back of the camera. I switched to BBF about a year ago and I personally would not go back to using the shutter button and most pros will tell you the same.

On a Nikon it’s a bit more straight forward in the menu but varies from model to model, but you want to use the AE-L, AF-L button on the back for your BBF, yeah that button that you never use. Now that you know how to set up and use Back Button Focus, give it a try I think once you get used to it you will like it better than using the shutter button.