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Guide to New Features on the EOS M5 #1: Touch AF

Canon’s latest new mirrorless camera, the EOS M5, is packed full of new features designed for convenient and fast-free shooting of high quality images. In this part, we take you through how to use the new Touch AF function. (Reported by: Kazuo Nakahara)


Select and move AF points with your fingertips, even during EVF shooting

When it comes to control and operations on the EOS M5, Touch AF is possibly the biggest enhancement. In fact, it probably would not be an understatement to call it a game-changing feature.

In photography, one of the most important camera operations is the establishment of focus on the subject. You can fix composition and exposure that are a little off when you post-process the RAW image, but you can’t fix an off-focus image in post-processing. The Face Detection + Tracking AF mode, which automatically establishes focus, can be very useful for certain scenes, but users who want more control over the AF area will find themselves using the 1-point AF or Smooth Zone AF mode more. 

Check out this article for more about the AF functions on the EOS M5:
EOS M5 Review Part 2: Enhanced AF Function

These modes are where Touch AF comes is handy. You just need to drag your finger along the rear touchscreen monitor to change the position of the AF frame. The function is active even if you are looking through the viewfinder at the same time, which makes for an extremely intuitive experience. With options to configure the AF method, AF frame size and which area of the rear LCD monitor to use as your AF frame, there is plenty of room for customisation to suit your shooting style. Wonderful for photographing moving objects, the ease of use also makes it suitable for those scenes that require full concentration on shutter release timing. 

EOS M5/ EF-M55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 164mm (262mm equivalent)/ Shutter-priority AE (f/6.3, 1/1,250 sec, EV+0.3)/ ISO 6400/ WB: Auto
I tapped the point where I wanted to establish focus, and focus was established. It was quite a pleasant experience to be able to capture a shot of this swimming duck so intuitively.


Selecting the position method and active touch area

There are two position methods available: “Absolute”, where the AF frame moves to the position you touch or where you drag it to on the screen, and “Relative”, where the frame moves relative to the direction and distance you drag. You can also restrict the area of the screen available for touch and drag operations, with 7 different area options to choose from.


Position method

For Touch AF, there are 2 available position methods, “Absolute” and “Relative”.


What is the “Absolute” method?

In this method, just touch the spot where you want the camera to focus. The AF frame will move there.


What is the “Relative” method?

In this method, no matter where you touch the screen, the AF frame will move in the direction you drag, by an amount corresponding to the amount you drag.


Active touch area

This determines the area of the rear LCD monitor that will be used for Touch and Drag operations. The screenshot shows 6 options, but ithere are a total of 7 to choose from: “Whole panel”, “Right”, “Left”, “Top right”, “Btm. right”, “Top left” and “Btm. left”.


There are 7 “Active touch area” options. 1. Whole panel, 2. Right, 3. Left, 4. Top right, 5. Btm. right, 6. Top left, 7. Btm. left


Common “Position method” + “Active touch area” setting combinations


1. To establish focus on a small subject

If the subject is non-moving, using the “Absolute” position method would be easier and give you more intuitive control. If shooting in the landscape orientation, use the top right or any other area with the same aspect ratio as the image area. If you were to choose “Left” or “Right”, the active touch area would be longer in height than width, different from that of the landscape image, which may lead to less intuitive operation.

EOS M5/ EF-M18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 150mm (240mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/6.3, 1/250 sec, EV+1.3)/ ISO 1250/ WB: Auto


Position method: Absolute
Active touch area: Top right



2. When tracking a moving subject

By setting the position method to “Relative, you will be able to move the AF frame to a position of preference regardless of where you started the gesture. The AF frame will move by the same distance you drag. Moving subjects are easier to handle if you set the active touch area to the right and drag with a finger on your right hand. The left of the rear monitor will not be responsive in this case, so you won’t have to worry about your nose touching the screen and getting in the way of touch operations as you look through the viewfinder.

EOS M5/ EF-M15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 15mm (24mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/3.5, 1/640 sec, EV+0.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto


Position method: Relative
Active touch area: Right



3. If you are a left-hander

You will be able to operate Touch AF more smoothly if you choose an active touch area on the same side as your usual viewfinder eye. If you are left-handed and try to operate the touchscreen with your right hand while looking through the viewfinder, your face and fingers might get in the way. In that case, set the active touch area to “Top left” and drag with the thumb of your left hand. Using the “Absolute” position method is also recommended.

EOS M5/ EF-M15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 45mm (72mm equivalent)/ Program AE (f/11, 1/160 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto


Position method: Absolute
Active touch area: Top left



Configuring Touch & Drag AF settings


1. On the SHOOT2 tab, select “Touch & drag AF settings” to access the setting screen.


2. Choose “Touch & drag AF”, select “Enable”, and then press the Set button.


3. From the “Pos’n method” menu, choose either “Absolute” or “Relative” and then press the Set button.


4. To choose the active touch area, select “Active touch area” on the Touch & drag AF settings menu, choose the area that you want touch & drag functions to be active, and then press the Set button.


To quickly enable /disable Touch AF, you can press the Touch & Drag AF switching button located to the bottom left of the lens mount.


For more articles on the EOS M5, go to In Focus: EOS M5. It’s constantly updated so do check back regularly!

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EF-M55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM

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EF-M18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM

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EF-M15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM

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Kazuo Nakahara


Born in Hokkaido in 1982, Nakahara turned to photography after working at a chemical manufacturing company. He majored in photography at the Vantan Design Institute and is a lecturer for photography workshops and seminars, in addition to working in commercial photography. He is also a representative of the photography information website studio9.


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