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[Lesson 7] Autofocusing using the Live View Function

AF points can be controlled during Live View shooting. The large LCD screen allows you to specify the point to focus more intuitively compared to viewfinder shooting. In this article, let's master the different AF modes available during Live View shooting, the way to switch between these modes, and how to move the AF point. (Reported by: Ryosuke Takahashi)

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Autofocusing during Live View Shooting

As with viewfinder shooting, you simply need to press the shutter button for focus to be established on the appropriate point during Live View shooting. If you want to set the focus manually on a specific point, some setting procedure will be required. In the following, let's master the different AF modes available during Live View shooting, the way to switch between these modes, and how to move the AF point. For camera models that come with a touch-sensitive screen, operation is intuitive as you only need to tap the part of the subject on the screen to set the focus.

[1] Switching between AF Modes

[1] Display the Quick Control menu

Press the Q button at the back of the body.

[2] Select an AF mode

To switch the AF mode to [FlexiZone - Single], use the up/down cross keys to select the "AF Mode" icon at the top right corner of the screen, followed by using the left/right cross keys to select the "FlexiZone - Single" icon.

[3] AF mode is now switched

Press the Q button to confirm the AF mode selection. The shape of the AF point changes.

[2] Moving the AF Point

[1] Move the AF point

Tap on the subject on the screen you want to set focus on to move the AF point. For cameras that do not support touch-screen operation, move the AF point using the cross keys.

[2] Set the focus

Press the shutter button down halfway. Focus is established at the position where the AF point is located.

[3] Move the position to set focus

Tap on a different subject to move the AF point and press the shutter button halfway.

[4] Focus is established

Touch shutter feature releases the shutter the moment you tap the screen

If you want more speedy AF operation, a feature you can make use of is the "touch shutter", which automatically releases the shutter immediately after focus is achieved. Simply tap the "Touch Shutter" icon located at the bottom left of the LCD screen to turn on or turn off the feature. This feature comes in handy too when you have difficulty pressing the shutter button, such as while taking a high-angle or low-angle shot.

Types of AF Modes during Live View Shooting

There are four types of AF modes available during Live View shooting. "Face + Tracking" automatically detects and tracks a human face, "FlexiZone - Single" allows the focus to be set manually on a single point, "FlexiZone - Multi" captures the subject using nine different zones, while "Quick Mode" employs nine AF points in a way similar to viewfinder shooting. Next, let's take a look at the differences between each of them.

Face + Tracking

In this AF mode, the camera automatically detects and sets focus on the face in the image. The AF point is also capable of tracking movements of the face. If there is more than one person in the image, you can select where to set the focus by tapping on the corresponding person. Besides the face, you can also tap on a different object in the image to enable focus tracking on that object.

FlexiZone - Multi

Touching the LCD screen allows you to select one of the nine zones, thereby capturing the subject located inside that zone. During automatic selection, the camera is preset to select a zone close to the centre, and focus is established with priority given to the subject that is closest to the camera.

FlexiZone - Single

This is the most basic AF mode among the four types. You can tap a point on the screen to select the position to focus. Tapping the subject you want to set focus on immediately sets the focusing point there. Precise focusing can be performed even when the subject is located near the edge of the image.

Quick Mode

This AF mode, which employs a phase-difference sensor, establishes focus with nine AF points, a way that is similar to viewfinder shooting. Tapping a point on the screen allows you to select an AF point directly.

Ryosuke Takahashi

Born in Aichi in 1960, Takahashi started his freelance career in 1987 after working with an advertising photo studio and a publishing house. Photographing for major magazines, he has travelled to many parts of the world from his bases in Japan and China. Takahashi is a member of the Japan Professional Photographers Society (JPS).