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Auto-Focus System Question

dbrunodbruno Member
Hi - I have a Canon 6D, and it has performed very well for me and what I do, which is 95% Events, mainly Corporate. When I photograph something, my "technique" is to use the center point, hold the shutter button halfway to lock focus, and the re-compose if necessary, and shoot. It doesn't matter to me if the camera I'm holding has a miraculous, multi-cross-point AF system or not. This is the way I do things.

I just saw that Canon is releasing the 6D Mark II, and in the 20 seconds I had to read about it, it looks like the main improvement is a major upgrade to the auto-focus system (45 points, all cross type). This leads me to my question:

I can't think of any situations where, in the kinda-fast moving and changing situations I find myself in during an event, I would ever make use of a focus point other than the center one.

I would like to get some comments from people who make use of the "other" focus points, what the situation would be, what type or kind of photo you are going for, etc.

I am not a portrait photographer, and am just getting into business headshots. With this, I still can' envision a situation where I would be using a focus point other than the center.

Thanks - Dave


  • Dave,

    I always had a bad case of G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome). I always wanted to have the latest and greatest. I have learned little in the time I have been a photographer. LOL! I can tell you that most of todays cameras are fully capable of what you need to do including the one you have. I am sure that the 6DII will have better focusing capability in lower light and it has better low light capability in terms of image quality. Plus a few other bells and whistles. It is a business decision at this point. Will it make you more money? Will it offset your taxes? But hey I am guilty of buying gear without it making me more money. The cross sensor is helpful with action and if you don't want to recompose your portraits etc...I use the single point and recompose myself so that is really irrelevant to me but comforting to know I have it. Not sure how many camera bodies you have but I keep 3 with me and when something new comes along, I sell the oldest and rotate the new in. I usually wait for a while, just in case any problems arrive with people testing them in the first batch. Hope that helps!

  • dbrunodbruno Member
    Thanks, Jay. I'm perfectly happy with my 6D. I'm doing this part-time, but things have been busier than I've hoped for (3-4 jobs per month so far). Other than little purchases, I'm good right now. I have four lenses (50 mm 1.4, 24-70 mm 2.8, 24-105 mm 4.0, 70-200 mm 2.8), and my spare for jobs is a Canon 600D (which I started and made money with).

    I would much rather pad my vacation savings than purchase more unnecessary (to me) stuff.

    Anyway, this really wasn't a question about "should I buy?". It was more about using a focus point other than the center one, and what are the situations. From something I just read, if you are able to group some of the points together, it helps with moving subjects and AI servo. But that's really all I can get so far.

  • Dave,
    When you are far from subject, often safe to use centre point and recompose.
    Close up, ie portraits or headshots and such like, I try to get a focus point where I want it. More critical as F no. goes from 4 towards 2 etc.
    My Nikons have a joypad on the back which makes it easy to alter focus points, and quick.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Exactly as Braveheart says: With telephoto shots, the plane of focus doesn't shift much if you Focus & Recompose. But with wide-angle lenses (at a wider aperture), you will find that your off-center subject might be out of focus ... since the plane that you focused on, is still parallel to the camera ... but your subject is now at a different distance than what you focused. 

    If this doesn't make sense, look at the diagram that Hogan posted here: 
  • Earlier I also used to focus on the center point. Now I have been trying to focus on various objects and take portrait pictures. I wonder how people can take such beautiful shots. I am still struggling to get the best picture. First time I tried focusing on different points while the baby photoshoot. It was an amazing experience. Now I am thinking to buy a DX Portrait lens. But I am confused. It will be a great help if anyont
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