Top Deck: Autofocus


Canon® EOS 80D Fast Start


Lesson Info

Top Deck: Autofocus

All right, next up is our focusing mode, and this is a little bit different than other Canon cameras, it's different than the Rebels and it's different than the 7D series or the 5D series, and so there is a bit of redundancy on the way some of these buttons work in here. And so this is a little bit different. In this case it does switch between the four different focusing modes of the camera. Now there is a similar button on the back of the camera, which kind of activates the system and then you can make changes with the front. And let me see if I can show you just a little something here, a live demo here, and so one of the things you'll notice is the back screen on my camera is showing me this information, and although I haven't talked about this before, if you're not getting this it's because I've pressed the info button on my camera. And so, we'll talk more about this button, but pressing the info button never hurts anything. And so I just press it here 'til I get to this screen so...

that you can see what I'm doing. And so I would press this thumb button in the back of the camera, and that would activate the focusing system, and then I can press the top button to choose between the four different modes. But the thing is is that I can just simply press the top button without pressing the back button. The back button is a little bit unnecessary, and Canon doesn't need to use that at all for changing the focusing points, but they use it there because it's used on all the other cameras, so they've kinda carried it forward. This button is also used for other things that we'll see going forward. So realize that if you do want to change from any of the four points, we can just simply press the button on the top of the camera, and we don't need to go in and press on the back. However, if we do want to press the button on the back, we can activate it there, and go in and make further controls on the camera, so there are kind of two different doors into this system on the camera. So, going back to the keynote, let's take a look at some of the focusing options on this camera. So you're gonna select your focusing point. You can turn it on on back or you can just go up front and press that one and skip mode one, or step one on this. In many cases you don't need to do that. And if you have a point or a small group of points, you'll be able to move them around using the four-way controller in the back, or the dial on the top, or the dial on the back, so there's a lot of different ways of moving them around. So, we have one point, which we can move to any of the different 45 points in the frame here. And so we can use any one of those, and this is what I use for most of my photography because I'm usually pretty particular about what exactly I want the camera to focus on. Next up is Zone AF, which is a group of nine boxes that can be moved around to, I think nine different areas within the frame, and this is my favorite mode for shooting action photography, so if I'm gonna shoot sports or wildlife, especially sports, this is the one I would use for most sports. There is a new one that has not been seen before on this level camera, is the large autofocus, and this is very generally the left, the middle, or the right region. And so if you have something that you just need a little bit bigger box because they're moving a little bit more erratically, then you could use the large zone. I prefer the zone over the large zone simply because it's a little bit more targeted, and if you're shooting a sport like soccer or basketball, where players are crossing in front and you have referees running all around and getting mixed up, you want to really keep your focusing points on the subject that you're trying to focus on. For larger animals, maybe a bird in flight, the large zone would work pretty well, or potentially if there's no obstructions, nothing coming between you and your subject, the all 45-point option, where it's just looking at all 45 points. Now, remember whether you're choosing zone, large zone, or 45-point AF, it's gonna be looking at how many ever focusing points you have selected, and it's gonna be choosing the ones that are closest to you, and so if you have something that's a little bit closer than something else it's always gonna be choosing what is closest to you. So let's go back to my camera. And I'm gonna go ahead and activate the focusing system, and let's go to the nine-point focusing system in this case, and if I want to move it left and right, you can see that we can just move it, use the little four-way controller, but we can also use the dials. If you would prefer to use the dials, it can flip around through all of them, and the same is true in any of the modes. Let me get back to the single point, and so top dial goes left and right, bottom dial goes up and down, or you can use the four-way pad down anywhere you want to go, and so normally I like to leave it on single point. I like to leave it in the middle because I'm usually pretty up in figuring out where I want to focus, and you'll see this all mirrored in the viewfinder. You don't need to hold the camera away from your eye in order to do this. In fact, if you're good, you don't take the camera away from your eye. You can just do this while the camera is held up to your eye. You press the button on the top. You can make your changes as to where you want to move it. All held up to eye level. All right, back to the keynote. Now some little bits of information. If you're a fan of the rule of thirds, you can choose those four focusing points on the edge of the sides to the left and the right. And so if you kind of want a rule of thirds, those line up almost perfectly with where that lies. Now the focusing system is a very good system here. We have all of the points are cross-type, f/5.6 cross-type sensors, which means they're sensitive to both vertical and horizontal lines with lenses that are 5.6 or faster, which is all of the Canon lenses. And most of them will work as f/8 type cross sensors, which means if you were to take a Canon lens that had an aperture of 5. and added a 1.4 convertor to it, let's say you take the 100 to 400, which ends up being a 5.6 at 400. You add a 1.4 convertor on it, now it's an f/8 lens. A collection of the focusing points will work, maybe not all of them, but you can still get the camera to focus quite well with that system set up. Now the middle one is a unique and kind of special focusing point. This is an f/2.8 high precision, dual cross-type point, which means it is doing a double cross. It's looking for angled lines as well, which means it's gonna be just a little bit quicker on picking up different types of contrast. It also does this with a 2.8 lens. It goes into a high precision mode, where it is more precise, and this is exactly when you need this extra precision, is when you are using a fast lens that has shallower depth of field. And so there is an advantage to using 2.8 lenses or faster on this camera. You're not gonna see a huge performance difference, but there will be a subtle little performance boost when it comes to that center focusing point. And finally, that center focusing point is good down to EV minus three, which is pretty close to full moonlight at night. It's a very, very dark situation, and this is one of the ways that they rate cameras as to how good they are under low light focusing. I remember a number of years ago, EV minus one was considered really, really good. I think there's one other camera on the market that does EV minus four, but all of this is kind of meaningless numbers as far as I'm concerned, because it really depends on the contrast of the subject that you are shooting. If you are shooting a black and white checkerboard, then yes, it's gonna probably pick up pretty quickly. But if that black and white checkerboard is middle tone gray and dark gray, it's probably not gonna pick up on that contrast nearly as well, and so it is very good under low light, but you still need to get those focusing points on something that has decent contrast. Now there are a lot of controls for customizing the autofocus system, and they have really brought down, you might say, some very sophisticated controls that was just a few years ago, only on their top of the line professional camera, worked its way down to the 7D Mark II and the 5D Mark III, and has now worked its way into this camera. So if you are using this for sports photography, and you're not getting the hit rate of in focus pictures that you would normally expect, you can go in, if you have some sort of consistent issue that you're dealing with, you can go in and tweak a lot of those autofocus things when we get into the menu section in the custom functions. So that's how we change our focusing system. Once again, the back button is pretty much unnecessary. It's kind of an optional button you can press if you prefer to use that entry point into changing the focusing points, but I think for a lot of the time I would just be going for the one on the front dial for quickly changing the different modes.

Class Description

We know what it’s like to dive right into taking pictures with your new camera. But dense technical manuals make for a terrible first date. Get the most out of your new Canon EOS 80D with this complete step-by-step walkthrough of the camera’s features.

Join expert photographer John Greengo for a fast-track introduction, and unlock your camera’s full potential. In this fast start class, you’ll learn:

  • How to use and customize the menus
  • How to understand and use the autofocus system for great photos
  • How to incorporate video into your shooting using the 80D’s advanced video capabilities.
John is a CreativeLive veteran instructor and an experienced photographer. He has extensive experience teaching the technical minutiae that makes any camera an effective tool: aperture, ISO, the Rule of Thirds, and the kinds of lenses you’ll need to suit your camera body. This fast start includes a complete breakdown of your camera’s exposure, focus, metering, video and more. John will also explain how to customize the Canon EOS 80D’s settings to work for your style of photography.