Canon 7D Tips: Problem focusing? Customize the AF!

I have been writing about the Canon 7D for a few months now, but I never wrote about my first batch of photos.  They were awful!  The problem with the 19-Point AF system is that it will focus on the closest point with the most detail. For me, that point is rarely the right focusing point.

canon7d-afpoints0The default setting is the top Automatic AF Point Selection.  After experimenting with all of the available AF modes, I found the AF Expansion and Zone AF work best with my style.  I have used these two AF modes for all of the 7D photos on Photoframd.com

Enabling Spot AF and Expansion AF Modes

canon7d-afpoints1

The Canon 7D ships with the Spot AF and Expansion AF disabled.  To enable these modes, go to Custom Function 3, Option 6.  Move the cursor with the Multi-function Controller (joystick) to the Register button and click the Set button.  Then, move the cursor over the two dimmed settings, click the Set button on each and then Apply.

Cycling Through the AF Modes

canon7d-afpoints2It is very easy to cycle through the different AF modes.  Just Push the AF Point Section button on the back of the 7D and then push the M-Fn button near the Shutter Release button.  With every push of the M-Fn button, you will cycle through all the AF modes.

Use the Muti-function Controller (joystick) to select AF points

canon7d-afpoints4

Now this is really cool!  The Canon 7D allows you to quickly select the AF Points using the Multi-function Controller. With the Single AF Point and Spot AF, this means quickly selecting the exact AF point.  With the AF Expansion and Zone AF, this means quickly selecting the group of AF points.  But, you first need to enable this functionality.

canon7d-afpoints3

Under Custom Function IV, Option 1, and click the Set button.  Next, move the cursor to the lower right corner and click the Set button.  The Dot with all of the arrows is the symbol for the Multi-function Controller (joystick).  Click the Set button again to reveal the options.  Move the cursor over the AF Point Direct Selection and click the Set button.  Your setting will now look like the above image.

After making these setting changes to my Canon 7D, the world began to make sense again!  And, my Canon 7D started to capture some remarkable images.

NOTE:  You can read more about the AF settings in this article Canon 7D Tips: Auto-focus not working? Check your settings.

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My Full Year with the Canon 7D

Canon 7D Tips: Problem focusing? Customize the AF!

Canon 7D Tips: Auto-focus not working? Check your settings.

Canon 7D Tips – What should my first lens be?

Custom Functions and Shooting in B&W with the Canon 7D

Canon 7D Tips: Customize Settings with My Menu

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103 comments to Canon 7D Tips: Problem focusing? Customize the AF!

  • John

    Why has it taken me two years to find how to get a little box with a dot in it in my viewfinder? Your clear guidance and pictures meant that I came back from an hour’s photography this morning and only had to discard 50% of my shots instead of the usual 99% and there were even a couple that I might not have to edit. Thanks, may all your photos turn to gold.

  • Julie

    This seems to be working for me when my subject is sitting still. but if the is any movement at all, little kids or pets, my focus can’t be maintained? What am I doing wrong?

  • Try changing your AF Mode from AF One-Shot to AI Focus or AI Servo. Both AI Focus and AI Servo will attempt to adjust the autofocus when the subject (with the AF point) has moved. It will adjust the focus automatically. I usually use AI Focus.

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