Choose the best AF mode for your digital camera

What is the best AF mode: Single Servo

Are you determined to make more of your DSLR, but remain baffled by some of the options? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. And we’re here to help.

One of the most common queries we hear from photographers is, ‘What AF mode should I use?’ While there’s always nuance to a question like this depending on what you want your picture to look like, there are some general rules to follow when starting out (see The right way to set up your camera).

The two basic AF modes are Single and Continuous, often also referred to as One-shot and Servo. In most cases, the Single AF mode works best because autofocus locks onto its target when you apply a light press to the shutter release button and remains fixed while you maintain the light press, until fully pressing the button to take your shot.

Continuous AF mode is better for moving targets, such as kids running around, because focus continually tracks subjects. Below we’ve provided four common subjects and suggest the optimal AF mode to use in each situation so hopefully the next time you find yourself shooting one of these subjects you will be prepared to work quickly.

What is the best AF mode? See below…


What is the best AF mode: portraitsWhat is the best AF mode: single point

Portrait perfection
For portraits, use the Single or One-shot 
AF mode and switch to a single AF point, which you should line up with a subject’s eye.

What is the best AF mode: moving targetsWhat is the best AF mode: Continuous Servo

Moving targets
In Continuous or Servo modes, autofocus will keep tracking moving targets, even while the mirror is flipping up, until the shutter opens.

What is the best AF mode: sporting actionWhat is the best AF mode: Single Servo

Sporting action
Continuous AF might not keep up with speedy targets, so switch to Single AF and pre-focus on a place the target is moving to.

What is the best AF mode: AF pointsWhat is the best AF mode: dynamic area

AF points
Single-point AF usually gives greatest precision, but multi-point AF (Dynamic area) 
is good for tracking erratically moving targets.



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