If you’ve ever cursed your DSLR’s focusing system for missing a shot, don’t worry — you’re not alone. However, it’s far more likely that out-of-focus photos are the result of user error and unfamiliarity with the wide array of autofocus set-up options than the camera’s performance itself.
Focusing performance can be improved by something as simple as reading the camera manual, and, naturally, the more you use your camera, the better you’ll become at judging the type of conditions in which the autofocus will struggle.
But there are some factors that have an affect on the camera’s focusing speed and accuracy which are less obvious. Here are 6 things you probably didn’t know about focusing…
1. Autofocus performance can be improved via firmware
Ensure that your digital camera is running the latest firmware update. In addition to fixing bugs, manufacturers frequently include AF speed and performance upgrades as part of a firmware release.
Take the example of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III’s autofocus. When Canon launched the 5D Mark III, its centre AF point sensitivity was only effective with lenses that had a maximum aperture of f/5.6.
This was a concern if you intended to use a teleconverter, as the maximum effective aperture of a lens and teleconverter combination could be more than f/5.6. Add a 1.4x teleconverter to a 400mm f/5.6 lens, for example, and you effectively end up with a 560mm f/8 lens.
However, Canon followed the 5D Mark III’s release with firmware version 1.2.1, which enabled f/8 autofocus with the centre AF point, as well as improving the speed of focus acquisition with a Canon Speedlite’s AF-assist beam.
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