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Questions on Back Button Focusing Technique

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Hello gang,


So I am starting become more and more familiar with the X-Pro1, which admittedly hasn't been too difficult since the X-Pro1 feels like a larger X100s. 


As I dive more into, I found a few blogs that discussed the benefits of back button focusing. So I thought I'd give a try:



1. Switch to Manual Focus

2. Press AF-L button to focus lens

3. Take pic



So pretty easy, and pardon me for my newbiness, but am I doing this correctly? I still can't quite differentiate if there's a real boost in accuracy, but do see a boost in efficiency from the first shot to subsequent shots. My limited experience so far has shown that back button focus locks focus rather quickly for a second third fourth etc image of the same subject using the same focus point. With regular auto focus, the lens will shift back and forth to refocus even though the all the shots are of the same subject with the same focus point. So it feels like a mini burst mode with back button focus. 


Thanks for sharing your experiences to eager fledglings like myself!






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Yes, that is the routine. It is great for using zone-focus when you are shooting street or action. Given enough light, stop the lens down to get a reasonable depth of field, use the button to focus on some object in the middle of the zone and then go ahead and shoot. The advantage is that there is no lag while the lens is focusing.


When the f/2.4 60mm came on the market, many people in forums declared it was only useful for static subject matter. Any subject movement at all and it was a complete failure. I expect a lot of people actually believed this and passed up a superb optic. They were too inexperienced to realize that a macro lens has a vast focusing range and a bit more anticipation is needed while it seeks focus. However, it also works great with zone focusing. 


A couple of years ago, I found myself as a houseguest in a far northern town. The son of the family played hockey in a Peewee league (10-11-year-olds), and we all trooped down to the local skating rink to watch him play. Upon arriving, I focused on the goal and did a test shot at f/2.4. The boards opposite my position were somewhat out of focus. Another test at f/4.0 and they were sharp. The foreground was sharp up to the point the players over-ran the frame. The OVF showed a considerable area outside the frame, which made the X-Pro1 remarkably good for covering the sport. One could instantly shift the frame to cover developing action just outside. 


The results were superb. The contrast was low, so I was able to underexpose by a stop, giving me a shutter speed of 1/1000th without any loss of shadow detail. Thus set, I was able to ignore camera operation and nail peak of action after peak of action. Not one single frame was culled because of softness. See:



The same technique works equally well when shooting candid on the street or when pursuing a ballistic toddler. An added bonus is  that most lenses are at their peak of sharpness between f/4.0 and f/8.0. While f/11 may show a bit of fall-off due to diffraction in the optical lab, it will not be noticed in real-world photography.

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Thank you very much Larry for the thorough explanation and also great examples!! This is exactly why I signed up, so that I can learn as much from veterans like yourself! I agree, many times I don't fault the X-Pro1 but rather know that I have quite a bit of learning beyond the basics of exposure. I'll definitely give back button focusing a go on some moving objects soon. Thanks again Larry!! 

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