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Face/eye detection on the XT2


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I generally prefer to avoid the frustration. But here are a few items.

  1. Have only one face in the scene, and make it fairly big. Say, at least the size of the "standard" medium-sized AF point, preferably bigger. Head-and-shoulders portrait is ideal.
  2. I'd recommend keeping the face in the phase-detect AF point area on X-Trans III cameras like the X-T2, although that might be mere superstition.
  3. Turning Pre-AF on will help keep the face focused enough that the camera can find and track it.
  4. If you don't have Pre-AF turned on, tap the AF to get the face in focus first, so the camera can find it. Then let the face detection work.
  5. If you don't have Pre-AF turned on, remember that face/eye detection doesn't actually refocus on the face until you activate AF (half-press or AF-ON). If a detected face moves closer or farther before you activate AF, it might get out of focus enough that the camera loses track of it. In that case you'll need to tap the AF again to get it sharp enough that the camera can find it again.
  6. When a face is detected, the camera overrides both your focus and autoexposure settings. If you don't like the exposure, Exposure Compensation or manual exposure are your only recourses.
  7. Have some spare batteries at hand, because face detection can suck a lot of battery power, and adding Pre-AF makes it even worse.
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Oh, one more item:

8. If you're using AF-S, when you're ready to take the picture, press the shutter release smoothly all the way down, without stopping at half-press. That way, the instant the camera has achieved focus on the face or eye, it'll release the shutter. If you stop at half-press like people tend to do, the subject (or camera) could move, causing the locked-in focus distance to be off by the time you actually release the shutter. It's best not to use image stabilization (OIS or IBIS) with this technique, because the IS may still be stabilizing when the picture is snapped. If you must use IS, set the IS mode to "continuous" (which further drains the battery).

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