I Got 99 Problems, But Autofocus Ain't One

As the technology inside our cameras continues to advance, understanding and controlling all its new capabilities becomes a little more complicated. Between autofocus modes, points, zones, calibration, and the material components making it all function, there’s a lot going on that can potentially make you miss your shot. In this easy to follow video, Steve Perry from Backwoods Gallery shows us eight (sorry, not 99) common autofocus problems and solutions to make them work the way they should.

The video discusses several autofocus issues you may have been able to figure out yourself at some point, but also probably a few you didn’t realize affected autofocus performance. Perry goes over lens calibration, dirty autofocus points and how to properly clean them, how to make sure you are in the right autofocus mode, the inaccuracy of in-camera autofocus guides, how heat refraction can make autofocus difficult, how to clean dirty contacts on your lens and camera, mistakes that are due to poor shooting technique rather than autofocus error, and lastly how to shoot objects that inherently cause trouble for autofocus systems. As you can see there is a lot going on here, but Perry manages to touch on them all with enough explanation and demonstration that it is easy to understand.

Are there any extra tips for autofocus perfection you want to share? Let’s hear them in the comments below.

Log in or register to post comments

7 Comments

My D750 seemed to be spot on but I did a firmware update and noticed the same lenses needed a large af fine tune adjust afterwards. Can firmware updates mess with this?

Kyle Medina's picture

Not to be a dick but why copy the exact same article from Petapixel. Fstoppers running out of ideas?

Ryan Mense's picture

That's a rude accusation, Kyle. I've subscribed to Steve's YouTube channel for a long time now and have written about his other videos on this website before. He's a great educator and his videos are worth sharing.

Dave Kavanagh's picture

Is that not like complaining that one news channel is reporting on the same news story as another news channel? Not everybody here is going to regularly check out Petapixel. I certainly don't, so if it hadn't been covered here I would have missed it. Good find Ryan.

Dave Andrade's picture

Furthermore, who the hell goes to petapixel for news? They are absolutely awful. They spread misinformation and click bait articles galore.

Anonymous's picture

If you point this out to the people at petapixel, they ban you from commenting.

Jacques Cornell's picture

FWIW, the first two issues described in the above summary don't affect mirrorless cameras. There's no need for lens calibration, and there are no AF points other than the sensor itself. Another nice benefit: AF covers almost the entire frame. Face detect finds the face behind a microphone. And, Panasonic AF works well down to -4EV. Switching to MFT for my low-light event work eliminated almost all of my AF difficulties. S-AF is so fast that I don't need C-AF. If you do need C-AF, maybe for fast sports, then a DSLR remains a better bet.