Friday, February 18, 2011

Back Button Focus Using a Nikon D90 and my Cutie Pie Little Girl and her Dog

My daughter reading books on the floor and the dog taking a little snooze.

Jamie Solorio Photography is now live, take a peak for my latest work.

So, today I got an email from Clickin Moms about a class they were offering called RYC 101 : The Basics for members only.  Anyhow, I was reading through what the class taught you and was familiar with most everything.  However, I hadn't heard of "back button focus" in the past.  Oh goodie!  Something new for me to spend some time on researching.  Well, come to find out I already did know about back button focus, but now will make more of an effort to use it.  The reason I want to utilize this little button is to save me from the hassle of having to refocus when I am composing a photograph, when not changing the distance between me and my subject.

This is how I plan on utilizing my "Back Button Focus" which is not how Nikon refers to this handy dandy little button located on the back of my camera.  The reason for this is Canon has the patent on "Back Button Focus", so Nikon, as far as I understand, has the "AE-L/AF-L" button.  On my Nikon D90 this button is located to the right of the view finder.  Since I only shoot in manual mode I will not need the "AE-L" portion of this button, which is the Exposure Lock button.  I will be playing with the "AF-L" button, the Focus Lock.

To begin, I like to shoot in Auto-Focus mode Single Point.  This way I have the control, and my camera isn't searching around finding what it thinks is important to focus on.  With that said and knowing that I meter for light myself in manual mode, this "Back Button Focus" is really going to be great.  When I compose a portrait, I first meter my light by holding down the shutter half way and then adjusting my exposure.  Next, I focus on the subjects eye and now I can either depress the shutter all the way down and take my picture OR hold it half way down to focus on the eye, and hold down the "AF-F" button to lock focus.  I still can take the original picture by pressing the shutter all the way down, and as long as I hold the "AF-L" button I can now reposition my camera and take a different picture without having to refocus.  This will only work if I do not change the distance between me and the subject, in that case I would have to refocus again by pushing the shutter half way down.

The only thing is getting my fingers to get used to finding the "AE-L/AF-L" button automatically.  Practice. Practice. practice.


  1. Interesting. Of course, I immediately looked this up online as well - for my Nikon D70s. I think I've figured it out.
    Thank you! I would love to take Rock Your Camera 101, but just can't afford it.

    Have a super weekend!

  2. I agree, those classes are spendy...but it is nice that they give a break down on what they will discuss in class. I take those topics and then research them myself...for free. :) Hope you have a nice weekend too! :)

  3. Hey Jamie...thanks for joining me on my blog! I popped over here and had to laugh bc I have been planning on converting over to back button focusing. I had a friend show me how (I'm a big hands on learner) so it made it less scary. I think your little post was the poke saying, "just do it!".
    Have a great weekend,

  4. man i love clickin moms if ya know what i'm sayin heh heh click click

  5. didn't know you were a CM too :) I BBF too and found it really helped to improve my focus issues. It takes some getting used to, but is worth the effort --it'll be second nature before long! Only downfall is that it is more difficult to hand off your camera to a friend if you want to be IN a photo, I usually revert back to regular AF, then forget to put it BACK to BBF and subsequently blow the rest of my photos until I remember haha!