Why Move the Focus Point?


Today’s Question: If shooting handheld why not simply focus on an area and keep the shutter pressed down while you move the camera. That is much quicker many times than moving the focus point.

Tim’s Quick Answer: I find it most helpful to move the focus point within the viewfinder when photographing a moving subject that I want to have positioned at a specific area of the frame.

More Detail: If you are photographing a static scene, it is of course perfectly reasonable to keep the focus point at the center of the frame. You can rotate the camera when you want to focus on an area away from the center of the frame, and then recompose the scene after establishing focus.

With a moving subject, however, you can’t easily recompose after establishing focus. Therefore, when using a single focus point with a moving subject, I recommend moving the focus point to the position in the frame where you want the subject to be positioned. This enables you to maintain autofocus on the subject as it moves, while at the same time providing a “target” for where to position the subject within the frame.

Note that today’s question was a follow-up to a recommendation I gave during a recent webinar presentation to consider using a single focus point for autofocus, and to move that point within the frame as needed. You can view the recording of the full presentation of “Top Tips for Sharper Photos” on my “Tim Grey TV” channel on YouTube here: