< Back to Community


Understanding the Focus Modes

You can take an amazing shot but if it’s slightly out of focus it will be completely ruined. Most modern digital cameras offer a number of ways of achieving sharp photos. We're going to look at the most important focus techniques and the best settings to use.


Manual Focus (MF)

Manual focus allows you to have total control over the focus, some professional photographers only use manual because of the control. Manual is essential for macro photography because many cameras struggle to lock onto very close subjects and the lens ends up moving in and out of focus every time the shutter release button is pressed.

Single Shot Autofocus (AF-S or One Shot)

Single shot autofocus sets the camera to focus when the shutter release is pressed half-way and keeps the lens focused on the selected subject until the shot is taken as the shutter button is pressed all the way down. If you need to refocus simply lift your finger off the shutter button and then press it a second time. This focus mode is great for landscapes and portraits.

Quiet Lake

Continuous Autofocus (AF-C or AI Servo)

Continuous Autofocus focuses the lens as long as the shutter release button is half-pressed. The camera adjusts the focus distance as the subject moves, which makes this focus mode perfect for sports and wildlife photography. When using continuous AF, it's best practice to set the starting AF point manually so the camera knows what the target is before it starts to track it. You may wonder, why not just use continuous autofocus all the time. The reason we don’t use it all the time is that it’s slightly less precise than single shot and is best used for capturing fast movement shots.


Try out the different focusing methods, you might notice your photos are a little bit clearer. Happy Shooting!

—————— SIMILAR POSTS ——————


Sign up to receive ACDSee newsletters featuring photography and creative work from the ACDSee community, software and photography tips, event listings and special offers available only to subscribers.

Got a question? Or maybe you have some tips that you’re dying to share. Join out enthusiastic community where other ACDSee users get together to share, learn, discover and inspire.

Learn More >