- Single shot autofocus, which is ideal for taking a single image of a stationary subject.
- Continuous autofocus, which is best for tracking and focusing on a moving subject.
- Hybrid autofocus, in which the camera automatically switches between single shot and continuous.
Image Credit: Onfokus via iStock
One of the biggest problems that beginner photographers encounter is images that simply are not in focus.
There are many different reasons why a photo might not be completely sharp - using a shutter speed that's too slow when shooting handheld and not using the lens's sweet spot, among them.
But there's an even more common issue that results in blurry photos, and that's using the wrong focus mode.
Your DSLR or mirrorless camera comes with a number of different focus modes, each with a slightly different purpose.
In the video above, Benjamin Jaworskyj gives a beginner's introduction to these focus modes, explains when to use them, and talks about how they can benefit your images.
Benjamin uses a Sony a6000 in the video, and while not everyone shoots with a Sony, the basic principles of the primary focus modes remains the same.
In this article, I outlined different focus modes from a more general perspective. In short, camera focus modes include:
In Benjamin's video, he demonstrates single shot autofocus (AF-S), in which you depress the shutter button halfway to focus the shot and press it all the way down to take the shot.
He also demonstrates continuous autofocus (AF-C), in which pressing the shutter button halfway allows the camera to track a moving object. Again, pressing the shutter button all the way takes the shot.
On the Sony camera used in the video, AF-A mode is the hybrid mode I mentioned above, in which the camera automatically switches between single shot and continuous autofocus. As Benjamin notes, he doesn't recommend using this hybrid mode because you as a photographer know much better if you need single shot or continuous autofocus than the camera does. That's a very fair point!
There's a couple of other modes Benjamin explains, including one that's specific to Sony, as well as a quick discussion of manual focusing.
Be sure to check out the complete video for those details, and for even more photography tutorials, visit his YouTube channel.