Canon 7D Set Your Autofocus

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Autofocus (AF) on the Canon 7D is extremely sophisticated and very easy to work with. It’s important to understand how to use all of the different autofocus modes in order to increase your chances of producing sharp, well-focused images. Here are the descriptions of each of the autofocus modes:

  • One Shot: Use this setting to focus on a subject that is not moving, like a person posing for a portrait.
  • AI Focus: Use this feature to focus on something that is not moving, and the focusing system will track the subject if it starts to move (pets or small children, for example).
  • AI Servo: Use this setting for subjects that are in motion. The focusing system will track the subject that falls in the focus area.

The best way to prompt your camera to focus is to press the shutter down halfway, just enough to activate the camera and the focusing system but not enough to actually take a photo. With the One Shot focus mode, you can set the focus point by halfpressing the shutter, and as long as you leave the shutter pressed halfway your focus point will remain the same (regardless of where you point the camera). However, halfpressing the shutter while using the AI Servo mode will tell the camera to keep searching for something to focus on and will continuously fi nd a new focus point.


The AF mode button, located above the top LCD Panel.

  1. Wake the camera (if necessary) by lightly pressing the Shutter button.
  2. Press the AF mode button, located above the LCD Panel on the top of the camera (Figure 1.9).
  3. Using the Main dial, change the focus mode to the desired setting.
  4. Lightly press the Shutter button once more to set your new focus mode.

Next you’ll decide where you want your camera to fi nd the focus in the viewfi nder. The 7D has three separate types of focus areas:

  • Single-Point AF: Choose where you want the focus to be from one of the 19 focus points within the viewfi nder. This focus mode is good for still subjects when using One Shot AF.
  • Zone AF: Choose this if you know the general area in your viewfi nder where you want to fi nd focus. This is an excellent focus mode for photographing sports or fast-moving objects in conjunction with AI Servo AF.
  • Auto select: With this option, the camera selects one of the 19 focus points for you. This feature can be very useful with the AI Servo AF mode as well.



  1. Wake the camera (if necessary) by lightly pressing the Shutter button.
  2. Press the AF Point selection button, located on the upper-right part of the back of your camera (A).
  3. While looking through the viewfi nder, press the M-Fn button (located next to the Shutter button) until you have
    selected your desired focus area (I recommend Single-Point AF so that you can control your precise focus point
    rather than letting the camera decide for you) (B).
  4. Use any of the dials on the camera to change the focus point. You can do this at any time while looking through the
    viewfi nder by pressing the AF Point selection button and moving the point with the dials.
  5. Lightly press the Shutter button once more to set your new focus area.


If you find that the autofocus system won’t find your image, it’s really easy to switch over to manual focusing. On each lens there is a switch; just change it from AF (autofocus) to MF (manual focus) and use the focus ring to adjust focus by hand (Figure 1.10). If you half-press your shutter during manual focusing, just as you would if you were auto-focusing,
and you are focusing in the same area as the autofocus point, then you will hear a beep when the camera senses the image is in focus.

You can set the focusing mode on your lens to switch from autofocus to manual focus.

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