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When I get a new camera, the first setting I tweak is Focus Point Selection. Good focus is nearly impossible without this change!

The default focus setting for any camera is always completely automatic. Your camera might call this setting something like “Automatic AutoFocus Point Selection.”  This means that you have no control over what the camera focuses on. Consequently, it usually focuses on whatever is closest to your lens.

You want to be able to tell your camera where to focus, right? I’ll show you how I make that change on my own camera below. The process will be different for each camera model out there. So first, I want to help you decode your camera manual so that you can find the same setting on your camera.

We all know that camera manuals aren’t written in plain English. You might think that the opposite of Automatic AutoFocus Point Selection is manual focus. You’d be wrong! If you change your camera to manual focus, you’ll have to focus the old fashioned way, twisting the focus ring on your lens for each photo you shoot.

Rather than manual focus, what you want to look for in your camera books is Manual AutoFocus Point Selection. This means that you will tell the camera what to focus on, and then the camera will do the work of spinning the focus ring for you. On some cameras, you might need to turn off All Points from your focus menu – this setting does not focus on all points. It tells the camera to choose which of the points it thinks is the subject.

Set AutoFocus Points on Camera

Configure Your Camera for Focus Point Selection

On the Canon 6D, you change the settings to manual AF Section like this:

  • Press the Quick Control button to go to the Quick Menu.
  • Use the Multi-controller to scroll down to the AF Selection chooser and press Set.
  • Press Set again to toggle from Automatic Selection to Manual Selection.
  • Press Menu to leave this setting.

Telling your camera that you’d like to select your AF point is that easy.

When you are ready to shoot, select your AF point by pressing the AF Point Selection button, then use the Multi-controller to navigate to it.

Wait, I have to press a button and then set my focus point? Isn’t that too much to do before taking a photo of a wiggly toddler? Wouldn’t it be easier to skip the button and just select the point?

YES! These questions lead us to the second customization I make before shooting. I assigned my multi-controller to navigate directly to the focus point without having to press the button first. Since this controller doesn’t have a shooting function by default, I can’t imagine why Canon wouldn’t have assigned this function out of the box.

Regardless, this is an easy enough change to make:

    • Hit the Menu button and use the multi-controller to navigate to the Custom Functions menu.
    • Press Set, and use the multi-controller to move down to C.Fn III: Operation/Others
    • Push the multi-controller to the right until you reach menu 5. Press Set.
    • Use the multi-controller to navigate to the Multi-controller button assignment item at the lower right corner. Hit Set.
    • Move the multi-controller to the right to select “AF point direct selection.”
    • Hit Set, and then hit Menu 3 times to back out of the customization area.

After these two quick changes, I was ready to shoot with my new camera using Manual AutoFocus Point Selection. By the way, I think that the sign of a true camera junkie is someone who makes these changes and completely ignores setting the date and time before taking those first shots. At least I can admit it, right?

Manual focus point selection is the most important setting to enable if you want good focus. You won\'t get sharp photos without it.