Canon 7D and the AF-ON Button

Canon 7D has so many buttons. 10 programmable buttons out of a total of 22 buttons. Quite a few of these can be used in different ways depending on the mode you are on. Now the crazy part, or more the dumb part of these buttons, some have the wrong label!

I have been struggling with AF-ON button. The concept is good, I'm trying to train my fingers to do the right yoga position, but that wasn't working. The evil spirit was taking over the focus of my Canon 7D.

The Canon 7D AF-ON button

The Canon 7D AF-ON button

Canon says that you can set the focus with the AF-ON. I press the AF-ON button, then take the photo and guess what? It's out of focus! I did the micro-adjustments for the lenses. I made sure that it was in focus. Single focus point centered, recompose and it's out of focus. Do I have a crappy 7D? Am I an incompetent operator? So what's wrong? Must be the evil focus spirit that so many people complained about in November 2009.

After searching, asking questions, re-reading the lousy manual, I found the problem: Canon labeled the AF-ON wrong! The AF-ON button is NOT an AF-ON button! The AF-ON button is a ½ press of the shutter operation. This means that it will focus, and will also enable the IS according the rule of the lens. But when I was taking the photo with the shutter, I was over-ridding all the work I did by pressing the shutter. I had to remove the focus from the shutter. This would have not been a problem if Canon had named the button ½ half press or something similar.

  • If you want to use the AF-ON button, you should disable the focus from the ½ press with the C.Fn IV-1 Operation/Others, and setting the shutter button to do the metering and take the photo. As a default, the shutter is doing both the metering and the focus.
  • Canon has a page that explains the benefits of moving the focus to AF-ON button, it also explains how to remove the focus from the shutter button, but it doesn't mention the problem of having both on at the same time, see: AF-ON button. The link works as of 7-Jan-2010, but Canon is in the process of redesigning their website to break long pages so…