Syd: Checking your focus point

I reckon more than half of the questions about sports photography is about focusing. “How do I get the action in focus?” is the catch cry of all sports photographers. Well, here’s some good news. Both Nikon and Canon have features in the software that comes with the camera that can help you review your images. The most enlightening thing you can do with your photos is to look at them using Nikon’s ViewNX or ViewNX2 and Canon’s Zoombrowser or Digital Photo Pro with the Show AF Points turned on. Here’s what you will see:
Nikon ViewNX showing focus point used by camera

This shows two things: 1. which focus point was used, and 2. the camera software believes that it got focus lock. The second point is the most important because if you have an image where there isn’t a red box shown, this means that the camera didn’t achieve focus lock so your image will not be sharp. If it is, then it was good luck rather than skill!

So, go back to the images you took in “How to Focus” part 1 and part 2 and have a look where the focus point is. Did you get lock on where you had thought?

This feature obviously works only if you’re using Autofocus but there are some focusing modes where the point won’t show. For Nikon, AF Area in AF-C using 9, 21 and 51 for example. But 51 3D does. I’m not exactly sure what the modes are for a Canon, perhaps one of our readers can post this in a comment.

So give this “free” software a go and see if it helps your focusing percentage!
Happy shooting.


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Big Lens Fast Shutter is funded solely from the pockets of Ryu Voelkel and Matt Cohen. If you think the information we give you about sports photography is making you a better sports photographer and as a result a well balanced human being, please show us your appreciation by supporting us on Patreon and send some of your hard earned dollars/euros/Brixton pounds our way. People who donate will be mentioned on our next show unless you want to remain anonymous. Thank you for supporting us and may the force of sports photography be with you, always.

2 thoughts on “Syd: Checking your focus point

  1. I think this is wrong “but there are some focusing modes where the point won’t show. For Nikon, AF Area in AF-C using 9, 21 and 51 for example” my nikon d300 does show AF-C 21 pt focs points in View NX

    1. Hi Nigel, you’re not in AF Area mode. AF-C 21 pt is different to AF Area, set your lever to the big black square. Syd

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