2 Great Autofocus Combinations for Your Canon EOS Rebel T3/1100D

By Julie Adair King, Robert Correll

On your Canon EOS Rebel T3 1100D, you’ll get the best autofocus (AF) results if you pair your chosen AF mode with the most appropriate AF Point Selection mode, because the two settings work in tandem.

The fastest way to access the AF mode setting is to press the cross key on the right.
The fastest way to access the AF mode setting is to press the cross key on the right.

Here are two combinations for you to try when you want maximum autofocus control:

  • For still subjects, One Shot and Manual AF Point Selection. When you select a specific focus point and press the shutter button halfway, the camera locks focus on that point. Focus remains locked on your subject even if you reframe the shot after you press the button halfway.

  • For moving subjects, AI Servo and Automatic AF Point Selection. You begin by framing your subject so that it’s under the center focus point — remember, when you combine AI (artificial intelligence) Servo with Automatic AF Point Selection, the camera chooses the center focus point to establish the initial focusing distance when you press the shutter button halfway. But the camera adjusts focus as needed if your subject moves within the frame before you take the shot. All you need to do is reframe as needed to keep your subject within the boundaries of the focus points.

Keeping these two combos in mind should greatly improve your autofocusing accuracy. But don’t forget that in some situations, no combination will enable speedy or correct autofocusing. For example, if you try to focus on a very reflective subject, the camera may hunt and hunt for a focus point forever. And if you try to focus on a subject behind a fence, the autofocus system may continually insist on focusing on the fence instead of your subject. In such scenarios, don’t waste time monkeying with the autofocus settings — just switch to manual focusing and twist the focusing ring on the lens to focus.

Turning the focus ring while holding the camera and operating other controls while looking through the viewfinder takes practice if you want to get any good at it. The physical aspect of manually focusing can feel unnatural at first, and can take a bit of getting used to if you’ve always relied on autofocus.