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Focusing in Low Light

The T6s / T6i has a great focusing system, but occasionally the light levels might be too low for the camera to achieve an accurate focus. There are a few things that you can do to overcome this obstacle.

First, you should know that the camera uses contrast in the viewfinder to establish a point of focus. This is why your camera will not be able to focus when you point it at a white wall or a cloudless sky. It simply can’t find any contrast in the scene to work with. Knowing this, you might be able to use a single focus point in One Shot mode to find an area of contrast that is of the same distance as your subject. You can then hold that focus by holding down the shutter button halfway and recomposing your image.

Then there are those times when there just isn’t anything there for you to focus on. A perfect example of this would be a fireworks display. If you point your lens to the night sky in any automatic focus (AF) mode, it will just keep searching for—and not finding—a focus point. On these occasions, you can simply turn off the autofocus feature and manually focus the lens (Figure 8.10). Look for the AF/MF switch on the side of the lens and slide it to the MF position.

Figure 8.10

Figure 8.10 Focusing on the night sky is best done in Manual focus mode.

ISO 100 • 2 sec. • f/13 • 110mm lens

Don’t forget to put it back in AF mode at the end of your shoot.

Focus Assist

Another way to ensure good focus is to enable the T6s / T6i’s Focus Assist mode. Focus Assist uses a short burst from your pop-up flash to shine some light on the scene, which assists the autofocus system in locating more detail. This feature is automatically activated when shooting in the Basic zone (except in Landscape, Sports, and Flash Off modes for the following reasons: in Landscape mode, the subject is usually too far away; in Sports mode, the subject is probably moving; and in Flash Off mode, you’ve disabled the flash entirely). Focus Assist should be enabled by default, but you can check the menu just to make sure.

Turning on the Focus Assist feature

  1. Press the Menu button and then use the Main dial to get to the Custom Functions menu tab, highlight Custom Functions, and press the Set button (A).

  2. Use the Quick Control dial (or Cross keys) to get to the C. Fn III: Autofocus/Drive AF-Assist Beam Firing feature to see what the current setting is for this function (B).

  3. If it is not enabled, press the Set button, highlight Enable, and press the Set button.
  4. To use it when working in the Creative zone, simply press the flash button to raise the pop-up flash.
  5. With the flash in the “up” position, press the shutter button to focus and Focus Assist will activate if necessary.

If you don’t want the flash to fire during the actual exposure, you must first disable the flash.

Disabling the flash

  1. Press the Menu button and then scroll the Main dial to highlight the first shooting menu (far left).
  2. Scroll down to Flash Control and press the Set button (A).

  3. Select Flash Firing and press the Set button (B).

  4. Set the Flash Firing option to Disable (C).

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