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How to Set up Back Button Focus on Canon r5

This blog post explains how to set up back button focus on the Canon R5, a technique that improves autofocus control and precision. It highlights the benefits such as easier focus locking, simpler autofocus override, better timing for critical shots, and reduced focus errors with moving subjects, accompanied by a YouTube video guide.

Welcome back!! We’ll be diving into one of the most frequently asked questions we receive from our mentor students: how to set up back button focus on the Canon R5. If you’ve ever struggled with keeping your subjects in sharp focus, especially during movement-heavy shoots, back button focus might just be the game-changer you need. This blog post accompanies our detailed YouTube video on the same topic, so feel free to watch the video for a visual guide.

Understanding Back Button Focus

Back button focus is a technique that changes the way autofocus is activated on your camera. By default, pressing the shutter button halfway initiates autofocus, and pressing it fully captures the photo. With back button focus, you reassign the autofocus function to a separate button on the back of your camera. This separation allows for greater control and precision, especially in dynamic shooting environments.

Why Use Back Button Focus?

1. Easier Focus Locking

Back button focus makes it simpler to lock focus on a stationary subject. You can press the back button to focus, release it to lock that focus, and then reframe your shot without worrying about losing focus. This is particularly useful for creative compositions where you want to ensure that your focal point remains sharp while adjusting your framing.

2. Simpler Autofocus Override

When shooting macro or detailed shots, back button focus allows you to manually adjust focus without having to switch to manual focus mode. You can easily tweak the focus by moving slightly closer or farther away, or by adjusting the lens, all while keeping your composition intact.

3. Better Timing for Critical Shots

For moments where timing is crucial—like capturing a fleeting expression or an important event—back button focus lets you prepare your shot without holding the shutter button halfway. This reduces the risk of missing the moment due to finger fatigue or timing errors.

4. Reduced Focus Errors with Moving Subjects

Back button focus is particularly beneficial for tracking moving subjects. By continuously holding the back button, the camera maintains focus on your subject without interruption, even if you release the shutter button to take a break or reposition.

How to Set Up Back Button Focus on the Canon R5

Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up back button focus on your Canon R5:

  1. Access the Menu:
    • Turn on your Canon R5 and press the MENU button.
  2. Navigate to Custom Functions:
    • Scroll over to the orange section labeled Custom Functions.
  3. Customize Buttons:
    • Select Customize Buttons from the list. This is where you’ll reassign your camera’s buttons.
  4. Adjust Shutter Button Settings:
    • Find the Shutter button setting and change it from Metering and AF start to Metering start. This disables autofocus activation with the shutter button.
  5. Set Up AF-ON Button:
    • Scroll down to the AF-ON button option. Ensure this is set to Metering and AF start. This reassigns autofocus activation to the AF-ON button on the back of your camera.


By following these steps, you’ll enable back button focus on your Canon R5, giving you more control and flexibility during your shoots. Whether you’re capturing fast-moving subjects or meticulously composing a still life, back button focus can help you achieve sharper, more precise photos.

We hope this guide helps you make the most out of your Canon R5. If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to drop a comment below. Don’t forget to check out our YouTube video for a hands-on demonstration of these steps in action. Happy shooting!

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