Photo Basics: Understanding a DSLR’s AF System and How Different Autofocus Point Options Work (VIDEO)

The autofocus system in a modern DSLR camera is truly a wonder of technology. And there’s a lot going on under the hood that you may not totally understand. But fear not, because the quick video below explains everything you need to know to achieve optimum results.

This four-minute tutorial from ZY Productions explains how a DSLR AF system works, including the various options available for setting the number of autofocus points to use, and the difference between “cross type” and “dual cross type” AF points.

More important than all the technical jargon, is knowing how to set your camera under different shooting conditions, so that you’ll achieve fast and precise autofocus acquisition that suits the subject at hand. And this video definitely has you covered.

It’s important to remember that the information in this tutorial applies specifically to DSLRs—not mirrorless cameras. But for DSLR users it really demystifies the autofocus process, so the next time you go out shooting you’ll be able to quickly choose the appropriate settings for the type of photographs you’re making.

You can find more helpful tips on the ZY Productions YouTube channel, as well as in another of their tutorials with a quick primer on using a DSLR’s depth of field preview button.