AI Servo Focus Helps in a Breeze



tiny grasshopperOn Canon DSLR cameras, AI Servo is an auto focus mode offering continuous focus, also called focus tracking. It is most often used for action and sports photography.  The AI stands for artificial intelligence.  I'm discovering the benefits of AI Servo go well beyond those found with the usual understanding of action photography.

I enjoy macro photography a great deal.  It requires a steady camera and a steady subject to be at its best.  More on this in a moment.

On Canon DSLR cameras, AI Servo is an auto focus mode offering continuous focus, also called focus tracking. It is most often used for action and sports photography.  The AI stands for artificial intelligence.  I'm discovering the benefits of AI Servo go well beyond those found with the usual understanding of action photography.

I enjoy macro photography a great deal.  It requires a steady camera and a steady subject to be at its best.  More on this in a moment.

tiny grasshopper

We've planted our very first vegetable garden here at the house, and it is surprisingly exciting to see sprouts appear from seeds that we put in the ground.  Mother nature has been doing this for a long time, so we weren't too sure our "helping out" would actually allow stuff to grow.  Miraculously, so far it's working out pretty well.  Knock on wood.

Growing stuff from seed means it starts out really small. Interestingly enough, many of the creatures that have been visiting our little garden are equally as small. The ants are little.  Most of the other insects and the spiders are small.  There is even a baby toad that has taken up residence in the area. He was only about an inch long at the last sighting.

One of the critters was the smallest grasshopper I have ever seen - ever. Such a monumental occassion deserves a portrait of the little tyke, so out came the Canon DSLR and the macro lens was attached. Told you we would come back to topic.  But wait, there is no way my tripod will go as low as is needed (all the plants are short!), and there is a slight breeze. Everything is moving, not a lot, but any motion with a macro lens and large aperture takes its toll on the ability to focus well.

Keying on the motion of the situation, I decided to switch to AI focus mode and see if that would help.  Lo and behold, it did!  There was just enough room for me to use my elbows and body as a human tripod at the edge of the garden, and practice smooth deliberate breathing. That all minimized camera movement. The AI Servo rose to the challenge and adjusted not only to my subtle movements of the camera, but also to those caused by the breeze on the plant to which the little grasshopper was clinging.  The technical edge provided by AI Servo is a new found friend of mine for macro photography.

Photograph information: Canon 100mm macro lens, f/3.5, 1/125 sec., ISO 400.

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