Orientation linked AF

Several EOS cameras now have an option for orientation linked AF; the EOS 70D, EOS 7D, EOS 5D Mark III and the EOS-1D X all support this. In simple terms the camera uses it’s orientation sensor to automatically switch AF point depending on the camera’s orientation.

There are three different orientations that the camera will recognise.

  • Horizontal
  • Grip up
  • Grip down

The key to making the most of this feature is being confident to operate the AF system with the camera held up to your eye. You can only set-up the AF in each orientation. If you take the camera from your eye then you will likely turn it back to horizontal to set the AF, and that only changes the settings for horizontal orientation.

Using an EOS 7D as an example, I activated the Orientation Linked AF with C.Fn III-12 set to 1 and then…

Orientation linked AF - horizontal

In the horizontal orientation, the AF changes to expanded AF with the centre AF point as the primary point

As you can see I set the AF point Expansion mode and selected the central AF point in the horizontal orientation.

Orientation linked AF - grip down

With the grip down, the AF changes to a single AF point at the top right

Turning the camera grip down, I set the camera to use just a single AF point and placed it near to the top right of the AF area. Turning the camera in this case switches the AF area selection and the AF point.

Orientation linked AF - grip up

With the grip up, the AF changes to zone AF with the top zone active

Turning the camera with the grip up, again the area selection mode is set to switch over to Zone AF and the top zone is active.

The buttons you need to find by touch

If you are planning to make use of this feature then you need to make sure you can readily find the AF selection button to choose an AF point, and the M.Fn button since this will let you select the arrangement of the AF point. The battery grip for the camera also duplicates both those buttons.

To see how I used the orientation linked AF you will benefit from reading A fashionably quick change of focussing point.

It is also possible to set a custom function in the camera to allow it to store a registered AF point if you make use of this, then it is possible to separately register an AF point in each of the three orientations. You might need to go check out the manual for your camera too.


About the author

Full-time photo tutor and photographer. I love to share my knowledge and skills to make photos, videos and teach others. I write books and articles for photo magazines and I always have at least one Speedlite flash in my camera bag