Registered AF points make it simple to switch the location of your AF point with the touch of a single button.

Registered AF point, indicated on the left by single orange frame

Registered AF point, indicated on the left by single orange frame


Imagine you have the AF point on the left side of the frame to give an off-centred composition to your picture. Then you need to change the position of the AF point somewhere else for another shot then back to the original left-hand side position – registered AF points make this possible and fast. With the number of AF points increasing – 65 in the EOS 7D Mark II registered AF points speeds up switching instead of endless scrolling or moving the multi-controller.

Think of it as a way to have two choices of composition using different locations of AF point ready for a simple switch between the two.

How to setup a registered AF point

EOS 7D2 - registered AF points

Buttons for setting and clearing registered AF points on EOS 7D Mark II


Press the AF point selection button located on the top right corner of the camera – typically reachable with your thumb. Move the AF point to the required location. Now press and hold the AF point selection button and press the top panel display light button to register your AF point. In the viewfinder and on the LCD display you will see that the registered AF point stays highlighted when you move the AF points to another location. It’s a way of checking that you actually registered an AF point.

If you still have your camera set to BEEP it will emit a tone to confirm the point has been registered.

If you still have the BEEPs tuned on; please turn them off 🙂

My EOS 5D Mark III is not able to register an AF point if it is set to Zone AF.

How to clear a registered AF point

Press and hold the AF point selection button, then press the ISO / flash exposure compensation button. You’ll see that the single AF point that indicates the location of the registered AF point is now cleared.

Switching to the registered AF point

There are multiple ways to switch to a registered AF point, here’s a few of the options;

  • Press the multi-controller
  • AF-ON button
  • AE lock / * button
  • Depth of field preview button
  • Lens AF stop button
  • AF area select lever (EOS 7D Mark II)
  • M-Fn2 button (EOS-1D X/EOS-1D C)

If you don’t set a registered AF point or clear the stored one then the camera will treat the centre AF point as the registered AF point.

Registered AF - 7D2

EOS 7D Mark II – registered AF point linked to AF-ON button


Registered AF - 7D

Switch to the registered AF point with the multi-controller on the EOS 7D


Registered AF - 5D3

Depth of field preview button configured to switch to registered AF point – EOS 5D Mark III


You’ll need to go deep in the camera custom controls for many of these settings, and look out for the INFO text to indicate that pressing the camera’s INFO button gives more options…

Which cameras have registered AF points?

  • EOS 7D, EOS 7D Mark II
  • EOS 5D Mark III, EOS 5DS, EOS 5DS R
  • EOS-1D, EOS-1Ds, EOS-1D Mark II, EOS-1Ds Mark II, EOS-1D Mark II N, EOS-1D Mark III, EOS-1Ds Mark III, EOS-1D Mark IV, EOS-1D X, EOS-1D C

In short it’s the top flight cameras with larger numbers of AF points.

Orientation linked registered AF points

If you have set orientation linked AF points active on your camera then registered AF points are registered separately for each of the three recognised orientations, grip up, grip down and level…

Registered AF points are not the same as orientation linked AF points, but both are methods of changing AF points rapidly to improve composition or placement of the AF point on the subject.


Do you really know your camera?

If this sounds interesting or something you’d make use of, then I will mention that you need to know how to operate your camera by touch to really capitalise on this level of complex, useful functionality. If you still find that you need to look for the buttons on your camera to change a function then this is probably not for you.

If you’d like to learn to operate your camera by touch then a top tip is to put it in a black bag and try changing a setting from one value to another, or registering AF points. In these days of multi-menu driven delights there is still a requirement to know which button does what instinctively, not by reading the menu and searching for it.