Best Autofocus Cameras In 2022 – Buyers Guide 

Autofocus Camera Highlights – There are two kinds of systems: phase detection and contrast detection, as well as two kinds of autofocus modes: Continuous AF and Single AF 

Almost all video creators, from photographers to stock footage videographers to vloggers and independent filmmakers, can benefit from a good AF system. 

In 2022, the Sony A9 Mark II, Canon R5C, and Nikon Z6 II are among the cameras with the best autofocus on the market.

It’s nearly impossible to imagine not having autofocus in your camera today if you’re a photographer. Unless you are a purist of manual vintage lenses, autofocus has become ingrained in photography. Even filmmakers and videographers, who were initially hesitant to use autofocus, have embraced the technology, which has made their lives easier, especially in certain situations.

Best Autofocus Cameras In 2022 - Buyers Guide

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Autofocus History 

However, while many people take autofocus for granted, it was not introduced in mass production until 1977, with the Konica C35 AF. Leica had previously developed prototypes, but manual focus was the norm until the industry’s leading players standardized the system. 

The Polaroid SX-70 was the first single-lens reflex camera to include autofocus in 1978. Still, the first SLR 35mm camera appeared in the 1980s (the Pentax ME-F). Nikon, Canon, and the other brands switched to electronic mounts during that decade, allowing full communication between lens and body.

Two AF systems

The two primary AF systems in photo and video cameras, phase detection, and contrast detection, were further developed by brands. 

Detecting phases 

Faster, but requires a more complex system to function correctly. 

Contrast sensitivity 

It takes longer to work, but the mechanism is less complicated because the information is derived from an electronic image of the scene. 

DSLRs used phase detection autofocus, which made them faster and more accurate than mirrorless cameras, which used contrast detection. However, most cameras now use hybrid AF, which takes advantage of both systems. 

Each brand has developed its own technology, such as Canon’s Dual Pixel AF. Continuous AF and eye detection technology have simplified the lives of creators by allowing them to film and photograph without worrying about focus.

Autofocus Varieties 

Let’s go over the two autofocus modes that most cameras have: single autofocus and continuous autofocus. 

Single-point autofocus

When a single autofocus lens focuses on a subject, it stops. After that, you either take the picture or release the button to refocus. This mode is ideal for subjects that are static. 

Continuous autofocus

Continuous autofocus, on the other hand, is preferable for moving subjects. This mode will continuously adjust the focus to ensure a sharp image when photographing or filming moving subjects such as animals, children, sports, and so on.

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What kinds of creators might require autofocus? 

Photographers

AF will benefit almost all photographers. As previously stated, continuous autofocus is essential for nature, sports, events, and children’s photography. In situations where you need to be quick, such as street photography, autofocus can mean the difference between capturing a shot and not. 

You can live without autofocus if you are a photographer working in a controlled environment, such as product photography, or if you are an artist who prefers manual focus. The rest, on the other hand, will require it.

Filmmakers

Some filmmakers believe that autofocus should be avoided at all costs. ‘Real filmmakers don’t use autofocus,’ says one. This is a limited statement that only considers certain types of filmmakers. 

Pulling focus is, of course, an art and a skill that will benefit any filmmaker. In a controlled environment, with a crew and a focus puller to assist you, the human touch and rhythm – even with its flaws – cannot be replaced by an autofocus system. 

But, let’s face it: autofocus in 2022 isn’t the same as autofocus in 2008.

The level of perfection is almost frightening. Also, wedding, nature, and sports filmmakers, content creators, self-shooters… aren’t they all filmmakers? In some cases, a solid autofocus system will be the only way to get the shot.

Filmmakers specializing in documentaries, events, and weddings 

Although experienced camera operators prefer to manually focus, technology can assist us in uncontrollable situations. Continuous autofocus will determine whether you get the shot or not for some b-roll (crowds, people moving, animals, events, etc.).

Content creators and vloggers 

Continuous autofocus will benefit video creators and vloggers (in fact, some content would be impossible to produce without it). Even if the eye-tracking feature misses your face a few times, it will be worthwhile to use. 

Videographers specializing in stock footage 

When filming nature or moving environments (birds, surf, skate, etc.) for stock footage sites, a good autofocus camera will yield more shots than a non-autofocus camera. 

Small teams

You may not have a focus puller if you work with a small team. However, if you are filming and directing an interview, for example, the eye-tracking feature will ensure that your subject is in focus, especially in close-ups with a shallow depth of field.

Autofocus cameras with the best performance

When it comes to the best autofocus system, you usually get what you pay for. As is always the case, only you know which brand and model will meet your requirements. This list includes cameras that we love, have excellent autofocus, and are available in a variety of price ranges.

Sony A9 Mark II

Best Autofocus Cameras In 2022 - Buyers Guide

Specs – Photo : 24.2 MP | Video : 2160p | Autofocus : 60 AF/AE | Viewfinder Type : Electronic | Photo Sensor Size : Full Frame (35mm) |  Image Stabilization : Yes | Screen Size : 3 inches

When we talk about Sony, we’re talking about the best autofocus technology available, particularly with its eye-tracking feature. Things are no different with the Sony A9 Mark II. It was marketed as the ideal sports camera, and all tests and reviews back up that claim. Even in the most difficult and unpredictable movements, the camera maintains an impressive level of focus accuracy, and you can customize how you use its focus capabilities. 

Among its features are 20 frames per second shooting with a silent electronic shutter and up to 10 frames per second shooting with a mechanical shutter. Furthermore, it features a 693-point phase-detection autofocus system, intelligent subject tracking, Real-time Eye AF, and UHD 4K video recording.

Other Sony cameras with excellent autofocus

If you’re primarily interested in video and like Sony, you should look into the A7s III. It has impressive autofocus capabilities but is primarily a video camera. Sony eye AF is built into the a7s II

If you only need video, you should look into the FX series, like the Sony FX3. They are all equipped with Sony’s Hybrid AF, making them among the best systems on the market. 

The Sony a1 and the Sony A7s III are beasts if you are a pro photographer or can afford it.

Canon EOS R5C

Best Autofocus Cameras In 2022 - Buyers Guide

Specs – Photo : 45MP | Video : 8K60 | Autofocus : 1053 AF/AE | Viewfinder Type : Electronic | Photo Sensor Size : Full frame (36 x 24 mm) |  Image Stabilization : Yes | Screen Size : 3.2 inches

The Canon EOS R5C is an excellent hybrid camera with excellent video features and advanced autofocus. Some of its features, which the company considers to be a hybrid between the R5 and the C70, are as follows: 

  • 4K120 video recording 
  • RAW HDMI output 
  • Recording time is unlimited. 
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Eye Detection from Canon 
  • A system of active cooling. 

When it comes to autofocus, the R5C has 1053 automatic AF zones, eye, face, and head detection AF, as well as bird and animal detection AF. The Canon R5C, which is set to be released in March of this year, is one of the most anticipated cameras of 2022. 

Other Canon AF options

If you need in-body stabilization, the Canon R5 is a good choice; if you don’t need to take pictures, the C70 is another example of Canon’s autofocus technology. 

If you prefer a DSLR, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is one of the best full-frame photo cameras available, with DCI 4K and 5.5K RAW video.

Nikon Z6 II

Best Autofocus Cameras In 2022 - Buyers Guide

Specs – Photo : 25MP | Video : 4K30 Video | Autofocus : 273-Point Phase-Detect AF System | Viewfinder Type : Electronic | Photo Sensor Size : Full frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm) |  Image Stabilization : Yes | Screen Size : 3.2 inches

Nikon has always been a major force in the history of photography. Their most recent cameras have all of the video features that a hybrid shooter requires. 

The Nikon Z6 II is a versatile mirrorless camera that is suitable for a wide range of applications thanks to the following features: 

  • A 24.5MP CMOS sensor, Quick EXPEED 6 image processors, UHD 4K video recording at 60p, 50p, and 120p in Full HD, and a 273-Point Phase-Detect AF system. 
  • The Z6 II provides accurate focus in photo and video mode by covering 90 percent of the sensor and switching between phase-detect and contrast-detect to ensure the best accuracy. 

Nikon’s Z6, Z7, and Z7 II are also excellent autofocus options. But, if you’re a professional photographer and can afford it, the newer Z9 is unrivaled

Cameras at a low cost with excellent autofocus 

Assume you’re looking for less expensive alternatives. In that case, fantastic autofocus solutions can be found in cameras such as the Fujifilm X-T4, Sony a6600, Sony a6100, or the Olympus E-M1 Mark III.

FAQ

Which cameras have the fastest autofocus?

DSLRs with phase-detection AF use to have the fastest AF. Mirrorless autofocus is now as good as DSLR autofocus, but with more capabilities. 

Which camera has the greatest number of autofocus points? 

In live view, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Dual Pixel CMOS AF employs 3,869 manually selectable points. 

Which mirrorless camera has the most rapid autofocus? 

Sony’s a6100 and a6400 are among the fastest focusing cameras available. Sony claims to be able to focus in 0.02 seconds. 

What exactly is Sony eye AF? 

It’s a Sony technology that allows you to focus on the eye and track it as the subject and camera move.

What's the distinction between AF-C and AF-S?

When you focus in AF-S, the focus system comes to a halt. AF-C, on the other hand, continuously focuses, following your subject.

Do Professional Photographers Use Autofocus?

Until autofocus became a standard feature of more modern cameras in the 1980s, manual focusing was the only method of focusing a camera for the majority of the twentieth century. Because manual focusing gives them the most control over their images, most professional photographers continue to avoid using an autofocus system. 

But, don’t be afraid of your camera’s Autofocus system as it could turn a good photo or video into a great photo or video. This is extremely important for content creators with limited camera experience.

Conclusion

Both autofocus and manual focus have advantages and disadvantages. In the end, manual focus will win out for complex work. Even the most advanced camera software will struggle to track the selected subject when there are multiple moving subjects within the frame.

While some may argue that autofocus is for video and manual focus is for film, if you’re making music videos for YouTube, do what works for you.
Plus with these cameras mentioned, you can switch back in forth with ease to deliver the best images and videos imaginable.

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About the author: Trent (IMDB Youtubehas spent 10+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. He writes about his experiences to help (and amuse) others. If he’s not working, he’s either traveling, reading or writing about travel/film, or planning travel/film projects.

Best Autofocus Cameras In 2022 - Buyers Guide

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