How To Use The af/mf/ael Switch

woman checking camera settings

The af position is for autofocus. The mf is manual focus, and the ael is auto exposure lock. If you want to know how and when to use these modes then read on for the full rundown.

What Is AF Mode?

AF is the abbreviation for autofocus mode. This mode lets a camera give the sharpest possible focus in different situations automatically.

What Is MF Mode?

MF is for manually focusing your camera. Using your eye to place a focus point on a photo and then manually moving the focus ring until you get the sharpest possible shot is MF mode.

What Is AEL Mode?

AEL mode is for autoequivalence. This is the auto setting of ISO sensitivity. A camera in ael mode will automatically compensate when you change the sensitivity by using a different value of ISO.

When To Use AF Mode

AF mode is useful when you want the camera to focus on the subject, but can’t get it just right. That’s when you use it. It’s a good setting for beginners but they should be careful not become reliant on it.

When To Use MF Mode

MF mode is used when the focus point moves over time as a scene changes. It will not work for rapid movements or for subjects that move while the shot is being taken, but it can be quite precise. That’s why it’s good for landscapes and portraits.

When To Use AEL Mode

AEL mode is for getting the best exposure possible in situations where it might be hard to get the exposure right. Using flash or a tripod would improve the situation, but you may not have those things along. So that’s when you use AEL.

af/mf vs ael

The af/mf/ael or auto focus, manual focus, and auto exposure lock are three settings on a DSLR camera that can be used in different situations. They all accomplish the same things but in different ways and situations. Knowing when to use each mode can help beginners and experts alike get the best possible shots with their DSLRs.

Bottom Line

Determining when to use each mode takes some experience, but that’s part of the fun of photography. When you get great shots it’s great to know that your camera has settings that let you quickly get the shot you want. And if the settings go unused it’s still great to understand how they work and why they are there.