6 Cameras That Have the Best Autofocus

When watching a video, there's nothing more distracting than a subject being every-so-slightly blurry or out of focus. Subject blurriness is almost always caused by problems with manual focusing behind the camera, but these problems are entirely avoidable. 

Autofocus digital cameras take the weight off the camera person by doing all the work of racking focus themselves. Read on to learn about the cameras that have the best autofocus and why it may be time to upgrade your video and audio tools. 

Why Autofocus Is So Important

Autofocus isn't essential for video production, but it goes a long way in simplifying your job and ensuring high-quality results. Autofocus cameras and lenses automatically adjust the focus by tracking a subject throughout the frame. This is especially useful for moving subjects, uninterrupted shots, street photography, shots using vertical grips, and videos where you don't have anyone operating the camera. 

Using manual focus instead of autofocus can be unreliable due to human error and how tiny optical viewfinders are. While autofocus technology isn't perfect, it's often faster at subject tracking than humans. Additionally, constantly readjusting the lens for manual focus could be picked up by the microphone and impair audio quality. 

Despite its benefits, there are some videos you may want autofocus turned off for, such as shots where the subject changes, shots that are intentionally blurry or move into focus, and static subjects. Beyond this, some autofocus cameras and telephoto lenses may have specific intended uses to be aware of, such as animal detection and outdoor filming.

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Best Photo and Video Cameras That Have Autofocus

When upgrading to a new camera, it's important to ensure you're investing in the best auto-focusing camera for your needs. Below are some of the most notable cameras that have the best autofocus.

Best Mirrorless Camera: Sony A7 IV

While standard DSLR cameras use mirrors to reflect and capture images, mirrorless cameras capture images using electronic viewfinders (EVF). While many types of cameras also don't use mirrors, the term is generally used to describe cameras with interchangeable lens systems.

The Sony Alpha A7 IV is a full-frame mirrorless camera that delivers high-quality images with class-leading autofocus tracking. This camera is a great general-use camera, though its somewhat slow speeds may not be ideal for fast-paced videos or street photography. Sony's advanced autofocus uses eye detection, making it easy to track human and animal subjects. 

Best Mechanical Shutter: Canon EOS R6

Cameras with mechanical shutters use physical "curtains" that quickly close around the lens when capturing images. While these cameras usually have lower shutter speeds, they are highly efficient at avoiding the "jello effect," which causes pictures and videos to appear wavy due to image distortion. The dynamic range of lighting and flash also shows up more clearly with mechanical shutter cameras.

The Canon EOS R6 camera uses one of the best mechanical shutters in the industry, with shutters that automatically close when removing the lens to prevent dust build-up. It uses Real Time Tracking (RTT) autofocus that was also used in the Canon R5 and Canon 1DX III. It makes subject tracking look almost seamless in the final product, even for fast-paced subjects like birds and athletes. 

Best for Shooting Wildlife Photography: Sony A1

Wildlife photography often has high demands for cameras, such as fast-acting autofocus and the ability to switch between wide angles and close-ups quickly. The Sony Alpha 1 is considered one of the best self-focusing cameras for outdoor photography, especially when capturing birds and other animals. 

Introduced in 2021, the Sony A1 is the highest-end Sony camera, combining previous models' high resolution, refresh rates, auto-exposure, autofocus, easy-to-learn controls, and much more. Additionally, the Sony A1 uses a completely silent electronic shutter, so taking photos shouldn't alert animals to your presence. 

Fastest Autofocus Camera: Sony A7R II

How fast autofocus can track subjects and adjust accordingly is one of the biggest concerns among digital cameras, especially when filming wildlife, on the streets, or at sporting events. The Sony A7R II is considered one of the fastest and most reliable full-frame cameras for autofocus because of its advanced internal systems. 

It uses phase-detection autofocus (PDAF), an autofocus technology that tracks subject motion down to the very pixel, resulting in much faster and more precise tracking. Specifically, the Sony A7R II's system uses 399 focus points for subject detection, more than most other autofocus cameras. 

Best Face and Eye Detection: Nikon Z9

Many autofocus cameras track subjects using advanced face and eye-detecting technology, though what technology is used varies by brand and camera. The Nikon Z9 camera uses face, eye, animal, and vehicle detection that is more consistent than most other autofocus cameras. As a result, it offers a wide range of autofocus modes and options, including:

  • Single autofocus
  • Continuous autofocus
  • Pinpoint autofocus
  • Single-point autofocus
  • Dynamic-area autofocus
  • Wide-area autofocus
  • 3D tracking autofocus
  • Auto-area autofocus

Best Electronic Shutter: Sony A9 Mark II

While cameras with mechanical shutters use physical "curtains," cameras with electronic shutters capture images by rapidly turning the sensor on and off. As a result, electronic shutter cameras are completely silent and can capture impressive shutter speeds, though specific speeds vary by sensor size and other settings. This makes them ideal for wildlife photography, taking continuous photos at once, and more.

The Sony Alpha 9 Mark II can reach shutter speeds of 1/32000th of a second in photo mode and 1/8000th in video mode, making it one of the fastest electronic shutters on the market. Additionally, it's equipped with five-axis sensor-shift image stabilization to help reduce the "jello effect" common among lesser electronic shutter cameras. 

What Else Can Make Your Projects Stand Out?

Audio is just as important as picture for delivering immersive videos, short films, and photos that audiences will enjoy and remember. Soft background music and ambient sounds can help set the right tone for your project, and sound effects can improve action, transitions, and more — so long as what you're using is royalty-free. 

At StockMusic.net, we have a wide range of royalty-free sounds, songs, and more in our audio library. See our plans to get unlimited access to our music and sound effects today. 


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