Focus With AF-On vs. The Shutter Button

Learn to love Canon 7D's AF-ON button for wildlife photography - by David R Beebe
I didn't think this would make a lot of difference but it really does and I love it. It didn't take long to get used to it either.

I disabled AF from the shutter button and have it only engage from the AF ON button on the back of the Canon 7D.

I can hold the button until I get focus then release it. With AF now off, the shutter button is calculating AE and running IS. It also allows for manual tweaking the focus without the lens fighting it.

I now use AI Servo at the default Medium speed instead of One Shot so that it will keep trying to fine tune focus until I release the AF Button.

This configuration is set for P, AV and TV. Sometimes it is not convenient to have to press 2 buttons (AF ON and Shutter). My C3 setting for birds in flight and C1 for portrait shots (it isn't easy to hit the AF ON button with the camera rotated) have their own settings and I left AF also associated with the Shutter button.

The only issue I've had with this is early on I was missing the AF On button and hitting the AE Lock (*) button just to its right instead. 

This setting is at MENU: Camera icon (2nd from right): C.FnIV Operation/Others: 1. The shutter button has only the [()] icon and the AF ON button has [()] and AF.

Give it a try!