The Significant Differences Between AI Focus vs AI Servo

The cameras tend to capture memories or moments that we want to flourish, and we all are familiar with how to click a photo. But are we familiar with the different modes given in a Canon or Nikon camera setting?

The answer will be mostly no unless they are professionals. People often complain and get confused between AI focus vs AI servo mode (Canon AI Focus vs Servo).

Are you one of them too?

If yes, then today’s article is dedicated to you as I will be explaining the exact difference between these two modes. So that next time you are photographing, you can use the focus options without any confusion.

What Does AI Servo (AI-S) Mean?

AI-s is Canon’s continuous-servo autofocus system and stands for Artificial Intelligence Servo Automatic Focusing. Mainly it keeps the continuous focus on the subject’s movement to capture the sharp click.

How Does It work?

If you are still not clear about how it works, let me explain the process briefly.

For example, imagine you are a wildlife photographer who tends to click photos of moving animals in an open wild area. This means your subject is continuously moving around while you are taking the pictures.

But when you turn on the AI-s mode on the camera, adjust the focus to keep the target sharp. It helps you to keep the continuous focus without any other additional adjustments.

What Does AI Focus (AI-F) Mean?

AI-F is another Canon’s autofocus system that refers to the Artificial Intelligence focus mode, and it is the newest update in the camera mode option. It is more like a combo of one shot and Al-s modes because it can adjust the focus depending on the situation.

How Does It Work?Is it like Canon One Shot

In case the function of AI-f is not clear to you, let me explain a bit more-

AI-f mainly switches between one-shot focus and continuous focus shoot based on the situation. For example, When your subject is not moving, this mode turns into a one-shot focus mode, and when your target starts slightly moving, it switches into AI-s mode by following the subject with constant focus.

What Is The Difference Between AI Servo And AI Focus (AI-F)?

The best way to understand which one will better work for what situation is to find and understand the differences, so let’s have a brief idea of the significant difference between AI-f vs AI-s –

The main difference between AI-s and AI-f is the focusing capacity, where the AI-s can repetitively adjust the focus when the target or subject is in continuous moving motion. And the AI-f option can switch the focus direction between a single shot to the constant focus depending on the subject’s situation or position.

If you consider the speed, then Canon AI Focus mode often delays the subject’s movement and the camera focusing, resulting in losing the main focus. But with AI-s, you do not need to experience that delay because it allows the camera non-stop to focus and shoot.

When we plan to photograph with a narrow depth of field, it becomes quite tricky maintaining a sharp focus on a moving subject while using AI-f since it doesn’t focus continuously. But with AI-s, you can easily track the entire movement of the subject. A good future comparison would be One Shot vs AI-f vs AI-s.

Which Mode Should I Use AI servo (AI-s) Or AI focus (AI-f)?

To be very precise, there is no right answer for this question, and mainly, it should depend on the photographer’s demand and preference, and I can only help you differentiate these two to pick on the perfect focus mode for your work style. The point here is which one matches offers you the best focus while you are shooting.

And I can only guide you to make the right decision as I have previously mentioned. In case your photography is more related to landscapes, portraits, still-life, then one-shot or AI focus can be your best pick.

On the other hand, if you are more into wildlife photographing, go with the AI-s. And if you do both types of photography like still and moving, then AI-f mood will be a better option for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

I have figured out some frequently asked queries of people and tried to answer them in below –

What Is AI Focus On Canon?

This artificial focus mode is mainly for situations where the focusing distance keeps changing, which means when we hold the shutter button down halfway, the subject will be focused continuously.

What are the Different Ways of Focusing a Camera?

There are currently four primary focus modes that offer a tremendous amount of flexibility to capture anything you want. Continuous Focusing Mode. One-Shot Focusing Mode. Automatic Autofocus Mode. Manual Focusing Mode.

Is it Better to Use Autofocus or Manual?

In general, autofocus has an artificial intelligence focus, which is faster and more comfortable than the manual one. Since it can lock onto a subject quicker and suitable for shooting any moving subject, you can consider autofocus mode instead of the manual unless you are comfortable with the manual process.

How Do you Autofocus on Canon?

Look over your camera’s back, and you will find an AF pointer button press that. Simultaneously, looking through the viewfinder, press on the M-Fn button and go to option 4. Now the camera will automatically select the AF means autofocus point, and you are ready to shoot in autofocus mode.

Do Professional Photographers Use Manual or Autofocus?

Most professional photographers do not intend to use the autofocus option since the manual focusing mode gives them more freedom to customize focus as their requirement and wish. But Professional paparazzi use autofocus mode because of the faster and easier access benefit.


Professional photographers with years of experience mostly do not get confused between using different focus modes, but people who casually use the camera or just started photography recently definitely struggle with choosing the right one.

That is why I have tried to explain the user differences between AI focus vs AI servo modes to clear out all the confusion people may have as beginners.

About the author


Hi, it's Arif the publisher of CameraEvents, a positioning and branding website. We Review & Guide through various Camera Tools and Accessories to Create and Capture your Spectacular life Moments