The Zone AF is a “mini” version of the Automatic AF Point Selection, the default AF mode. It works in the same way as the Automatic AF point selection except that it restricts the AF points to a small cluster (zone) that is selected.
Within this zone, the system will focus on the closest subject with adequate details, even if you’re in Servo AF Mode.
You can select from one of five zones: the nine-point cluster in the center of the viewfinder or one of the a four-point triangular cluster to the left, right, above, or below the center zone.
This is my preferred mode in combination with the orientation linked AF point. Horizontally/landscape mode, I use the center zone. Vertically/portrait mode, the 7D changes to the top zone (for the face.) This is one of the fastest AF selection mode for action. I cannot keep a single AF point on a precise location on a moving subject, but I can keep the center zone AF on a moving car or somebody running…
- This means that it’s not possible to focus on somebody’s eyes with the camera pointed at somebody’s face in the Zone AF mode.
- The Zone AF mode will work for somebody’s face if the depth of field is big enough, either through the f/stop and/or through the distance.