The remote release functions the same as the shutter release button. If you have you camera set for AF-ON Only (A.K.A. BB) focusing, the remote will not activate the AF.
I use only BB focusing. When I have my camera on a tripod, I use the AF-ON button to focus the camera. After focus is achieved and any motion from touching the camera has stopped I release the shutter with the remote. I think this is preferable to having the remote activate AF, because I know for sure what I focused on.
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