Auto or Manual?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by jeannedark, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. jeannedark

    jeannedark TPF Noob!

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    Hello,

    I have been using my digital camera for a while now and I have been mostly using the autofocus when it comes to taking pictures. I was just wondering, should I start to use the manual?

    What to you guys think, is it a real benefit or just a waste of time?
    I read somewhere, that there are certain things, which would look better, when you shoot them manually? Is that true?
     
  2. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Manual focus if your auto focus does not do a good job, or can't find the focus point you desire. I think you might be confusing manual focus with manual mode. In certain situations where metering is tricky (photographing snow for instance) shooting in manual mode (knowing what you are doing) will give a better exposure than an auto mode.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.
    What camera do you have?

    If you know how to use the auto focus, and it gives you the results that you want/need...there there is no reason when manual focus would be better.

    The problem with autofocus is that it doesn't actually know what you want to focus on...and sometimes, it picks the wrong thing. With manual focus, you focus on what you want to.

    Also, some small 'digi-cams' have terrible manual focus that involves pushing buttons etc. If that's the case, I wouldn't bother. With many cameras, the camera will auto focus when you press the button...this can often slow down the time it takes to actually snap the picture. With some cameras, this time makes them very hard to use...especially for sports etc. In this case, using manual focus may speed up the 'shutter lag'.
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Manual and Auto focus are meant to compliment each other. If you are taking a picture of a person for instance and autofocus makes them come out perfectly clear then there is no reason not to use it. But say you take a picture of something in low light where the autofocus may fail to find the focal point, flicking the lens to manual and adjusting may be the easiest way to get the picture in focus.

    The other reason to go with manual focus is if you know something is comming, where it will be and are waiting for it. e.g. a racecar which is about to go past a piece of road. If you see the race car coming and are in autofocus mode and push the shutter, a) the camera won't be able to focus on it because it is moving too fast, and b) the camera will be slower to respond since it is trying to find the focus point. In this case manual is almost a must.

    As for operating the camera totally manually this is something that should be done once you can gauge light levels and get a feel for what settings you need. Also it may be needed if your metre is giving you bogus results (like photographing snow), or if you want to try something creative (slow syncing an image with a flash).
     

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