Manual vs. Auto focus questions

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by mikedadude, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. mikedadude

    mikedadude TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys.. still new so just trying to get more information about things. I did a search but it didn't come up with much.

    I was on another forum where someone posted a picture and got slated for using AF. Is AF frowned on or something? Is it seen as some 'beginner' tool? Or was the guy just being a bit OTT?

    I've tried shooting in manual focus but can't for the life of me figure out how to get the image sharp when I zoom in, it is just a blur. Seems to be a lot more work than AF.

    Is there a good guide to getting the desired focus with manual focus somewhere?
     
  2. ecnal

    ecnal TPF Noob!

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    I disable every lens I get from using AF. It means your not a photographer.



    Kidding. I'm sure the greater majority use AF, it just makes sense. The camera isn't 100% right all of the time, but with the growing technology, number of AF points, etc, it's only getting better.

    I have a D40 right now and it only has 3 AF points, but I'm more than in the habit of grabbing focus using the center point and then re-framing the shot while the focus is locked.

    Macro shooting? I manual focus sometimes. Not always.

    It's really just personal preference. Whatever method you use, just make sure that what you want to be in focus is in focus. That's what matters; the final outcome.
     
  3. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    some ppl use MF for macro. There is nothing wrong with AF, on contrary, it is a tool and just like any tool, it has its correct usage :)

    Split screen is one solution. Shooting at smaller apertures is another. If you are a beginner, stick with basics and learn lighting, composition, exposure. Once you get a hang on it, then you can and rather should experiment.
    Probably :)
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Like IgsEMT mentioned it helps a great deal if your camera has the right kind of focusing screen. Most digital SLR's don't.

    If you get a good enough digital body you can change the focusing screen to make using manual focus easier.

    Another consideration is that since the advent of AF, lens makers no longer make parfocal zoom lenses. A parfocal lens retains focus when zoomed in or out. The technique is to zoom in close set the focus and then zoom back out to make the image.
     
  5. Eco

    Eco TPF Noob!

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    Mike, either you have the eyes for autofocus or you don't it's not a big deal. I can't think of anyone who can look at a print and determine if it was done on autofocus or manual.

    What model camera are you using?

    When you look into your viewfinder while on AF is everything clear? If not see if your viewfinder has a little adjustment dial to correct your defective eyes.
     
  6. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    that's another technique - zoom in, press shutter release to lock the focus -> zoom out and reframe -> & shoot
     
  7. ecnal

    ecnal TPF Noob!

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    Man! I miss split screen! My Nikon FM2 has it. You've officially inspired me to go buy some film and shoot a roll through that beast.
     
  8. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Doesn't work with all lenses though.

    I know that on my 70-200 f/4 L, if you do that you will be out of focus.

    I did a test the other day (weird coincidence...) and if you focus at 200mm, switch to manual focus, then go to 70mm - the focus is off by an unacceptable amount.

    EDIT
    That's pretty much the only zoom lens I use. You may want to do a quick test of your lenses if you plan on employing this method.
    Don't just eyeball it through the viewfinder - take a picture and compare them at 100%. You might be surprised at the difference.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
  9. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    INTERESTING...
    The only times I have that issue if I'm closer then about 5-6 feet to my subject and wider then 5.6. Otherwise been lucky :)
    thanks for input, good to know!
     
  10. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hmm... The test I did was at f/4 (wide open for that lens) and close range.
    (I don't remember exactly how far, but less than 10 feet.)

    May not be an issue stopped down and at a longer range. Still something to look into though.

    Not a hard test to do.
     
  11. Dominantly

    Dominantly TPF Noob!

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    I only use manual focus in certain situations.
    For shots when I am intentionally trying to isolate something with a shallow depth of field, I control is manually.
    When shooting objects where the background is more prominent then the subject and the camera has a hard time locking, I go manual. An example of this would be shooting a logo on a wine glass and having the letters/logo in focus.
     
  12. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Sounds like it's not a parfocal lens.
     

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tokina 2.8- 80-200 parfocal