Manual vs. Auto Focus; which do you use?

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by NateS, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. NateS

    NateS TPF Noob!

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    In my deciding on which camera to purchase, I've had an interesting question arise for everybody.

    Which do you primarily use, manual or auto focus? If you use both just in different circumstances, please explain. Just curious if auto-focus is considered more of a "crutch", or actually necessary in some situations.
     
  2. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    autofocus most of the time. It's accurate almost always, unless the light is really bad. If the light is bad, it won't go...then you just focus manually or use AF assist lights/strobes.

    Also, you usually manual focus during macro photography...

    Auto focus is so good now, that you can use it for almost everything and it won't hurt your photos cause it's so accurate. Especially with USM motors and all that good stuff.
     
  3. iflynething

    iflynething TPF Noob!

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    I am a definate auto perosn when it comes to enough light and I know I'm gonna need that speed. If you actually try to manual focus on something fast, most of the time you won't be able to get it right.....the first time.

    Also, try this. zoom all the way out on the lens, and focus on something manually the best you can. Now, zoom in on that object without refocusing. More than likely it won't be in focus. The best things to do is zoom in on what you're trying to get, focus, then zoom out and you know it's in focus. Just a little nerd talk :)

    ~Michael~
     
  4. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Depends...

    Autofocus on my DSLR....
    Manual on all my other stuff.. simply because they are all manual cameras.

    One thing to note... Manual focusing on a present day DSLR (typical ones with the standard screen) are a royal pain to focus compared to yesteryear's cameras that had the proper focusing screens.

    By far the easiest to manual focus are rangefinders.
     
  5. Efergoh

    Efergoh TPF Noob!

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    auto. my eyes are going south...I don't trust them anymore.
     
  6. NateS

    NateS TPF Noob!

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    Good responses and good to know that auto is the method of choice for DSLR's. My eyes are slowly going downhill as well which is something I hadn't really thought of (their not extremely bad yet). Anyway, these responses have helped me a lot. Thanks a bunch.
     
  7. jedithebomber

    jedithebomber TPF Noob!

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    Auto focus is more accurate than I am, unless I am shooting really close, then my D40 just can't seem to find a focus lock.
     
  8. Chris of Arabia

    Chris of Arabia Herding cats since 1988... Supporting Member

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    Generally speaking, I'll use the auto-focus if hand holding the camera, manual if I have the camera on the tripod.
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Seriously anyone who says they use ONLY manual on a modern SLR without replacing the focusing screen or modding the camera must be kidding themselves. Modern cameras have such small and dark viewfinders. Even in the bright of day I sometimes manually focus and completely miss the focal point.

    When I manually focus it's because my autofocus is hunting or focusing on the wrong thing. I mainly do this for macro or certain types of shots where I predict where something will be and take the picture when it gets there. But even when I do use manual focus, and my D200 is far from the worst viewfinder in the modern SLR/DSLR cameras, I rely on the autofocus circuit to give me an infocus indicator in the view finder, so really even manual is auto for me. I just turn the lens myself.

    On my Nikon FE I use manual all the time. Mind you the viewfinder is huge, and sufficiently bright. It's sharp and with a microprism I can get something spot on in focus as quickly as modern autofocus can, and definitely quicker than the focus on some of those point and shoots :S
     
  10. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Manual focus all the time; but i don't use AF cameras;). AF is useless for me as I mainly shoot landscapes and most of the time my lens is set at the hyperfocal distance for back to front sharpness.
     
  11. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    my eyes aren't good enough for manual focusing. I know people that would rather manually focus instead of use AF, but from the people i've met, the people that manually focus don't know how to use AF correctly.
     
  12. Claff

    Claff TPF Noob!

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    I came here to say this.
     

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