what's better; manual or auto focus?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by whistule, May 27, 2008.

  1. whistule

    whistule TPF Noob!

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    The obvious answer is auto focus, but is it really?
     
  2. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    IF you are over 40, yes!

    Unless you only have a manual lens/camera or are shooting through extension tubes.
     
  3. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think it's personal preference. I like manual focus better myself. Of course, if I were shooting fast action sports or something like that, I might think differently.
     
  4. AverageJoe

    AverageJoe TPF Noob!

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    Sometimes I get the feeling that people believe their is a book out there that is the law of all photography and only a few have read select pages. There are no rules in photography, no right answers and no wrong pictures. Do what feels right and wash it down with a cold beer.
     
  5. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    what's better; manual or auto focus?

    They're both better.
     
  6. whistule

    whistule TPF Noob!

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    that's a fair comment AverageJoe. I guess I wasn't really looking for a decisive conclusion to be drawn one way or the other (or I wouldn't have asked the question in the first place) more a discussion on the pros and cons of each. I probably could have worded it better but nonetheless I hope most people will take it as such.
     
  7. AverageJoe

    AverageJoe TPF Noob!

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    In that case, the method by which you focus (either manual or auto) is best when the particular subject matter you are trying to focus becomes in focus.

    So if auto works all the time and is doing what you need it to do, then it is best, if manual is working better for you than it is best. I guess the question should be more focused (pardon the phun), so when I do night photography and my camera can't find focus, I use manual, when I'm doing everything but, auto works better.

    Maybe you could describe specific scenarios? Also some cameras have several focusing modes; AI Focus, Servo etc... did that just make this more confusing?
     
  8. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    Actually, manual focus was quite easy before autofocus was invented. In many respects, it was easier than today's autofocus. If I had the old split-image viewfinder, I would rarely, if ever, use autofocus.
     
  9. Crosby

    Crosby TPF Noob!

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    Maybe the question is on an ideal scenario. I guess the question could be asked, 'how accurate is auto focus?' vs. 'how accurate are you with manual focus?'

    I'm still a noob, but I have had to manual focus a few times. I would rather let the camera do it for me.
     
  10. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Manual and AF are both tools... I use both depending. Neither is better than the other.

    If you spend time behind a manual focusing camera (not the crappy viewfinders in most DSLRs today), you'll be surprised by how easy and in many cases better than AF. For street shooters for example, prefocus and shoot is far faster than AF. For sports photographers, I say AF.
     
  11. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For my landscapes, manual. I'd have it no other way. AF is clunky, awkward and intrusive for me, especially in low light conditions.
     
  12. Efergoh

    Efergoh TPF Noob!

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    I've lost faith in my eyes of late.
    I've been an autofocus guy since.
     

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