Techniques on How to Use Autofocus and Manual Focus

Focus is one of the most essential factors in digital photography. No matter how correctly you adjust your camera settings, if it’s out of focus, then your pictures will still look horrible. Understanding both manual focus and autofocus is thus crucial in taking great shots.

Compared to point and shoot cameras, which completely handle the focus for the photographer, DSLR cameras handle the focus differently. If you want to improve your skills in digital photography, then you need to learn about proper focus

Basic Facts on Autofocus

For beginners, learning autofocus is a must, especially since learning how to focus manually can be overwhelming. Take note that autofocus isn’t necessarily perfect. It can be frustrating to use if you don’t understand its mechanisms. Here are several things that you need to know about autofocus to help you use your camera in the best way for digital photography.

* You should slightly depress the shutter release to trigger autofocus.

Most cameras will fail to focus properly if this step is neglected. Since cameras have different autofocus speeds, you shouldn’t expect the focus to happen instantaneously. Be patient as you wait for the focusing mechanism to work well. The major element that affects the speed is the tiny motor included in the lens. This motor controls the autofocus.

Canon has a reputation for making cameras and lenses that use several different motors for a quicker focus. Nikon utilizes a more specific motor to determine the right focus although it may work comparatively slowly.

* DSLR cameras have different sensor areas.

A camera’s autofocus finds the focus by using different points on the frame. You can control which point will be the actual focal point. DSLR cameras today have a minimum number of three autofocus points and a maximum of 51. Cameras with more autofocus areas can give you more control over the focus of the images.

* A DSLR camera doesn’t work well with autofocus all the time.

For instance, shooting through glass can confuse the autofocus. In these cases, the focus may go on the wrong object, such as the glass itself. Try to switch to manual focus so you can get an image beyond the glass.


Different Modes of Autofocus

Generally, DSLR cameras have three primary types of autofocus modes. It’s important to understand these various modes so you can properly control where your camera focuses.

Single Autofocus (AF-S)

This type of setting is also called one shot autofocus, single servo and single focus. Once you partially depress the shutter release, your camera will set the autofocus. The focus remains the same until you take the photo. Through this, you don’t have to worry that the focus will change when you line up the image.

Continuous Autofocus (AF-C)

Also known as Al Servo, this method allows the camera to focus once you partially depress the shutter release. However, it will keep tracking the image in the frame. It may also alter the focus when you take the image. This is an ideal autofocus mode for moving subjects.

Automatic Autofocus (AF-A)

This option is a combination of the single and continuous autofocus. With this setting, your camera will assess the situation, and it may switch from single to continuous autofocus based on the movement of the subject.

Using Manual Focus

If you believe that autofocus is not the best choice in a certain situation, then you can switch to manual focus. In reality, this takes a lot of practice since it truly demands a trained eye. To get yourself more accustomed to manual focus, consider the following tips:

* Allot plenty of time to take the picture.

Unlike autofocus, manual focus requires much more time to get the correct image. You have to make sure that you have enough time to focus and take the photo. You’ll also need patience to get everything right.

* Be accurate.

Accuracy is crucial when using manual focus. You’re in total control so you have to ensure that you’re focusing on the right subject.

Now that you know how to use autofocus and manual focus, you can practice digital photography with more ease. Whichever method you choose, make sure to focus each of your images correctly.

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