Focusing: Manual vs auto focus

Focusing: Manual vs auto focus

Focusing is a very important part of photography, both technically and visually. Today in this post I will talk more about focusing from a technical aspect. A basic understanding of the camera’s Focus and the proper way of maneuvering it can help you take a lot better photos.  we already know the two options we get in a usual D/SLR are Manual focus and Auto focus.  Though people may have different definitions of its right use I will be talking more about how I have been using it, myself and how much I’ve understood it so far. Since on my research on internet I found that the way I have been using focusing is quite different from what I found. So this post would completely be my understanding. Hope this helps you one-way or the other.
Manual and auto focus

 Portraits :-

Portrait with auto focus

Portrait with auto focus

A trait famous among many photographers and something I follow myself as well is that while one is taking portraits they should focus more on the eye of their subject, this will make the pictures look more of a story-telling and appealing picture, all in all as it portrays the true character of the subject. It could sound amateur-ish to some but honestly, Auto focus makes it a lot easier to focus on the eye of the subject while taking such photos.I definitely have been more successful using auto focus while taking portraits than trying to pro it out using Manual. Again even while taking candid portraits in a crowd I prefer Auto focus, I feel taking pictures is a lot quicker that way so that I don’t miss a shot.

 

Landscape:-

Bride in manang with auto focus

Bride in manang with auto focus

Whenever I go for landscape photography, I again use Auto focus. I feel the auto focus is much faster and is more reliable than using manual focus; as it calculates the exact light and distance of the objects in the frame much faster. After all if you think about it, it’s just technology at work, and let’s be clear on this some of the very best technology. But there are times, when I even experiment with manual focus while talking panorama.

Long exposure

Whenever I am doing long exposure I try to search for the source of Light somewhere in my frame.  When I get something I can try my auto focus on, I crank up my ISO, to get enough exposure in a rather small shutter speed so that I can judge the sharpness, my focus and the composition. Though the image will be a noisy but it will do the job.

Noisy long exposure of in ghandruk

Noisy long exposure of in ghandruk

Once I m done with my focusing parts I lock the focus and set my focusing mode into manual bring back ISO to normal and then experiment with other elements like shutter speed , aperture  and ISO again.

Long exposure in ghandruk

Long exposure in ghandruk

So above  is the long exposure(725 second) I did in ghadruk, I wanted both my foreground and background to be sharp enough, so I set my aperture to f18 to increase the zone of depth of field, later I placed my mobile on the foreground and used  my bright mobile screen  as the source for getting the focus right.  After getting  focus and done with the composition I lock the focus and set my focusing mode into manual .It’s wonderful how much you can experiment in this art of story telling.

 

Shooting through any Object (glass, fence, wires etc)

If I’m shooting through a fence or a glass  or anything basically in between the camera and subject then auto focus may not help sometimes, as it  might focus on the nearest object. However, I have been successful on  getting a sharp pictures in auto focus through clean pieces of glass  and there are time when I have used manual So I guess its more about hit and trial method.

Kagbeni landscape with auto focus

Kagbeni landscape with auto focus

so this is the shot I took while I was traveling back to jhomsom form muktinath. I was being seated at the last seat of the running jeep. The glass was quite dirty  so I cleaned it up and did some try and finally this is what I got. And yes I use the auto focus.

Shooting Bokeh

Finally when I am shooting Bokeh I go complete Manual. Manual focus while shooting Bokeh gives us more control and freedom.

 

bokeh-manual-focus

bokeh manual focus

So this is how I have been working and taking pictures so far.  I would love to see on what you think and how you have been working  with manual and auto focus. Do comments below. Happy shooting.

Next Book and the train

About author

Anup Ghimire
Anup Ghimire 60 posts

Anup ghimire is a self learned Photographer/Designer and recently graduated in multimedia technologies from London metropolitan university.Traveling is something he loves the most after photography. You can see some of his photos at his facebook photography page https://www.facebook.com/intomyviewfinder

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