Deal 7: How to make money through your photography
In a recent reader poll we asked readers how they focus their cameras with the hope of gaining some insight in whether our readers are relying upon Auto focus, manual focus or a little of both.
The results are in and it appears Auto Focus is well in vogue with 78% of our readers relying upon it at least half of the time that they shoot. Here’s how the results broke down.
August 1, 2013 06:37 am
I used to focus manually, but something happened after about age 55... between the bifocals, near-sightness and other wonderful age related difficulties, am pretty much forced to use the auto focus. So now am dependent upon the speed in which the camera focuses.
August 1, 2013 06:30 am
I recently rented a 35mm f/2.0 Zeiss. all Zeiss lenses are manual. Absolutely loved it. Focusing was smooth and precise. Obviously you aren't going to be NEARLY as quick as autofocus... unless yours straight sucks. Probably the most enjoyable lens I've ever used.
July 31, 2013 03:04 am
I always think auto focus is a bit like a computer - you take all the amazing things that it can do completely for granted and then, when it occassionally struggles curse and swear at it and accuse it of being a pile of rubbish!
March 31, 2013 01:59 am
Mostly auto I shoot primarily shoot sports and don't have time to manual focus but so I make sure which subject I want in focus use a single point focus.
March 30, 2013 01:15 am
I don't really use manual focus, except when I shoot macro or when the deep of field is too shallow and I want to be absolutely sure that my subject is in focus.
I often lock the focus any time my composition does not place the viewfinder's focus point on the most important part of the scene I'm shooting. Locking the focus means that I deliberately make my camera focus on some object in the scene — a person, or something interesting in the foreground — and keep the focus locked at that exact distance until I take the picture
Hope this helps
February 22, 2012 06:48 am
i would love to say that i use manual most/all of the time, but it is just not possible.
If you need to focus quickly to capture the moment, then auto works great.
Even if you have time to set it manually then I just cant get it as good as Auto-focus.
I must admit, the only time i use manual focus is when i am doing something a little different or complex with the depth of field.
October 16, 2011 11:52 am
Used to trust AF in dynamic mode on my camera, then I noticed some lenses had a tendency to front-or-back-focused. So now, I test all my lenses for focusing issues and the fine-tune them before relying on AF.
October 15, 2011 06:40 am
I have the same problem as Paul, I'm a night club photographer and some times I get blury pictures with more than 3 people I use a Nikon D3100 with a 17-55 mm 2.8, and shoot on manual mode. Set to Auto servo AF-A and Auto-Area AF. Any ideas?
October 15, 2011 05:26 am
I was surprised to find so many shooting manual focus! While not 100% perfect, today's dslrs give pretty accurate focusing. I shoot professionally - weddings and portraits and have my lenses switched to auto focus most of the time. I manually select my focus point and get great results - and my clients love them too! Most of my subjects are moving and most of my portraits involve extremely shallow depth of fields. The view finder simply does not give me the detail I need to be able to fine-tune my focus manually. In fact, if you shoot below f 2.8, you will need a new focus screen (for Canon at least) because the focus screen in the viewfinder is at f2.8. Therefore, focusing manually at say f1.4 would be impossible through the viewfinder. Live View? Forget about it! Unless your subject is willing to hold still for a few seconds...
Bottom line: Using your camera to its fullest, including its highly advanced focusing system is not cheating at all. In fact, it allows you to focus on more important aspects of your photography and get the shot quickly!
Just my 2 cents...
October 14, 2011 09:36 pm
I do some paid nightclub work occasionally and went through a long period of aways shooting with manual focus. The problem in that particular environment is that this will take longer and the people haven't always got the patience to wait for more than a few seconds. Occasionally people will walk off thinking that I have already taken the shot.
A few months ago I switched to auto. This does speed things up which is fine for posed for shots but not so good for candids as the focus will often go through a gap and the moment is lost.
October 14, 2011 07:19 pm
I recently learned a tip via Catherine halls pod cast twit photo re auto focus. I switched auto focus from my shutter button to the AF button on the back via custom functions. In al servo mode it's excellent. Keeping exposure and auto focus seperate. It takes a little getting used to but I now prefer this procedure for auto focus. I use a canon 7d with a single focus point.
October 14, 2011 05:49 pm
This is a real eye opener. I've always tried to stay away from auto as I felt I was cheating (no being a proper photographer) - I will be using it a bit more often now :D
October 14, 2011 04:22 pm
Let be realistic ! Modern photography provides us with now really fast and efficient autofocus ! Much faster and precise than your eye could be in manual. Since digital, I mostly use autofocus, however I disable the shutter button autofocus so that my autofocus is set on pushing AEL/AFL. This allow me to control and reframe.
For sports, my camera is set on 'continuous' autofocus so that it will correct the focus in between frames if I decide to take multiple shots. ( Nikon user since 25years+ , actually D3 and D300)
For street photography, when I use a 28 or 35mm wide angle that allow me enough DOF, I sometimes use manual focus combined with a closed opening of diaph 8 or 11. This gives me enough DOF so that I dont have even to focus. (Based on the principle that " if the photo is not good enough, it's because you are not close enough ! " - R Capa )
October 14, 2011 08:00 am
@garirae: That's still auto. I keep my autofocus on single point in the center. You get the most accurate focus being that it's through the center of the lens. I compose from there. Once I've got my shot I continue pressing the shutter all the way. Done.
Is this some sort of manual auto? You can call it what you want. It's still auto.
My usual lens isn't A & M... it's M/A & M. Meaning I can have it in "auto," half press for focus, manually make an adjustment if necessary, then finish pressing the shutter. It's an auto function but gives priority to any manual adjustments you make after the half press. Other lenses will simply refocus and shoot :/
That, I would consider manual.
October 14, 2011 07:24 am
Manual focus is really not too easy with my Canon SX30. It is fiddly to set, and is no more than a semi-manual way of using autofocus. The huge zoom (35x plus 4x digital) is so good for wildlife photography that is is worth the inconvenience.
October 14, 2011 06:34 am
I used to use manual focus almost exclusively, however, as soon as I rolled over the 50 year line (damn....that was 6 years ago.....gawd...), I have found that regardless of how careful or creative I am, I just can no longer hit the focus manually that I can by using Auto to get a lock and switching to manual. It sucks gettin old....eyesight is shot and golf swing is....well.....just not the same any more :)
If any of you tech gurus out there have a solution to assist me in getting better focus manually, please don't hesitate to drop me an email. Have bought a ton of contraptions to help fix my golf swing.....might as well invest is a few for my second passion. Thanks in advance for any info you can pass along.
October 14, 2011 06:02 am
The result is very surprising for me... In fact 37% (9+13+15) of photographers are using manual focus at least for 50% of their pictures. Wow! I thought that I am in a very small minority loving manual focus... but it seems that MFing is still popular!
October 14, 2011 05:59 am
I use manual exposure 95% is the time and autofocus 100% is the time, except when night shooting. The last several months I've been using the autofocus lock button in conjunction with manually selecting my focus spot. So, im not sure how the poll applies as I'm manually controlling my autofocus. I too would be interested in a poll re the focus mode used.
October 14, 2011 05:58 am
Usally auto the reason being is I mostly shoot Sports Photos and dont have time to use manual. HighSchool Footbal Basketbal Volleybal and such, My subjects just wont sit still while I dial in my Focus. LOL
October 14, 2011 05:40 am
One of t he problems with manual focus with the new autofocus lenses is there is only about an eighth of a turn between closest distance and infinity so very fine focus is difficult. Also the turning is not very smooth which adds to the difficulty.
I pulled out an old (circa 1960s) lens and it is very smooth to operate and rotates over 180 degrees.
I do use manual a lot especially when doing panoramas on a tripod. Nikon says t turn off autofocus when using a tripod.
October 12, 2011 02:39 pm
Mostly auto except when it gets too dark, my subject moves too fast, or I'm using macro. I haven't changed my focusing screen yet but plan on getting a split circle soon so I can use manual focus more often.
October 12, 2011 09:40 am
I had always used manual focus until I was diagnosed with cataracts.
Now I use auto-focus but set to single point.
October 12, 2011 08:49 am
I use autofocus more than I would like. My dilema is I can't wear contacts but don't always wear my eyeglasses unless I'm in front of the computer. That puts me into a major bind : (
October 12, 2011 07:37 am
I usually tend to use autofocus on my canon EOS 7D and my Leica M9 is only manual, so that makes half auto half manual.
October 12, 2011 05:15 am
He's talking about keeping the camera setting manual the f stop, shutter, iso etc. Which has nothing to do with auto focus.
October 12, 2011 03:27 am
Pradyoth said: keep the switch to AF Mode (Auto focus Mode) and keep the camera on Manual Mode. The lens focus the subject automatically but the camera is set by me manually.
What exactly do you mean by setting the camera manually? If the lens is on autofocus you should not have to do anything with the camera for focussing right?
Could you explain please.
October 12, 2011 01:42 am
Recently I have learnt a peculier trick from one my good photographer friend. Since I have some eye problem , my focusing is not so accurate.Hearing this , my friend told me to keep the switch to AF Mode (Auto focus Mode) and keep the camera on Manual Mode. The lens focus the subject automatically but the camera is set by me manually. This procedure gave me a very stunning result. Now , none of my shots are out of focus or blur.
October 12, 2011 12:03 am
Oh auto focus, I almost forgot what that was. Manual rules I get much better results to create what I want.
October 11, 2011 11:38 pm
definitely..i used manual...even i am a beginner...i want to challenge my self ...just bco'z this is a photography.i mean i dont want that the camera leads me of what im going supposed to do ..fashion is necessary when its comes to photography......remember "you wont know until you try"
October 11, 2011 10:52 pm
I don't manual focus using the ring very often however I always control focus by using setting the activate focus to the AF button on the back of my camera and centre signal focus point. So when shooting I choose what I want to focus on, hit the auto focus button, recompose, and then keep shooting until either I get the shot I want, or I want to change the point of focus or the subject moves. This way exposure and taking a frame is seperated from focusing.
This way once I have focused, I can just focus on composition, light and timing.
October 11, 2011 06:18 pm
I Spend most of my time on Manual, admittedly sometimes I want to take a quick photo and I leave the camera on auto, or if I am outside and its a sunny day then auto, but otherwise anytime I want to be sure I get the shot the way I want I use manual.
You can see the photos and check the exif data on my photos since now days I do keep all relevant information attached to the photos, so if you want to have a look please do.
I have become a strong believer in running with manual, its knowing that each shot is how you want and I cannot ever blame the camera if a photo comes out wrong.
I am actually interested in the number of people who run on auto all the time, it should be surprising but it makes sense and besides for many people constant manual control is not why they have a camera.
October 11, 2011 05:36 pm
With my Nikon D3100 I'm almost always shooting single point autofocus. Auto-area seems unreliable, and I haven't shot manual since my Canon AE-1.
October 11, 2011 05:01 pm
Always set on auto (if I see a "sudden event") , afraid to miss a good shot.
My Nikon D700 has pretty good auto focus
October 11, 2011 03:34 pm
My Plog Please support :)
October 11, 2011 01:25 pm
This really surprises me. I have a Canon PowerShot S20IS because I don't want to have to try to remember all the things you are supposed to do with various lenses and I 99% of the time use manual!
October 11, 2011 01:22 pm
I'm not sure where I fit in to the focus this poll. The camera is set to manual but I routinely point a single focus point where I want to focus and press the AFL button to focus. I frequently enlarge the area of focus and fine tune the focus manually.
October 11, 2011 12:22 pm
How about a poll for the type of autofocus??? (these are Nikon)
a) Single Point
b) Dynamic- area AF
c) Auto-area AF
And whatever Canon and everyone else uses :)
October 11, 2011 12:07 pm
I prefer manual, but once in a while auto is just easier, especially when I am in a situation that requires a speedy focus.
October 11, 2011 12:00 pm
I like to use auto focus to get my lens set quick, than switch to manual to fine tune on the eyes f my subject, or maybe a flower or something. I leave my autofocus off until I'm ready to shoot, as it saves on battery :)
October 11, 2011 11:40 am
I am always on manual focus.
October 11, 2011 09:09 am
I'm a little bit of both myself.
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