Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Let's Talk: Manual Focusing

I have a very nice, very expensive 80 mm lens for my camera.  The only problem is that it will not auto-focus on my new camera.  So, I've resolved to work on my manual focusing skills. But it's hard!  
Wouldn't this picture be great - 
if it was as in focus as this one?
And I prefer this composition:
 
but the focus of this photograph:
I did much better with objects that didn't move, like the shells up top or these pieces of beach architecture. Remember you can click on any of these images to enlarge them and see them more clearly.
So, let's talk about manual focusing on a camera. I'm sure I used to do it all the time when I shot with a film SLR camera, didn't I? Why is it so hard? Do you ever focus manually? Do you have any tips to share?
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"Let's Talk" is a semi-regular series designed to inspire frank discussion and sharing of information on issues relating to photography, art and blogging. 

19 comments:

Karen said...

I have to confess that even though I have taken photography classes I never ever turn my camera off auto!

becky ruppel said...

It's a challenge and a good exercise. I have a couple of manual cameras and when everything works right I feel a strong sense of accomplishment. My fav camera is all manual, no batteries. Try using your tripod and manual focusing, then practice off the tripod. When you have a lens that good it's a shame no to use it.

Fiona said...

I have difficulty focussing manually and tend not to use the lens that needs manual focus.

scrappyjacky said...

I'm afraid I find it almost impossible to manual focus....but then, you could have guessed that!!!!!
I do love that third photo.

Mary B said...

I love your photos and even if they are not as sharp as you would wish they are still great shots.
My camera is a so and so to manual focus in fact as Scrappyjacky says almost impossible so only do it when the camera refused to auto focus.

Carolyn Phillips said...

I am happy to do everything else in manual, and usually do - but manual focus terrifies me and I always use AF. Well done you.

Sian said...

I try. I do try..

Cheri said...

It has been rare that I've switched my camera to manual focus. Usually only in those instances when the AF would not focus on the subject I wanted (like trying to photograph a spider's web and the AF insists on focusing on the window screen). I have no advice to offer ... still pretty much a novice myself!

Miriam said...

Manual focus+ tripod is the answer for me and I get on better with the shorter 50mm lens, I tend to wobble with a longer lens! I find the tripod but such a faf to carry around. Must try harder, or buy a bigger bag? now there's a thought...

Elizabeth said...

I tried using my husband's fancy smancy camera and came away with a bunch of fuzzy photos. Think I'd better stay with my Canon point and shoot. That's more on my level. More power to you if you can achieve the results you want with your the lens on your new camera.

helena said...

My eyesight isn't good enough to try manual focus.

For me your composition skills and eye for an interesting shot are so strong that a little bit of blur is a minor matter and I'd only notice if pointed out

Jo Murray said...

I'm a point and shoot girl Rinda. I reckon if you take enough photos you'll get SOME good ones.

Amy said...

I am another one who is happy to use the manual creative settings but feel a sense of trepidation if I venture to shift that little switch right at the bottom of the camera over into manual focus! In fact, the only time to do is to get a complete shot of bokeh or a Christmas tree etc.

I was thinking that the tripod would cramp your style regarding all the sports photography you like, then of course if you ever observe sports photogs, they always use a tripod or monopod .... no doubt because of those huge lenses - but, maybe set yourself up at a soccer match and use the time for practise? When I am trying a new to me photography technique - or lens for that matter - I shoot with it or in that style all the time to force myself to practise, in no time it becomes easier. I would say it will be the same with the manual focus - don't waste the lens!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I pretty much only manual focus when I want to create bokeh or when the auto focus absolutely refuses to focus on the area I want it to - like when much of the photo is black objects or there are too many points for it to focus on the point I want it too. Like Miriam I find a tripod helps me.
And I cannot make it work with moving objects.

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Beverly said...

I, too am one of those that only switches when auto will not focus on what I want the focus to be on. Dh uses the manual pretty often.

Becky said...

I use manual creative settings but never use manual focus!

Karen said...

I use manual focus when I'm using my macro lens, but otherwise I typically use aperture priority.

Jennifer Grace said...

I've tried a few times but I get frustrated and turn it back onto AF! I'll keep trying though! I love the shot of the shells! x