Discover the secrets of your camera's focus

Which method is best: Taking a picture with the use of manual focus or set to autofocus mode? How to focus on an object located at the edge of the frame and what effect it produces in the picture? Focus has become an automatic component in the modern camera and no one really sets their mind to it. On the other hand, with the use of manual or automated focus and “half clicks” you can make the best out of every scene. 


How does the camera’s focus work

When we say focus, the intention is that what comes out focused is loud and clear, and whatever isn’t comes out blurry. For example, a child stands close to us and behind him a there’s a group of children playing. While we could see the boy in front clearly and visible, the kids behind may seem a little smeared and not in focus.
In most cases the focus of the camera adjust on the object located in the center of the frame, and ensures that the camera will catch a clear image of the main object and everything around it. (e.g. If you take a picture of a girl standing in the middle of the frame ten feet from us –everything that aligns at the same distance from us will be focused. On the other hand, a cat standing six feet away from the second corner might come out blurry).
The simplest cameras contains fixed focus, which by using in a combination with a relatively closed aperture and a relatively long lens, can make almost every object in the frame sharp (Today, compact cameras also come with relatively sophisticated focus mechanisms).
Advanced cameras, such as the Canon EOS models, allow focus according to the direction of the eye. In these cameras sensors located at the Magnifying detect in which direction the pupil are looking, and focus on the object in these areas.
Another possibility is to select manual focus, which allows you (while rotating the lens, or in simpler cameras pushing some buttons) to choose for yourself the objects in focus, as they are reflected in the view or the LCD screen of your camera.

Manual focus or autofocus- Which one is the best for you?

Some photographers choose to operate their focus manually, because they like the feel of full control over every photo they take. Other photographers choose the convenience of auto focus, which in most cases operates just as if they would adjust it manually. Ironically, auto focus allows the photographer to focus on other parameters affecting the photograph such as the shutter speed the film speed etc..
The use of auto focus can also affect the targeted object while applying the simple technique explained below. With the use of this technique many photographers find themselves often giving up manual focus for the benefit of autofocus.
One of the problems with auto focus is that it often focuses on the object at the center of the frame. But, sometimes you wish to focus on the object located at the edge of the frame (e.g. While applying the rule of thirds). In order to set focus on an object located on one side of the frame – First, position the frame so that the object will be located in its center, press "Half a click" in order to set the autofocus, and then move slightly so that the object will be located at the point of selection. Now, complete the click. The final result you'll receive is a picture with a clear focused object located at the side of the frame.

When it is almost a necessity to use manual focus

There are a few cases in which it is almost a necessity to choose manual focus. Here are some:
  • Shooting flowers and insects – Since insects and flowers tend to move with the wind, autofocus might have a trouble focusing on them. The use of manual focus will ensure that even if the object moves during the shooting - the focus will remain fixated on them.
  • Shooting in haze or strong wind conditions – In a case of haze or strong wind condition, the auto focus mechanism might have a difficulty focusing. Manual focus is the best solution in this case.
  • Low contrast between objects – If the main object and the background are not contrasted enough it might be best to use manual.


Why do objects go blurry - even though the focus was "okay"

Always keep in mind that the focus is not the only parameter that determines the sharpness or blur. There is a blur caused as a result of movement, such as a car or a child running. Another parameter might even be the photographer's trembling hand while taking a shoot. At the same time, remember that as open the aperture is – it is more likely that the objects will turn out blurry. Search pictures of anything you want to get ideas
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