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When to use manual focus

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by russell, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. russell

    russell Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2010
    Victoria, Australia
    For many years I only ever used my manual focus OM system. For the past few years I have experienced nothing but frustration from the automatic focus of the cheap point and shoot digital I adopted. Now, contemplating getting a MFT camera I have been reading around trying to understand when and how a properly implemented AE system might be useful. (I'm wondering whether I will be wanting any native lenses apart from the 20/1.7 pancake.)

    I had to laugh at this article

    5 Situations When Manual Focus is Better than Auto Focus

    so thought I might open it for discussion.

    Reading the article, I am struggling to think of any situation that would not fall under at least one of the points listed in that article :rofl:.

    I would have thought moving targets would be a prime instance as these were always amongst the more challenging ones for me with manual focus... but apparently not!

    So, those of you who can competently manually focus -- when do use AE?
  2. Depends on what conditions you tend to photograph in I guess, but with an autofocus lens I would only use MF on the rare occasion that the AF can't do the job, which for me would be less than 1% of the time. MF always feels like an afterthought on modern lenses and doesn't really encourage me to use it. The fly-by-wire focus rings on 4/3 and m4/3 lenses have never felt quite right.
  3. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    That's exactly why I tend to use adapted lenses most of the time.

    • Like Like x 1
  4. I should also add that I come from a background of Canon DSLRs which don't tend to have many autofocus issues even in low light, so I tend to have good faith in autofocus systems.
  5. Danny_Two

    Danny_Two Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2010
    The only time I use manual focus is when trying to take motorcycle racing pics. The auto focus on the G1 isn't good enough for fast moving stuff, so I just manual focus on to a section of the track, and with a healthy aperture try and shoot the bikes.
  6. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I have found that shooting through glass doesn't appear to be nearly as bad a problem with CDAF as it was with PDAF
  7. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran

    As I age autofocus has a greater appeal to me, in fact it is about the only automatic thing on the new cameras that has become my "crutch." I still manual focus for three things, macro photography, zone focus photography and hyperfocus photography.
  8. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I like auto focus just fine. I don't shoot macros as a rule, so no need for MF there. I don't shoot a lot of action but AF seems good most of the time when I do. I tend to use MF in two situations. One, when I'm setting the camera for hyperfocal shooting, which I often do on the street. And two, when I"m using a legacy lens for low light indoor portraits. And this is just because its what's available. If there was a good 50mm f1.4 or f1.5 native m43 lens with auto-focus, I'd buy it and let the AF do its thing. There aren't though, so I use a legacy version of that lens (perfect for low light candids) and deal with the manual focus. I don't mind it - I did nothing but manually focus for many years - but I love auto focus when it works and it works more and more often as it gets better and better.

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