Autofocus mayhem

Pawel Olas · March 12, 2010 · photography · 1 comments

Recently I failed to take a photo I wanted:

For some reason focus is not where it should be. Maybe I moved, maybe my girl did or maybe autofocus just screwed it. The reason doesn’t matter. What matters is that I have no picture.

And this made me think how much I relay on autofocus and how it actually complicates process of taking pictures.

My usuall workflow is as follows:

1. Measure exposure
2. Focus on the subject
3. Frame and take the photo.

those three simple steps require a lot of reframing. Pick points to measure exposure, focus on something and only finally take a photo. A subject moved after you focused on it? Ah, reframe autofocus and try to frame quickly again. This is how I was taking photos for years. This is just pure pain. What I want is to frame and adjust stuff later constantly seeing the picture. So…
I set the camera to manual focus (on top of manual exposure turning it to a device from last century). What a bliss!! Taking photos without the need of reframing to set the focus is so much better. Once my exposure is set I can keep the framing I want and just adjust the focus. And the best part is that I can take the photo anytime. In the autofocus mode my camera doesn’t let me if the focus is not locked on something. You probably know the pain of missed photos because of that (or maybe you have a better camera)

The drawbacks of this setup is that the lenses are not really designed for manual focus anymore and even tiny rotation of focusing ring affects dof a lot. But it is still a lot better.

Some shots with all set to manual:

  1. love these pics – she’s growing up. we just had our second girl in jan, thanks for the link to the anims.

    joe alter · April 29, 2010

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