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Manual Focus

Lesson 41 from: Mastering Your Digital Camera

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

41. Manual Focus

Modern autofocus systems have come a long way -- yet there are some subjects that still work best using manual focus. See what subjects work best with this setting -- and how to manually focus the camera.
Next Lesson: Predictive Focus


Lesson Info

Manual Focus

Although we have come to rely more and more on auto focus, there are a few scenarios when it works against you photographing wildlife. Often, I find my subjects were obscured by objects in the foreground, which the camera seems intent on focusing on. In fact, if you've ever tried photographing wildlife, you have discovered the animals carry with them a stalk of grass that they hold up in front of their face whenever a camera is pointed at them. A good example is an animal in a savannah. Take this image. The camera was constantly focusing on the grass and never on the lion. Switching to manual focus enabled me to focus accurately on the lines I before she moved on and the opportunity was lost. Another time I might use manual focus is when photographing a landscape just like the number of points available in modern cameras. You can guarantee there is never one in the exact point in the viewfinder. You need it if I've composed a scene with my camera on a tripod, which, of course it should...

. Bay is often quicker and more convenient to switch to manual focus. Macro photography is another area where manual focus is often a better solution because cameras sometimes stroll to focus automatically at very close distances. There are also times when auto focus simply doesn't work in low light. It may be too dark on because some cameras, relying contrast to retain focus. If there's no contrast, there is no focus. Try focusing on a clear blue sky and you'll see what I mean. In all of these cases on whenever the lens goes into permanent hunt mode, that is when the camera cannot attain focusing the lens keep searching back and forth to in closest focus distance and Infinity Manual Focus provides the quickest, most accurate way to focus the camera. So in most situations, auto focus is your best option, however, is not always the Holy Grail. And there are times when doing it the old fashioned way will save you time and make sure you get the shot that you want. I don't know

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Ratings and Reviews

mark jacobson

What a marvelous course! What a marvelous teacher! When I went to college, my father would always ask me about my professors, more than the courses themselves. He was passionate about learning and although too busy with earning an income to go beyond an undergrad degree, continued to read 50 books a year. I still remember how he'd get almost visibly excited when I'd tell him about some special professor who taught with such enthusiasm and, more than just passion, evident delight and joy in the subject. 'Ah they're the best, son. How wonderful you have such a teacher." Well, he passed away decades ago but if he were still around I'd get a kick out of telling him about Chris Weston, the 'Prof' of this course. He's one of the very special ones: a teacher who's loved and lived his vocation--his avocation--since he was a boy--and still is as excited about it now as he was then. The result: a course that seems to be more a labor of love--of pouring far more energy and thought into the details then one typically finds in these courses--than anything else. Bravo Chris! I'm already on to your next one.


Chris is an amazing instructor who dissects theory giving amazing analogies that bring concepts to life. I have rarely been able to sit through most video course for more than a half-hour but watched this one from beginning to end. A good refresher course if you've been away from the camera for awhile or there are some concepts that still illude you. I highly recommend this course and look forward to watching his others. Thank you for the clarity and great explanations.

Sky Bergman

This was an amazing class. I have looked at a number of basic photography classes. This one was by far the best I have seen. Chris is an exceptional teacher. He breaks things down into digestible information and then inspires you to be creative. Thank you!

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