In today’s world of responsive technology, shooting successful imagery has never been easier. It’s hard to believe that not so long ago, a jostling Fleet Street photographer would have had no choice but to focus manually in the photo scrum, as would sports photographers.
Can you imagine tracking a fast-moving tennis pro without lightning-quick AF? Thankfully, today every camera, from the humble mobile phone to a consumer SLR, has a sophisticated and accurate AF system.
One of the first rules of photography is that the subject should be sharp. Most modern cameras offer a number of ways of achieving sharp photos, and in this post we’re going to look at the most important digital camera focus techniques and the best settings to use. We’ll look at how to select the AF point and which focus mode to use.
Most photographers love landscape photography as it gives you a chance to get out into the countryside with your camera. But it can often be hard to get scenic shots that are as sharp as you want. It is not just a matter of setting a small aperture and using a tripod, you need to take full control of depth of field. In this tutorial we’ll explain step-by-step how to take sharp photos every time you shoot.
Taking group pictures isn’t easy. But while you can’t stop cheesy grins, you can make sure faces are in focus by learning how to control the depth of field.
Taking sharp pictures of a moving target can be a real challenge for photographers of all levels of abilities. In our latest guide of advanced camera tips and expert advice we answer some of the common questions about how to use autofocus with moving subjects and explain how to choose and use the right AF mode.
Focus is usually achieved by half-pressing the shutter-release button, but it’s also possible to customise most SLRs so that a button on the back of the camera – usually marked AF-ON or * – activates autofocus instead. This function, often used by professional photographers, is called ‘back button focus’.
What is hyperfocal distance? Hyperfocal focusing is a specialised application of depth of field theory that’s perfectly suited to landscape photography. Calculating hyperfocal distance actually quite simple to get your head around.
When managing depth of field, you need to think in terms of the zone of sharp focus as a distance range, from the near limit (the closest object that will appear sharp) to the far limit (the farthest). With hyperfocal focusing, you place the far limit at infinity, and this automatically maximises the depth of field available.
Why should you learn how to use manual focus (MF or M), especially with all the amazing advances in autofocus (AF or A) technology? Well, there’ll be times when all the AF points in the world won’t help you get sharp shots. Often, activating MF is the only way of beating the dreaded blur.
Macro photographers often use manual focus to dictate their focus point. So do low-light shooters and photographers working in tricky situations, such as shooting through glass, or perhaps focusing on a distant horizon on a misty morning, when autofocus may struggle to get a lock. Sports photographers benefit from pre-focusing in manual focus, especially if they can predict exactly where the action is going to take place.