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Thread started 24 Jan 2011 (Monday) 11:37
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Using manual focus point selection vs. auto

 
aprikh1
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Jan 24, 2011 11:37 |  #1

Recently I started using the center focusing point, and re-composing as my primary focus method. As I was reviewing my pictures from the last few weeks, I noticed that in a lot of cases I missed the focus, and my overall keeper rate had gone down. I understand the advantages of using the center focus when dealing with razor-thin DOF, or in challenging shooting conditions; however, I find myself missing the shot because I am too busy trying to focus on something and recomposing.

What percentage of time does everyone use the manually selected focus point vs. using all of the available focus points and letting the camera make the focusing decision? To provide some background, I shoot just about everything, and my equipment is a 5d MK II, 24-105, and a 70-200F4.

Cheers, Alex


  
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egordon99
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Jan 24, 2011 11:48 |  #2

aprikh1 wrote in post #11704692 (external link)
using all of the available focus points and letting the camera make the focusing decision?

WHY would you let the CAMERA make such an important decision???? Might as well not bother trying to compose the photograph either...




  
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gonzogolf
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Jan 24, 2011 11:52 |  #3

I cant imagine you will find any accomplished photographer that enables all focus points. Only you can decide what you want in focus. You mentioned focusing and recomposing, but you dont have to rely on just the center point, the outer points will do fine in most circumstances.




  
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edge100
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Jan 24, 2011 13:30 |  #4

I generally just hold the camera up above my head, press the AF-ON button, and fire away. After about a thousand frames of this, I generally get one or two keepers. Should I be doing something different???

Pick your focus point!!!


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lannes
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Jan 24, 2011 14:08 |  #5

rather than the using the center point and recomposing, +1 select your af point according to the composition.


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edge100
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Jan 24, 2011 14:23 |  #6

lannes wrote in post #11705612 (external link)
rather than the using the center point and recomposing, +1 select your af point according to the composition.

Focus and recompose is one thing; I do that all the time, especially in low light where the outer points on my 5DII (and even my 1DII) let me down sometimes.

But allowing the camera to choose the focus point is quite another thing.


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tkbslc
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Jan 24, 2011 14:30 |  #7

You guys are being a bit over the top here with some of these comments. You can easily see where the camera is focusing from the confirm lights, so it's not just guess work if you use auto point selection. On some targets, I prefer it so I can see if multiple parts of the frame fall into the DOF.


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Snydremark
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Jan 24, 2011 14:32 as a reply to  @ edge100's post |  #8

While there are some situations where letting the camera pick the focus point works, MOST of the time it isn't focusing where you want it to. I always use manually selected focus points at this stage. The first thing I did when I got my 7D was go in and simply disable those selections so I don't even have to cycle through them when choosing focus modes.

If it's timing in recomposing, stop doing that ;) Your camera has multiple focus points for a reason; go ahead and use them. It isn't at ALL uncommon for your success rate to drop for a while when you're getting the hang of controlling a new portion of your images, but it's definitely worth it to get the skills built up so you aren't relying on the camera's system of figuring out what you're trying to do (which is, basically, a wild-assed guess.


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"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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sandpiper
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Jan 24, 2011 14:36 as a reply to  @ edge100's post |  #9

I never enable 'all-points' to let the camera choose where to focus, it has no idea what my subject is, so is likely to focus on a fence post that happens to be a bit nearer instead. I like to decide for myself what I focus on. I probably use centre point & recompose about 30% of the time, depending on what I am shooting. Most of the time I will be using whichever point is nearest the subject and (if I am in one shot mode) recompose slightly if necessary. Much of the time though I use AI servo, so place the nearest point on the target and track / shoot with it there. Focus recompose needs a bit of care, especially at wide apertures, to avoid problems. It is always preferable to hoping the camera guesses correctly where you want it to focus, however.




  
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edge100
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Jan 24, 2011 14:38 |  #10

tkbslc wrote in post #11705727 (external link)
You guys are being a bit over the top here with some of these comments. You can easily see where the camera is focusing from the confirm lights, so it's not just guess work if you use auto point selection. On some targets, I prefer it so I can see if multiple parts of the frame fall into the DOF.

Really??? I paid $2300 for my 5DII so that it could decide that, in fact, my subject's nose should be in focus at f/1.4? I think not.

If multiple parts of the frame are in focus, then focusing on any one of them would be fine, non?

Is it really that hard to do the following??

1. Get an accurate exposure reading
2. Set f/stop and shutter (and ISO, if necessary)
3. Choose a focus point that is relevant for the composition
4. Acquire focus
5. Press shutter button

Seriously; I paid all this money for great equipment so that I could be in charge and use my experience to create the image that I want. Seldom does the camera know what I want; we're just not that tight.


Street and editorial photography in Toronto, Canada (external link)
Mirrorless: Fujifilm X-Pro1
Film: Leica MP | Leica M2 | CV Nokton 35/1.4 | CV Nokton 40 f/1.4 | Leitz Summitar 50 f/2 | Canon 50 f/1.2 LTM | Mamiya 7 | Mamiya 80 f/4.0 | Mamiya 150 f/4.5 | Mamiya 43 f/4.5
How to get good colour from C-41 film scans (external link)

Digitizing film with a digital camera (external link)

  
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edge100
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Jan 24, 2011 14:41 |  #11

Snydremark wrote in post #11705740 (external link)
If it's timing in recomposing, stop doing that ;) Your camera has multiple focus points for a reason; go ahead and use them.

Why? Not all AF points are created equally, so why expect that all AF points are equally capable of acquiring focus?

Focus and recompose is a legitimate compositional tool, which can even be used with wide f/stops, provided the user understands how the focal plane is affected by moving the camera at an angle to the lens axis. I wouldn't use it for macro photography, but for general use at normal portrait distances, the change in the focal plane is usually far smaller than the DoF.


Street and editorial photography in Toronto, Canada (external link)
Mirrorless: Fujifilm X-Pro1
Film: Leica MP | Leica M2 | CV Nokton 35/1.4 | CV Nokton 40 f/1.4 | Leitz Summitar 50 f/2 | Canon 50 f/1.2 LTM | Mamiya 7 | Mamiya 80 f/4.0 | Mamiya 150 f/4.5 | Mamiya 43 f/4.5
How to get good colour from C-41 film scans (external link)

Digitizing film with a digital camera (external link)

  
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kjonnnn
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Jan 24, 2011 14:43 |  #12

It seems like more money we pay for technology, the more we choose not to trust it. LOL.




  
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lkrms
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Jan 24, 2011 14:43 |  #13

What sort of subjects are you shooting? What sort of apertures are you using?


Luke
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edge100
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Jan 24, 2011 14:49 |  #14

kjonnnn wrote in post #11705793 (external link)
It seems like more money we pay for technology, the more we choose not to trust it. LOL.

What more money (usually) buys us is more options. More AF points to use in the appropriate situations, for instance.


Street and editorial photography in Toronto, Canada (external link)
Mirrorless: Fujifilm X-Pro1
Film: Leica MP | Leica M2 | CV Nokton 35/1.4 | CV Nokton 40 f/1.4 | Leitz Summitar 50 f/2 | Canon 50 f/1.2 LTM | Mamiya 7 | Mamiya 80 f/4.0 | Mamiya 150 f/4.5 | Mamiya 43 f/4.5
How to get good colour from C-41 film scans (external link)

Digitizing film with a digital camera (external link)

  
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tkbslc
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Jan 24, 2011 14:52 |  #15

kjonnnn wrote in post #11705793 (external link)
It seems like more money we pay for technology, the more we choose not to trust it. LOL.

That's what I'm thinking.

"I paid all this money so I could do all the work!" :lol:

You have a viewfinder. You can see where it is focusing and correct it if needed via manual selection or manual focus. To me it is no different than using AV or P mode and having to use +/- EC or meter and recompose to correct metering errors.


Taylor
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Using manual focus point selection vs. auto
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