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Thread: How to Focus correctly?

  1. #1

    Default How to Focus correctly?

    Hi all,

    I am new to DSLR and i am currently using a Canon EOS 400D. Like many newbies photographer, some of my photos turn out blur. I believe it is because i do not know how to manual focus properly.

    I will look through the viewfinder and adjust the focus. Many a times, it may look "sharp" to me (even though the "focus points" did not appear) and i will press the button fully. When i go through the photos on the computer, i get a huge disappointment.

    How do i do it correctly? Attached is one of my not-so-clear pic (it may seems fine here when it has been resized but the original is blur)


    Exposure Time: 1/125sec
    ISO Speed: 400
    Mode: Program
    F-stop: f/7.1
    Metering Mode: Pattern?
    Taken in Broad daylight

    I selected AI FOCUS AF for all my shots.

    Also, can you advice which mode to use when taking pictures in general? I am usually using A-DEP or P though i cant really tell the difference between them.

    Apperciate all tips and advises. Thanks!
    Last edited by kerinong; 11th October 2009 at 12:26 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to Focus correctly?

    Manual focus on AF lens isn't as easy as using manual focus lenses, especially zooms, I find. The travel of the focus ring is very little to get from the minimum focusing distance to inifinity, making it very hard to be precise. I would say other than primes, use AF and make sure the focus point is on your subject.

    As to which mode, there's no fixed way. Different modes has different uses. If you are clueless about what modes does what, use P mode meanwhile, and read up on the uses of the different modes. P mode is like using a normal point & shoot though.
    incywincyspider climbup the waterspout...

  3. #3
    Deregistered rgy1993's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Focus correctly?

    one quick thing...
    did you change the diopter thing on the viewfinder?
    i've dont that accidentally before... looks sharp but only because its going through the diopter at like minus something... then come back and its like :O haha

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to Focus correctly?

    Also, remember that you're doing manual focus on a really tiny viewfinder. It's not the right tool for the job.

    Also: Doesn't the 400D have a focus confirmation icon in the viewfinder?
    Alpha

  5. #5
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Focus correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by kerinong View Post
    Hi all,

    I am new to DSLR and i am currently using a Canon EOS 400D. Like many newbies photographer, some of my photos turn out blur. I believe it is because i do not know how to manual focus properly.

    I will look through the viewfinder and adjust the focus. Many a times, it may look "sharp" to me (even though the "focus points" did not appear) and i will press the button fully. When i go through the photos on the computer, i get a huge disappointment.

    How do i do it correctly? Attached is one of my not-so-clear pic (it may seems fine here when it has been resized but the original is blur)


    Exposure Time: 1/125sec
    ISO Speed: 400
    Mode: Program
    F-stop: f/7.1
    Metering Mode: Pattern?
    Taken in Broad daylight

    I selected AI FOCUS AF for all my shots.

    Also, can you advice which mode to use when taking pictures in general? I am usually using A-DEP or P though i cant really tell the difference between them.

    Apperciate all tips and advises. Thanks!
    Your photo looks slightly out of focus, but also rather overexposed.
    ISO 400 not necessary for bright daylight. Might as well go as low as possible.
    Your camera's meter was probably fooled by the abundance of white on the pillars.
    Exploring! :)

  6. #6

    Default Re: How to Focus correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by kerinong View Post
    Hi all,

    I am new to DSLR and i am currently using a Canon EOS 400D. Like many newbies photographer, some of my photos turn out blur. I believe it is because i do not know how to manual focus properly.

    I selected AI FOCUS AF for all my shots.

    Also, can you advice which mode to use when taking pictures in general? I am usually using A-DEP or P though i cant really tell the difference between them.

    Apperciate all tips and advises. Thanks!
    Were you focusing your lens manually or using auto focus?

    As Rashkae mentioned, trying to focus manually (IF that is what you did) on a small viewfinder (VF) and a focusing screen (inside the VF) not designed for manual focusing is very much a hit-n-miss affair.

    For a start, use auto focus and P or A mode. Make sure the switch on your lens is set to 'AF'.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to Focus correctly?

    There is no need for manual focus for such scene. Stick to auto focus and focus lock on the area intended. That will be easier.

    Multi point focus does not always auto select the correct object for you like P&S, so switching to different focus point on the VF is the best. But in the example of the truck, bec it is big and uniform, focus lock will be sufficient.

    Focus lock and recompose method is not suitable for close up as lens position shift is too great resulting of initial point to be off, even for P&S. FYI
    Last edited by spheredome; 11th October 2009 at 09:54 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to Focus correctly?

    Hi all,

    Thank you so much for the helpful replies!

    I Manual Focus through the tiny view finder. Gosh.. Is this not the right way? It is no wonder that i get blur pics cause i find it extremly difficult to see from the viewfinder whether is it sharp a not.

    In what case do we want to use Manual Focus?

    "I selected AI FOCUS AF for all my shots." = There is a setting for AF mode. ONE SHOT, AI FOCUD, AI SERVO. If i select MF on the camera, this will not apply?

  9. #9
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Focus correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by kerinong View Post
    In what case do we want to use Manual Focus?

    "I selected AI FOCUS AF for all my shots." = There is a setting for AF mode. ONE SHOT, AI FOCUD, AI SERVO. If i select MF on the camera, this will not apply?
    All three modes are AF modes, but you want to use MF. Got the idea? Read about how these modes work and what is the main purpose / intention.
    In MF, the camera will use the AF sensors and signal you once the object appears sharp to AF sensors. (Let's put aside why you want to use MF in such a situation.)
    In AF, the camera will lock the focus and give a confirmation (AF confirmation => see manual). But this only happens in One Shot and AI FOCUS. In mode AI SERVO you won't get any confirmation because the focusing system is permanently working and actually never achieves a final state. (See manual.) So if you use AI Servo for MF you don't get any confirmation - on top of the tiny viewfinder without focusing aid.
    My advice: Use AF with One Shot, it's faster and much more precise. AI FOCUS is only if you know that your main target might move accidentally. If you need to use MF (e.g. low light) use One Shot. For any adventures into MF you better get MF lenses and think about focus screens (a.k.a. split screen).
    EOS

  10. #10

    Default Re: How to Focus correctly?

    - When you use a lens that the camera cannot comm with auto focus or no motor.
    - Macro, close up when you want to pick the sweet spot.
    - When the autofocus is not picking the right point. When you keep the shutter half-pressed, you can still turn the focus ring to make adjustment.
    - Lens got back/front focus issue.
    - Using very long zoom on tripod.
    - When you like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by kerinong View Post
    Hi all,
    ......
    In what case do we want to use Manual Focus?
    ....?

  11. #11

    Default Re: How to Focus correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by kerinong View Post
    Hi all,
    ..
    In what case do we want to use Manual Focus?
    ..
    I use manual focus when auto focus is not getting the focus no matter how many times you tried like when my subject is too near that it is already below the lens minimum focusing distance, I also use it when I prefocus on an area, this is usually when I want to freeze action and the subject will be too fast that the additional time to autofocus will make you miss the action..

  12. #12

    Default Re: How to Focus correctly?

    Thanks for all the tips~ i guess for starters it takes a few hits and misses to learn

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