Learning how to focus

Discussion in 'Welcomes and Introductions' started by alaios, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    Dear all,
    I would like to spend some time at home learning the joys of manual focusing. I have the nex-f3 with the 1855 lense.

    I would like someone to explain me the

    1. differences between DMF and MF
    2.Let' say that I want to capture a frame where my main focus is at the left side of my portrait. When I focus with MF sony will zoom in , to center of my frame, to allow me to easier focus. The problem then is that I need to slightly move the camera to the left where my main subject is (and focus has to be clear). B
    efore taking the photo camera should return to the original position so to have the main focus at the left side of the portrait. Would not that lead to a very bad focus? IF someone uses simple maths will see that as I am moving the camera from left to make focus and back again I change the relative position I have with my main subject. What is your take for that case?

    Regards
    Alex
     
  2. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    1. DMF = AF, but you can adjust the focus while holding the shutter button halfway down.

    2. Deactivate the focus magnification and use focus peaking. And no, focusing and then reframing doesn't make the focus "bad" because the distance between the lens and the subjects hardly changes.
     
  3. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    +1 ^ What he said.

    If you've not used focus peaking before (turn the feature on in your settings menu and set to yellow peak colour for now), you will then notice yellow outlines forming around the various shapes in your composition. Then turn your focusing barrel clockwise and anti-clockwise and you will notice that the peaking will shift from object to object.

    Look at the object or shape you want to have the best focus and make sure the 'peaking' is strongest there... when you over-rotate, the peaking will diminish so rotate back and the peaks will strengthen again. If you keep on going, the peaking will diminish again so rotate back again until you establish where the strongest peaking occurs on your subject. This activity is called focus hunting.

    - - -

    One bad habit that you want to avoid during manual focusing is - excessive hunting. No one taught me this when I first started photography and this was something I had to un-learn later on (old habits are more difficult to change). Learn NOT to over-do your focus hunting now - so that you won't pick up this bad habit. The way to do this is to trust in your judgement (because this bad habit is fueled by lack of confidence). When you first reach focus on the object (strongest peaking) keep rotating and go past the focus until you notice it diminish. Then counter rotate the focus barrel to go back and when you reach focus again (strongest peaking) TAKE the shot. Don't be tempted to check and re-check over and over again. Trust your instinct the first time and take the shot. This will train your reflexes. If you have a nagging feeling you didn't get it right (we all do), refocus again - but take your second shot in the same manner. Go past the peak, rotate back to it, take the shot.

    Have fun!
     
  4. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    Oh btw Alex, you need to be mindful of where you start new threads. You placed several in 'Welcomes and Introductions' maybe 'Open Discussions' is a better place for these...
     
  5. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex

    Great I will try to use those soon
    Alex
     
  6. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    I wouldn't bother with DMF if you have a manual lens available. Just set Peaking to Mid and your color of choice (I've found Yellow to work well for day, and White at night). The beauty of MF is that you can forget AF point selection altogether. Just turn your focus ring until the part you want in in focus, and it can be ANYWHERE in the frame.
     
  7. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    I will try thanks :) I will try to get me some lens to try.
     
  8. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    As I will be shooting again with the 1855 kit lense, should I try it with DMF?

    If I understand it right the DMF allows the camera to focus and me to fast tweak the focus if needed. Right??
     
  9. Simsy

    Simsy TalkEmount Regular

    141
    Dec 23, 2012
    yeah that correct I use DMF so the camera can get the focus in the area I want and fine tune from there I find this way a little quicker expeserly if you are changing range a bit. ie going form something close to something far away.
     
  10. Mattithjah

    Mattithjah TalkEmount Veteran

    244
    Jan 17, 2013
    Czech Republic
    Matěj
    ad point 2.: Ouch... If you use fast lens (like f1,8 or f1,4 or even f1,2) and if your focus distace is short (for example portraiture, detail), using recomposing (reframing) after focusing makes focus soooooo bad!!! Depth of field is very thin and any movement of camera cause movement of the plane of focus...
    I shoot macro, I know what about I´m talking. Reframing in macrofotography is impossible.
     
  11. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    As you can't shoot macro with AF or without tripod, reframing isn't possible anyways.

    As for portraits - if you use such a fast lens at such a close distance, MF is your best bet.
     
  12. Mattithjah

    Mattithjah TalkEmount Veteran

    244
    Jan 17, 2013
    Czech Republic
    Matěj
    I´ve never use MF in macro, even if I shoot near to 1:1. It is impossible for my type of macrophotografy - handheld, without tripod, 105 VR lens, high ISO for achieving fast time (1/200). For shooting insect, which move very fast, it is impossible to use tripod...
    (something like this: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2176972828640.106582.1376456563&type=1&l=b8f1bf0e13, https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2726320681993.117291.1376456563&type=3, https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1375959123798.47923.1376456563&type=3, https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2352566058361.109544.1376456563&type=1&l=3e0d837fd3)


    As for portraits - I shoot only "action" portrait (in pubs, parties..) with fast lens, so using MF is also imp...
    (something like this: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4265076069916.148607.1376456563&type=1&l=4e38e2c63f)
     
  13. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    For most of these portraits, reframing wouldn't have had enough effect to get any eye out of focus.

    For the macros - MF is for shots like these much faster than AF on E-Mount cameras, so it's still preferable. And again, I personally would use either a tripod or a steadycam, depending on the subject, in any macro situation - no matter how fast a butterfly is, a steadycam at least gives some kind of additional stability (and per pixel sharpness on high-resolution sensors).