Master MF

Manual focus gives you maximum control over sharpness. Read on to find out why, when and how to use it Focusing your lens manually can be an intimidating concept, but get to grips with this technique and youensure spot-on focus in every shot. Autofocus (AF) does a good job most of the time, but it does have its limitations —when shooting macro subjects, in low light or with strong backlighting, for example, and when you want to focus on a precise point in the frame. In these circumstances, itbetter to switch to manual focus (MF) and rotate the focus ring on the lens until the subject moves into sharp focus. MF is far more reliable when taking macro shots, when you need to focus very precisely on a specific part of the subject. Alternatively, you could turn the focus ring to a set distance or point and then gradually move the camera towards the subject until it comes into focus. Manual focusing is also a great way to shoot fast-moving subjects that are difficult to track in AF mode. If you know where the subject will be at a critical moment, you can manually focus on that point. When the subject approaches, take a series of shots as it passes through the point of focus to ensure one sharp shot. Using MF for static subjects, like landscapes or architecture, means you donneed to keep refocusing for each shot. By using MF you are effectively locking the focus, which then allows you up to shoot a number of different compositions from exactly the same spot. How to... USE MANUAL FOCUS FOR LANDSCAPES Guarantee sharp scenic shots by optimising and locking focus The problem with AF Imagine a scene of foreground rocks, sea and sky. You set up the tripod, put the camera in AF mode, the centre focusing point is active and you take the shot. The lens will focus on the sea in the middle, but the foreground rocks will be out of focus. Switch to Manual Instead, switch to manual focus by selecting MF or M on the lens barrel. This disables autofocus and allows you to focus the lens manually using the focusing ring until the desired point (the foreground rocks) appears sharp in the viewfinder. Fire away! In MF mode, the shutter button no longer activates focus, so the focus point is locked on the desired spot, allowing you to recompose and take the shot. You can use AF to acquire focus initially, then recompose and switch to MF before taking the shot.

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