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When To Switch To Manual Focus?

When To Switch To Manual Focus? - Autofocus is great, but there are some situations where manual focus will help you produce better shots.

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Digital Camera Operation


Even though autofocus systems, such as the Dual Fast AF available on the new Olympus OM-D E-M1, perform extremely well, sometimes switching to manual focus can work better for you. Here are some of those situations and the reasons why manual focus could be better: 

Shooting in low light - Your camera's auto focus can struggle to find something to lock on to when it's dark. At dusk and dawn too, autofocus might make getting a great photo hard. Switch to manual focus and you'll guarantee that what you want to be in focus is. Shining a light on the area you wish to focus on can sometime help, too. 

Action - Autofocus can sometimes struggle to lock on to fast moving subjects such as horse racing or motorsport. Manual focus will work better here as you can pre focus on a spot that you know the subject will pass through, and all you have to do is press the shutter at the right time to ensure an in focus shot. 

Blocked view - Sometimes when something is in the way of your subject, autofocus will lock on to the obstruction instead of the subject itself, such as grass in the foreground of your landscape shot. With manual focus, you have control so this won't be a problem. 

Close Up Shots - A limited depth of field can make the lens struggle to focus, resulting in the lens searching but not locking on to something. By using manual focus you can tell the lens exactly where you want it to focus, resulting in a sharp image. 

Fog -  A curtain of fog can fool auto focus and instead of focusing on your subject, it'll settle on the fog. By switching to manual focus you'll ensure the subject behind the fog is in focus. 

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