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8 situations where you should turn off your autofocus
Where you should turn off your autofocus? Why should you focus manually? Justified question, we find. The autofocus on your camera is actually very practical. But there are some real situations where you’d better keep your fingers off the autofocus.
But just a short info on the sidelines: Did you know that there was no autofocus until the mid-1970s?
Some of the most famous pictures have been taken without autofocus. What they can do, we can do!
So when does it make sense to give up autofocus?
1 If you don’t have enough light
You may know the problem. Light is in short supply, you want to photograph a great subject, press the trigger and the engine of your autofocus only drives from one end to the other.
We agree that this is not fun. So our proposal is to turn off autofocus and take matters into your own hands.
2 If your subject has too little contrast
If you stand in front of a gray monochrome wall and try to take a photo, you will realize why little contrast can be a problem.
Because your camera thinks, “It all looks the same. What the hell is the nonsense?” and doesn’t do what you want from it, which is to focus.
And it doesn’t matter if you have a lot of light outside or not.
Monochrome surfaces, but also a continuously blue sky can then become a problem.
Here, too, it makes sense to simply turn off the autofocus.
3 When the weather is modest
Modest weather is actually always doofy, but can also lead to really great photos.
The problem is often that your autofocus with bad weather doesn’t get along so well. If it .B be very snowy or foggy, your autofocus doesn’t know what to focus on now.
In case of doubt, your motive disappears somewhere blurred behind the snowflakes. But hey, some snowflake in the foreground is crisp. If you don’t want to risk it, just put your autofocus off and set it manually.
4 When you’re taking portraits
When you’re taking a portrait of someone, a precise focus is very important. Just imagine the focus is on the ear. Eyes, nose and mouth are slightly blurred. Could look stupid.
That is not what we want. At best, we want to determine exactly to which point the viewer’s attention is drawn.
So that we don’t have to leave this to chance, we prefer to exhibit our autofocus and determine the focus point manually.
5 When your subject moves quickly
Things or people moving fast are not the simplest motives. Especially not if you want to get them sharp on the picture. Even with the continuous autofocus, you are often doofy. Exhibiting the autofocus is really a real alternative.
Try it out. At the next marathon in your city, you grab your camera and best still your tripod, imagine yourself on the wayside and focus on a specific point.
Now you just have to press at the right moment. But in a marathon you have the advantage that you can practice on a lot of people. So, get on with the bacon!
What else you need to consider when you photograph motifs that move quickly, you will also find in our contribution to the shutter speed.
If you sometimes face the problem of your pictures becoming blurred, read our article: 13 reasons for blurry photos.
6 When you’re close to your subject – macro shots
In macro photography, you often have very little depth of field. At the same time, this means that you have to work very precisely with the focus.
Suppose you have a spider in front of your lens and instead of the spider is the ladder on which it sits sharply. Annoying, right?
In situations like this, it’s worth turning off autofocus and manually focusing on the most important things in the image.
Read our article: Camera Purchase Advice: Which camera suits you?
7 If your motive is terrifying
Animals are terrifying, especially in the wild. In addition, they have a really sensitive hearing and are allergic to loud noises.
And no matter how good your autofocus is, it always makes noises. If you don’t want to take the risk, then turn it off.
8 If you want to photograph through something
With us, these are usually windows, e.B. on a plane or only recently when we wanted to photograph the Blue Mosque from the window in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
The autofocus is often overwhelmed and focuses on the window and not on the motif behind it.
The same can happen if you’re photographing through a semi-permeable curtain or fence.
Exhibiting autofocus is often the only option.
Our tip: Photograph with as large aperture as possible (i.e. small number of apertures) and try to go as close as possible to the fence or to photograph through a hole.
With a bit of luck, you don’t even see it in the picture.
Did you know? If you can’t get it right with the aperture and the number of caps, then take a look at our online photo course.
There we explain the basics of technology in simple words and so that learning is fun.
When do you switch off the autofocus? Do you have any questions?
Do you have a question that you really want to get rid of? Then we look forward to your comment!
Read our article: 10 tips for photography beginners