Auto vs Manual Focus

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    • #36627
      AvatarChino
      Participant

      I have been told by every source that one should always use the manual functions on one’s camcorder, especially the manual focus. I have a Sony VX 2000 and have found my auto focus to be quite good. I have owned some camcorders that had problems auto focusing, esp. in low light, but the Sony is really impressive.
      I can turn on the local news in the evening and see many shots (usually from remote locations) where the focus goes in and out a couple times before staying in focus. The expert camera operators are having problems getting the shot in focus. I see this much more frequently with professional evening news cameramen using manual focus than I do in my own videos using the auto focus.
      Just wanted to share this.

    • #162838
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      chino,

      i’m not familiar with your camera but if it’s like every other camera that auto focuses then it focuses on the object in the center of the screen. if you’re shooting a wedding and the bride is on the left side of the screen and the groom is on the right side of the screen and they’re facing each other, as you start to zoom in, whatever object is beind them (in between their faces) will be in focus and the bride and groom will be out of focus.

      i understand what you’re saying about news photogs. usually when the anchor tosses to the reporter, he/she is in focus but if the reporter moves or the camera moves to shoot the scene then the photog has to refocus.

      if the photog zooms in, focuses on the scene, then zooms out, the reporter will be “soft” or out of focus.

      i hope this helps.

    • #162839
      AvatarChino
      Participant

      DSR-200 Wrote:

      chino,

      i’m not familiar with your camera but if it’s like every other camera that auto focuses then it focuses on the object in the center of the screen. if you’re shooting a wedding and the bride is on the left side of the screen and the groom is on the right side of the screen and they’re facing each other, as you start to zoom in, whatever object is beind them (in between their faces) will be in focus and the bride and groom will be out of focus.

      i understand what you’re saying about news photogs. usually when the anchor tosses to the reporter, he/she is in focus but if the reporter moves or the camera moves to shoot the scene then the photog has to refocus.

      if the photog zooms in, focuses on the scene, then zooms out, the reporter will be “soft” or out of focus.

      i hope this helps.

      Thanks for the reply!
      I have not shot weddings, but I can imagine what you are talking about. The only problem I have had with auto focus is when a person walks between the camcorder and the subject. Then it will try to focus on the passing person momentarily. I solve this by auto focusing on the subject, then switching to manual focus. The camcorder will stay focused on the subject no matter what strolls in front of it.
      Once again, I LOVE my auto focus!
      Thanks again for the input.
      Anyone else? πŸ˜€

    • #162840
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Chino,

      the only thing I would add to this is practicing manual focusing while zooming gives you the ability and confidence to focus on the fly when you learn. Autofocus is ok to get a quick lock but I rarely use it. Sometimes you will see video where the camera operator adjusts the focus abit each direction to make sure the shot is in focus and keep in mind that the pro’s who collect video for news ops are using those small viewfinders and usually do not have the luxury of a 4″ LCD display on the side of the camera. πŸ˜€

    • #162841
      AvatarChino
      Participant

      Johnboy Wrote:

      Chino,

      Sometimes you will see video where the camera operator adjusts the focus abit each direction to make sure the shot is in focus and keep in mind that the pro’s who collect video for news ops are using those small viewfinders and usually do not have the luxury of a 4″ LCD display on the side of the camera. πŸ˜€

      Thank you for the input! I want to learn for all of you! However, you kind have made my point.

    • #162842
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Autofocus does have its place, but if you want to be able to control the mind of your viewer ( }:-) ) you’re going to want to use manual. I assume you use manual iris and exposure already. The focus of the camera is the focus of the audience’s eye. With that in mind, do you want to risk the audience getting distracted by an overweight monster who just lumbered past the camera, or maintain focus on the actor/speaker while an out of focus and indescribable blur shifts past. I’d rather go with the non-distraction that comes with the use of manual, than gamble my footage on a laziness caused by dependancy on auto.

      πŸ˜‰

    • #162843
      AvatarChino
      Participant

      Jonathan Decker Wrote:

      Autofocus does have its place, but if you want to be able to control the mind of your viewer ( }:-) ) you’re going to want to use manual. I assume you use manual iris and exposure already. The focus of the camera is the focus of the audience’s eye. With that in mind, do you want to risk the audience getting distracted by an overweight monster who just lumbered past the camera, or maintain focus on the actor/speaker while an out of focus and indescribable blur shifts past. I’d rather go with the non-distraction that comes with the use of manual, than gamble my footage on a laziness caused by dependancy on auto.

      πŸ˜‰

      I sometimes use the old trick of having auto focus find the sharp focus, then switching to manual focus. I use auto focus exclusively when I’m “running and gunning” though.

    • #162844
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Wow, I sounded harsh…

      I promise, I wasn’t calling you lazy. πŸ™‚

      As long as your customer is happy with it and you (as your worst critic) are too, then great. Go for it.

    • #162845
      TheDVshowTheDVshow
      Participant

      Keep in mind too that auto focus sucks out more battery juice than using manual focus.

    • #162846
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Hmm, from reading this i didn’t get the impression there were any pros here at all. It would seem to me that pros might be a bit too busy for this forum.

      That said. Use manual.

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