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Manual or Auto Camera Focus

Focusing your image will be the most important step in taking a picture. All of the other things will be extraneous and it will not matter how much you composed your shot or chose the right shutter speed. If your image is not in focus, your image will be ruined.

To start with, you will need to determine if your camera will allow you to control the focus. If you have a point and shoot style digital camera, you may not have this control and the camera may use auto focus only. However, if you have an SLR camera, then you will have the option to switch over to manual. Manual focus can be changed on the SLR camera right on the side of the lens. Look for a switch that allows you to choose between “M” and “A”.


Let’s start by discussing autofocus since it is the easiest to use and most commonly used by photography beginners. When you use your camera, it will usually take a picture whenever you tell it to, even if it has not had time to focus. This means that even with an easy auto feature, you could still end up with blurry pictures. There is a simple solution to this problem. All you need to do is depress the shutter release only partly. When you do, you will see your camera lens focusing. When it is done, you can press the shutter all the way down to take a clear picture.

In order to get the most focused image with autofocus, here are some tips to follow. Always use the right shooting mode. If you are taking pictures of any sort of action, the sports or action mode will make it easier for your camera to take a clear, crisp image. Look for little lights in the viewfinder or on the screen as well. They are usually in a row of three. Your camera will try to autofocus on what it thinks is the most important thing in the frame. The light in that section will light up. However, you may want to focus on another subject. In most cameras, if you depress the shutter release halfway again, the camera will adjust its focus. That way, you can make sure the right part of the picture is clear and crisp.

Now, let’s talk about the manual focus if you have a camera that allows it. Generally, you will only be able to control this manually if you have an SLR camera. That means, the first thing you will need to do is look on the lens and then flip the switch to manual. After this, the camera will make no attempt at all to focus the shot. To control it yourself, you will need to put your hand on the lens (not the lens itself mind you – but the barrel of it near the front. This focus control will be closer to the lens than the zoom control). You will then need to turn this part of the lens carefully.

When you do this, the image will start to come in and out of focus. Experiment for a while and see the extent of what the lens can do. You may want to go from one end of the spectrum to the other and then start turning it back carefully to get the image focusing you want.

Manual controls will take some time to learn. Do not be frustrated if the first few images you try are blurry. The great thing about digital cameras is that you can take as many pictures as you want without cost. You can practice plenty with the manual controls when you do not need to get the perfect picture.

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