Focus Modes in Digital Cameras

Auto and Manual Focus Modes in Digital Cameras

One of the important phases of shooting a good photo is focusing on the photo's objects. With digital SLR cameras you can see how well the objects in the photo are focused and correct the focus as needed.

Digital Cameras Support at Least Three Focus Modes:
  • Single auto focus: In this mode the camera automatically focuses on the objects in the photo. The camera automatically focuses when you press the shutter button either all the way down to shoot a photo or half way down to lock the focus. This mode is useful when shooting static objects. The camera will run the auto focus process.
  • Continuous auto focus: In this mode the camera continuously focuses on the objects in the photo. The camera will continuously keep the object in focus.
  • Manual focus: This mode allows the photographer to show their creativity and focus on the object according to them. This is the mode in which the automatic camera focus is disabled and the photographer himself decides the object and the primary focus. In this mode the camera does not automatically focus on the objects in the photo. Focus corrections are done manually by moving a focus ring n the lens or pressing focus in and out buttons. When you are happy with the focus you can press the shutter button to take the photo.
The sharpness of a picture depends upon focusing the lens correctly. All digital cameras and lenses offer automatic focusing where the camera focuses the lens on the subject when the shutter is slightly depressed. Move the focus mode switches on the camera and the lens to manual to start focusing manually.

Lenses with bigger focal lengths are the tele lenses while the ones with smaller focal lengths are the wide lenses. Lenses with variable or adjustable focal lengths are the zoom lenses.

Lens Focal Length

The focal length of your lens is it's main characteristic. With a short focal length (wide-angle lens) you can stand close to somebody and still capture their full body size. Opposite, with a long focal length (tele-photo lens) you can stand far away from somebody and still get a close-up picture.

Note: The focal lengths given here are by the "35mm equivalent" scale. It is often said that the fish-eye and wide-angle lenses provide an exaggerated perspective and a large depth of field (depth of focus). The thing about the exaggerated perspective comes about since, with a wide-angle lens you'll normally go closer to your subject in order to fill your frame. With a 200 mm lens however, you'll normally take a few steps back, thereby changing your perspective. Once you've decided on your distance and viewpoint, just zoom your lens to the focal length that fills the frame with a nice composition.

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Focus Modes in Digital Cameras

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