Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Good Photography Tips 3

Alright, assuming you have been following Tip No. 2 and moving away from green box auto, and playing with Program mode for a while, well what next ?

This tip is to encourage you to move away from auto focus point selection. It is called different names by different brand of cameras, and often the name is confusing, such as AI (artificial intelligence), AF (auto-focus) etc.. but basically it is a function where the camera decides the focus point automatically.

Here's a little story. A friend of mine complained that pictures are not as sharp as it should be. I was quite puzzled as the camera used is mid level DSLR (digital single lens reflex) and the lens on it is high quality too !! After browsing some of the photos taken with that camera, it soon dawned on me that the focus point selection is automatic ! That explains why the focus wasn't sharp, because by using the camera in auto focus point selection, nearly all the time, the camera will choose objects nearest the lens to focus on !! That is certainly something you don't want to do always.

When the camera selects the focus point, it could be one, or many.. and mostly these points will be on the near object. If you are using the Creative mode at the same time, i.e. Program, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority or Manual, it could mean an incorrect exposure photo or a photo that turns out unsharp. Hence it is best that you choose the focus point manually rather than let the camera decide.
buffet service

In the photo above, the focus point selected by the camera is unpredictable. However, what do you want the focus point to be ? Is it the spoon, or the plate of vegan food, or anywhere on the buffet tray ?

So the first thing to experiment is to move out of automatic focal point selection. Read up the camera manual for some help as the procedure to do this depends very much on the make and model.

For the Canon 40D for example, to move away from auto focus point selection there are 3 steps. First, press the focus point selection button at the top right of the camera's back. Next, unlock the wheel selector by flipping the switch from "ON" position to the "wheel" position. Finally, you can now turn the wheel and it will scroll through the 9 AF points one by one as seen through the view finder.


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