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05-29-2009, 09:43 AM   #1

Which AF option do you use?

I once had a film SLR (of the evil empire) with AF and I got used to a center AF method meaning that I first focused the camera to an object at the desired distance and then decided the composition etc. For me this feels the natural method with a K20D too. The dial on my camera had recently accidentally turned to "SEL" and when I transfered some recent photos to my computer I noticed that in most pictures the focus was in a wrong location. I hadn't noticed it in a semi-fast shooting situation and I'm not used to the AF user-selection to begin with. My gut feeling is that "SEL" option is only suitable for slow shooting when you have the time to ponder upon and check all the technical details carefully. I assume that the selected point AF may also be better when using a tripod as the photographer can't so freely pick a desired center AF point.

But is it so? Which mode (Auto, User-selectable, Center) do you use and does that depend on what you are shooting? Any tips to the eternal newb about how to do this in a better way?


05-29-2009, 10:42 AM   #2
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I can't see how cycling through 11 points, some of which are different shapes and sensitivities, and probably not exactly where you need them, is better than turning the focus ring yourself. I've never tried user-selectable myself, maybe it gets better with practice.

Auto is the best because you get the exciting light show of flashing red dots. Then I ignore them and manually focus.

Center is kind of boring and the single red light just flashes right over my split prism, distracting me from manually focusing.
05-29-2009, 09:29 PM   #3
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Most often, center-and-recompose. Use SEL regularly when using tripod, though occaisionally when shooting portrait mode I might use SEL as well and pick the spot "above" center. I don't usually use 'auto' myself but will sometimes switch to that before handing the camera to someone else--it has been my experience that the vast majority of non-photographers have a very tentative grasp on the need to half-press and check focus before mashing the shutter release. Focus & re-compose is just a little too much to explain.
05-29-2009, 09:43 PM   #4
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With an AF lens, I use centre point AF only, with minor exceptions. I have never even come across a situation where I would want to pick a spot myself. I have used auto select successfully for indoor sports with the DA* 50-135 because centre point was getting the background too often - I tend to lead the players a bit, my choice of how to compose.

05-29-2009, 11:00 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Auto is the best because you get the exciting light show of flashing red dots. Then I ignore them and manually focus.

Center is kind of boring and the single red light just flashes right over my split prism, distracting me from manually focusing.

I use center focus and recompose 99% of the time; user select sometimes if I'm doing closeup work handheld.
05-29-2009, 11:33 PM   #6
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I enjoy selecting the focus points, though of course one often has to focus/recompose even with an outlier point selected.
05-30-2009, 04:05 AM   #7
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Permanently set to center point only, and the damned red square turned off. Then I focus manually 99%+ of the time anyway. I'd be just as happy if they were to remove AF altogether.
05-30-2009, 06:48 AM   #8
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I preferred SEL to select it myself, but on my K20D I find the experience a bit uncomfortable and slower than on my previous camera due to some reasons. I still use SEL the most, then manual or center.

05-30-2009, 09:59 AM   #9
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Count me as another center point focus-recomposer. Yes, I'm well aware that in certain relatively rare situations, the flatness of the focus plane can be such that at with very shallow DOF and a large amount of motion, the technique leads to errors. So in those cases - and they are extremeley rare in practice - I simply focus manually. Most of the lenses I own that are "fast" enough to get DOF that shallow are MF anyhow. But my fast AF lenses have Quick Shift; I doubt I will ever buy an AF lens without it.
05-30-2009, 10:05 AM   #10
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what do you all mean by recompose?
05-30-2009, 11:24 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by houstonmacgregor Quote
what do you all mean by recompose?
This refers to pointing the camera at the subject you want to be in focus, setting the focus using AF.S, holding the shutter release at the half press point to hold the focus, and changing the view through the viewfinder to the composition you had in mind. You recompose to your preferred composition after locking focus on the part of the subject you want to be the centre point of focus.
05-30-2009, 07:15 PM   #12
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Center point or manual, never owned an auto focus camera until my first digital p&s. jim
05-30-2009, 08:34 PM   #13
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Center, Focus, Recompose, Repeat!
05-31-2009, 02:12 AM   #14

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Center point and manual.
Oh and AF decoupled from shutter.
06-02-2009, 03:32 AM   #15
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Centre-focus, AF-C. Mainly because I find the AF-S irritating when it simply freezes or puts the whole matter of whether to take a photo up for committee. That said, AF-C is overly-excitable and sometimes takes photos seemingly randomly focused. It's rather irritating, but it's the most conservative setting

Sure, manual focussing is an option but is it REALLY so bad to expect a camera that comes with 11 autofocus points and two kinds of focus types and three variants would actually be able to MANAGE AUTOFOCUS reliably?

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