Canon 7D, Manual Focus for Anticipated Action

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I tend to stick with autofocus for the majority of my work; however, sometimes when photographing fast-moving subjects, focusing manually can actually make it easier to get the shot. In Figure 6.12 I knew that the young girl was going to be jumping straight up, and if I were to rely on autofocus it might try to focus on the wrong part of her body. My goal was to capture her eyes as sharply as possible, so I pre-focused my lens before she jumped. Then when she made her move, I was ready to go and didn’t have to worry about my camera fi nding a new, incorrect focus area.

I knew where the dancer would be jumping, so I manually focused my lens to be sure that the focus area was accurate.
FIGURE 6.12 I knew where the dancer would be jumping, so I manually focused my lens to be sure that the focus area was accurate.

Another example in which manual focus is effective is with panning shots. Because your subject is moving very quickly, you will want to be sure the focus is set on them since you might otherwise miss the shot as they whiz past you. If you know where they are heading, as I did with the motorcycle shot in Figure 6.13, then you can pre-focus your lens rather than rely on the camera to fi nd focus. (I’ll discuss panning photography more in the next section.)

Using manual focus is a good choice when photographing panning images.
FIGURE 6.13 Using manual focus is a good choice when photographing panning images.