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Do You Use Auto-focus?  
User currently offlineEGGD From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 12443 posts, RR: 35
Posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3425 times:

I personally don't.

Its too slow and sometimes doesn't even focus at all (just misses the stop). Its really hard on approach, although not so bad with aircraft taxiing or parked at the Gate etc.

Is it possible to catch an aircraft approaching or rotating with an SLR auto-focus lense?

Cheers

Dan

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineLewis From Greece, joined Jul 1999, 3678 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3336 times:

I always use autofocus. How can you possibly use manual on a moving subject? I set the focus mode of my EOS 30 on servo and the focus doesn't lock, it just follows the moving subject until I press the button. Very useful feature. My lens is also ultrasonic and it focuses very fast, so no problems there either. Have you considered buying a new lens? What camera do you own?

User currently offlineEGGD From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 12443 posts, RR: 35
Reply 2, posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3325 times:

Old Minolta 7000e w/ Sigma 70-210 and 70-300  Smile

Very slow, very rubbish (i need a new camera Big grin)

Cheers

Dan


User currently offlineEBOS From Belgium, joined Jul 2001, 520 posts, RR: 48
Reply 3, posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3325 times:

I used a Minolta 7000 with Sigma 60-300 some years ago. Rather slow indeed.

My new Minolta 505si with Minolta 75-300 is much faster. I always use auto focus, except for take off pics on a wet runway

eBOS



An-225 stalker: 1 x LUX, 1 x EIN, 1 x DXB, 2 x SHJ, 3 x CGN
User currently offlineEGGD From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 12443 posts, RR: 35
Reply 4, posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3316 times:

Hi, i was thinking about buying a new camera but this one was given to me by my Uncle 3 months ago and he said when i was going to buy a new one that he would buy it off me for £100. I'd feel a bit guilty if he'd given it to me and then i sold it back to him straight away  Sad

Cheers

Dan


User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 19
Reply 5, posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3305 times:

How can you possibly use manual on a moving subject?

People have been doing it for decades... When the subject is moving fast or is small I usually turn it off.

Set focus at near infinity and adjust smoothly as the subject comes closer.



I wish I were flying
User currently offlineEGGD From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 12443 posts, RR: 35
Reply 6, posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3302 times:

Manual focus is quite easy with my camera, it has 2 red arrows and a green circle LED at the bottom and when it is out of focus the red arrow flashes which way you need to turn the lense until it is perfect and the red arrows dissapear and it beeps + Green light appears

Cheers

Dan


User currently offlineWestern727 From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 753 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3302 times:

Well, since my camera only has manual...(Canon T 60: It's a few years old)

Even so, I don't have any trouble focusing on moving objects. I can see where auto-focus would be useful if it worked well though. My camera is equipped with aperature and shutter speed priority. I use those very often because I don't have to mess with the exposure while I'm trying to capture something moving. And usually there is enough light that messing with the depth-of-field in the photograph usually isn't an issue.



Jack @ AUS
User currently offlineLewis From Greece, joined Jul 1999, 3678 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3295 times:

I have been an SLR user for a bit more than a year and I don't think that I can manage to use manual focus on approaching aircraft. I have to pay attention to the exposure and make sure that the aircraft is correctly framed. If I manage to get used to those, maybe I can try to spend some time on MF.

User currently offlineJan Mogren From Sweden, joined Dec 2000, 2043 posts, RR: 50
Reply 9, posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3300 times:

The viewfinders of Autofocus cameras are Not suitable for manual focusing. The focusing screen of manual cameras are.
The AF ones are too bright (yeah, sounds weird!) and are not ground the way they should to allow manual focusing.
It LOOKS sharp in the viewfinder, yeah, but when you check your slide with a 10x loupe you find out...
/JM



AeroPresentation - Airline DVD's filmed in High Definition
User currently offlineLGW From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3284 times:

I always use auto-focus, I have had no problems with any photos I have taken, including rotation and landing shots etc

LGW


User currently offlineDa fwog From United Kingdom, joined Aug 1999, 867 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3286 times:

Depends on the subject and its motion and framing as to how easy it is to manual focus. Those of us using autofocus are probably more concerned about twsiting the zoom ring to ensure the aircraft is framed correctly while letting the camera take care of the exposure or focus. Those people who are adjusting the exposure themselves - doesn't your camera have aperture priority or shutter priority? If it has, turn it on! You have enough to worry about without asjusting the exposure manually!

In many cases, you can prefocus the camera before the aircraft comes into view, if you know where you're going to take the shot. Just don't prefocus on infinity and think you'll get away with it! Best thing to do is either: focus on an object on the ground that will be the same distance away as the aircraft (e.g. a tree under the flight path, or the runway lights etc.), OR prefocus on one aircraft going past, and then use this focus point to photograph the following aircraft. But if you're going to do this, it helps to be using an aperture of F8+, as this will give you a little (but only a little) latitude with depth-of-field. (You also need to make sure the focus doesn't slip between shots)

Jan, you're right about the focusing screen on autofocus cameras, but most, like Dan's, have a way of detecting if the image is in focus and indicating this in the viewfinder. You're not gonna tell me you are squinting at the 3-way split in the middle of your viewfinder and twisting the focus ring this way and that as 747s roar overhead?  Smile


User currently offlineEGGD From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 12443 posts, RR: 35
Reply 12, posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3280 times:

I used to use infinity, then i found out that it was focused slightly short of infinity.

Here is another problem:

I was thinking of focusing on an aircraft and then leaving it for the rest and just zooming in for the different aircraft types, but it means that it is less sharp. Is there any way of doing this (having it focused on the aircraft and then zooming in and out to meet the size)?

Thanks

Dan


User currently offlineThomasphoto60 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 4022 posts, RR: 26
Reply 13, posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 3282 times:

Well, for my aviation work I use MF some 98% of the time! I rarely have an out of focus image as a result. I am a little surprised by Jan's comments about AF's focusing screens since you and I both use the same systems. I currently use 2 EOS1Ns and an EOS 3 so far (some 6 years now for the EOS1n) using MF on any one of these 3 cameras have always yeilded tack sharp results, and yes I do check my slides with an 4x and 10x loupes.

I do however use AF more often when I am covering a sporting event such as baseball or tennis.

Thomas



"Show me the Braniffs"
User currently offlineBlackened From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3268 times:

Jan Mogren:
Do you mean SLR autofocus cameras? I have never experienced anything bad with MF when using an EOS AF camera. The pics are always as sharp as in the viewfinder. I'm always suprised how sharp they are and I check them even with projector and loupe.
For EGGD: Of course there are cameras that can manage almost every situation with their AF. We're in the 21st century, man.
But you can also do almost every shot with MF. Somebody mentioned it - that has been the solution for decades. When I'm using MF I get an unsharp shot once in a blue moon. That's what I say but maybe a pro like Jan Mogren would say they're all unsharp - I don't know.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy


User currently offlineJan Mogren From Sweden, joined Dec 2000, 2043 posts, RR: 50
Reply 15, posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3268 times:

Thomas and Blackened,

Focusing screens made for manual focus are ground matte (sp?) in a way that when focus is adjusted perfectly they look clear and sharp. When focus is a bit off they look more blurred than it really is, so to speak. More distinct border between in-focus and out-of-focus. The screen in an Auto Focus camera isn't ground matte at all so it doesn't give any help.
If you guys can tell when the ultimate focus is obtained,
well then I'm probably just old.  Wink/being sarcastic and I'll more or less back off here since this is up to the individual photog.

I will however address two things mentioned in posts above:

*Using the focus indicator to focus manually.
This is pretty interesting. Take your AF camera, switch to manual focus and focus on something, say 5 meters away. Don't touch the focus ring after that and slowly move towards or away from the subject you focused on.
How far can you move before the camera indicates out-of-focus? You will not beleive you paid that amount for your camera...

*Checking the sharpness of your slide with a projector.
Unless you have bought some extraordinary lens for your projector this won't work. Anything looks sharp!
I throw away loads of slides that looks sharp thru the proj. When checked with a 10x loupe they turn out unsharp. On the other hand they look sharp under a 6x loupe...

All this leads into another discussion I hope to bring up at some other time...  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

/JM



AeroPresentation - Airline DVD's filmed in High Definition
User currently offlineBlackened From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (13 years 5 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3255 times:

Oh, yeah, seems we are talking about a completely differnent topic now. Just wanted to say I don't care about the focus indicator of the camera because I've noticed it fools me quite often.
I think the slide-sharpness-check topic is also an interesting one.


User currently offlineCkw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 769 posts, RR: 16
Reply 17, posted (13 years 5 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3227 times:

After 20 years of focusing manually I've been lured over to the darkside of autofocus - and I must say I'm impressed with how well it works!

Using an EOS-3 body and Canon USM lenses, focus is fast and accurate, and no problem with follow focus - even with long lenses and convertors. But pre-purchase testing did indicate a great deal of variation between brands and models, and my choice of the EOS-3 was in part due to what I felt was superior auto-focus capability.

While in general I never found much problem manually focusing aircraft, there are other situations (sports, wildlife etc.) where the only practical solution was to pre-focus and wait for the subject to come to you. With the EOS I'm delighted to discover that autofocus can actually track much better than I could in some cases.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineAndyEastMids From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 1026 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (13 years 5 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 3228 times:

Dan,

I was thinking of focusing on an aircraft and then leaving it for the rest and just zooming in for the different aircraft types, but it means that it is less sharp. Is there any way of doing this (having it focused on the aircraft and then zooming in and out to meet the size)?

There is often a need to refocus for pin sharp accuracy AFTER zooming, as the focus can change slightly with the length of the lens (or more realistically, the depth of field will certainly change with lens length / zoom setting). Most camera manuals will tell you that you should refocus if you zoom after focussing. For this reason, I don't think that your idea will work particularly well, unfortunately.

I sympathise with you a fair bit - earlier AF systems were no where near as good as current ones and I used to loose loads of action pics when the darned focusing failed to achieve an accurate or quick lock at the critical moment. I particularly remember a day in Zurich when I was practically ready to trash the AF camera because of the amount of pics I missed on the tour. In fact I did give up on my first Canon AF camera - I sold it and dusted off my trust old MF Canon AE-1, such was my frustration with AF at the time. It was quite a few years before I went back to AF, but now I find it to be a huge benefit.

Andy


User currently offlineMikephotos From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 2923 posts, RR: 54
Reply 19, posted (13 years 5 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3211 times:

With todays AF bodies, results are excellent. I've probaby shot around 200 rolls (if not more) since January and not a single frame was manual-focused. Of course, it all depends on the model SLR you have. Some are quicker than others and the older AF-bodies can be somewhat annoying. For me, MF is just not an option. I couldn't even imagine trying to MF a rotating 747-400 standing in 50mm range of the runway and expect to nail 15+ shots like I do with AF.

Jan is right, AF SLR/lenses aren't really designed for manual focusing. These lenses are usually too "loose" and the viewfinder not as easy as MF viewfinders. Sure, it's not difficult to get excellent results but what he's trying to say is if you plan to do most of your work MF, get a MF body. Or, get a AF Nikon body with a MF screen and "real" MF lenses.

Michael



User currently offlineN312RC From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 2683 posts, RR: 16
Reply 20, posted (13 years 5 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 3202 times:

Dan,

Ive got the exact same lenses as you. Both made by Sigma.

The camera I use though we bought new (Canon Eos Elan) about 2 years ago. Great camera, can do just about everything. My dad shoots pics of Formula One/Indy cars and I shoot pics of airplanes.



N/A
User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (13 years 5 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 3202 times:

I resorted to manual focus when I was on a trip and my Sigma AF lens went south. The results were iffy at best. some pics OK, some were not.

The biggest headache with trying to go manual with an AF lens is that they have removed all hyperfocal indicators. The old MF pump-style zooms still had them.

Charles


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