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Photography Question 
Imrahil Dol Amroth

Manual or Automatic Focus for Nature Photos?

This may be a somewhat stupid question, but what is better for nature photography, manual or automatic? I know that automatic is much faster (fps) and it allows the person taking the picture to take pictures faster. I have a manual camera and I am going to switch over to an automatic SLR.

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5/30/2004 1:23:40 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  You will probably get different opinions about which is better, based upon how comfortable the photographer is with his or her equipment. I like manual focus, because I feel it gives me greater control to critically focus on a specific point within the scene ... such as an eyeball of an animal, or antenna of an insect. For action, I also focus manually, but I'm sure that I could do better with AF since my success ratio is much lower than when shooting a subject at rest. For shooting macro subjects and for landscapes, manual focus is definitely better. (At least in my opinion.)

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5/30/2004 8:30:09 PM

Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/8/2004
  Imrahil: The term nature photography is extremely broad and can include landscapes, birds in flight, extreme close-ups, wildlife interaction, etc. Most cameras sold today are autofocus. Simply turn that off and focus manually for landscapes or extreme close-ups. You'll appreciate autofocus for most other situations. Cheers!

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6/1/2004 5:11:30 AM

Imrahil Dol Amroth   Thanks alot for the info, the auto camera I am going to purchase has both manual and automatic modes. I'll take your advice, thanks.

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6/5/2004 2:34:15 PM

Sandra C. Pharr   I have both and manual is the best to me. Birds, Butterflys, and Bees seem to here the camera when it is in autofocus.

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6/8/2004 4:38:28 AM

Charles Dias   I think it would depends of the subject you´re shoting.
If you´re shoting static subjects just as flowers and steady animals, go on and use manual photos for pinsharp focus.
If you´re shoting moving subjects just like running or flying animals and you get a good servo-autofocus camera, go on and use the autofocus that would allow you to concentrat in the composition of your image.

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6/8/2004 6:52:38 AM

Imrahil Dol Amroth   Thanks alot, I just purchased a Canon EOS Rebel Ti which has both manual and automatic, as well as AI Servo.

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6/14/2004 9:23:15 AM

Terry L. Long   For most shots, such as wildflowers, I use autofocus. However, if I want an extreme close-up shot where I want to blur a foreground flower in front of the subject flower, I'll use manual focus. Also, when I double expose a flower, the first shot will be a properly focused (sharp) shot. The second shot will be out of focus achieved by manually (out of) focusing the flower.

All of my wildlife shots are autofocused but I take many shots of the (usually) moving subject to ensure the eyes are in focus.

For landscape/scenic shots I usually autofocus but with a large depth-of-field.

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6/14/2004 10:23:25 AM

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