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How to use focus features - Cameras

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Knowing what options are available and how to focus is crucial when taking a photograph. Every time you take a photograph you will want to make sure your subject is focused. Use this article to help you with focusing.
1) Refer to these terms for understanding:
Shutter Lag: delay between pressing the shutter and the time the shot was taken.
2) Always check how the subject relates to the background when taking a picture. Otherwise you can end up with funny pictures such as trees in the background making antlers on a person. Some may attribute shutter lag to them not allowing the camera to focus beforehand. If you are too impatient to focus or are need to take pictures in an instant, try pre-focusing or panning.
3) Learn the different ways you can focus:
Autofocus – . However, autofocus can have trouble focusing on off centered subjects, where there is little contrast, poorly lit subjects, bright focus areas, focus areas with near and far objects in them, and fast moving subjects. If you cannot focus (blinks or flashes to let you know), use focus lock. Fixed focus – On cheap cameras and one time use cameras. Focus you cannot change.
Manual focus – You can focus by turning a ring on lens or using buttons and settings on point and shoot cameras. This is difficult to use for fast moving subjects.
Automatic Tracking – keeps moving subject in focus as long as you hold down the shutter half way.
Pre-focusing: Useful when a moving subject is following a predictable path. Use by switching to manual focus mode and focusing ahead of time on the spot that your subject will pass. Hit the shutter button before your subject hits the focal point. This should get you the picture, but you might need to practice. Consider using fast shutter speeds and continuous shooting options like burst mode when using pre-focus.
4) Try using different focus features:
Focus Zones: Are rectangles or brackets that you can move or select. Indicates where you camera is focusing.
Focus Lock: Used to change the plane of focus. Use by pressing the shutter halfway to lock the focus and then move the camera to the area you desire and take the picture. This usually locks exposure as well but some cameras have AE Lock which allows you to separate exposure and focus settings. Focus lock is helpful when you do not have facial recognition on your camera in order to prevent focusing on some background object. It is also helpful when you want to have your subject off center.
Focus assist: assisting light that makes it easier to focus in dim lighting. It illuminates the scene but only work at short range.

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Posted on Nov 19, 2009

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