Not mak­ing the most of man­ual fo­cus

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

When you use aut­o­fo­cus, there are a num­ber of links in the chain that can break, leav­ing you with soft pic­tures. For in­stance, a lens may suf­fer from a back-fo­cus or front-fo­cus is­sue, where the sharpest fo­cus is ac­tu­ally frac­tion­ally be­hind or in front of the edge that your AF point has locked onto. Nikon’s AF Fine-Tune func­tion can help rem­edy this some­what, en­abling you to com­pen­sate for a spe­cific lens’s AF per­for­mance with a spe­cific cam­era.

For this rea­son, for crit­i­cal work where fo­cus is ev­ery­thing, such as macro photography or land­scapes, man­ual is the way to go. Live View po­ten­tially makes this a piece of cake, al­low­ing you to mag­nify de­tails to 100 per cent. How­ever, some cam­eras use so-called ‘in­ter­po­la­tion’ to cre­ate the mag­ni­fied view, re­sult­ing in a Live View im­age that’s not par­tic­u­larly sharp, and there­fore harder to judge ac­cu­rate fo­cus on. One op­tion here is not to mag­nify the im­age too far. Al­ter­na­tively, shoot in RAW and then fine-tune the Pic­ture Con­trol set­ting to pro­duce a sharper, higher-con­trast pre­view im­age that’s eas­ier to judge fo­cus ‘snap’ on – shoot­ing in RAW rather than JPEG means the im­age will be un­af­fected by the ef­fects of the Pic­ture Con­trol set­ting.

Live View can make fo­cus­ing man­u­ally eas­ier, although zoom­ing too far into the im­age can ac­tu­ally make it tricky to eval­u­ate sharp­ness

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