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Old March 5th, 2008, 09:13 AM   #1
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Focusing.. Auto or Manual

Ok, asking this in this forum because this is where I will be doing most of my video work, in weddings.

Do you use Manual or Auto, or Both.

I have heard Manual is the way to go, but here are my concerns.

1) My eyes are not as good as they once were, and hate the thought of being out of focus.

2) Many times you or your subject are moving, meaning you have to continue focusing as they or you move.

3) With the newer cameras, and their advances in autofocus are they not accurate enough, if we do our part and get the subject in the center?

I am not talking about special shots where you will do selective focusing, or where you have the time to really make sure things are spot on. I am talking about ceremony, reception, isle shots etc.

I know the XH-A1 can be in auto focus and you can manually override it at any time.

Maybe I am worrying too much, but with some of my DSLR lenses, they have such a low DOF that If I focus on the nose, the eyes are out of focus, I realize that the video camera does not have that shallow of a DOF and maybe the focusing is not quite so precise.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 09:32 AM   #2
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I always shoot on Manual. On the XH-A1 I don't like how the instant auto focusing system works, it jumps into focus and doesn't look natural.

I think it also depends in what format you are filming. If you are shooting in 24f it will be best to be in manual, 60i you might be fine in auto.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 09:51 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Joe Simon View Post
I always shoot on Manual. On the XH-A1 I don't like how the instant auto focusing system works, it jumps into focus and doesn't look natural.

I think it also depends in what format you are filming. If you are shooting in 24f it will be best to be in manual, 60i you might be fine in auto.
Joe, I agree about the jumping into focus, I believe there is a way to not do this, or to slowly go into focus, but I know as soon as I set it up this way I will see something happening quick and it will take forever to reach focus.

I am practicing on manual focus but still go to auto if I have any questions. Also when using manual after using auto focus you have to remember your in MANUAL.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 09:54 AM   #4
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Whenever I can I do a manual focusing, that's a must if working with H1 with full manual lens!
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Old March 5th, 2008, 10:06 AM   #5
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Most of the time we are in manual mode. This also keeps you more tuned into your camera.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 10:13 AM   #6
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Manual when I can help it, or when I'm shooting rings, churches, things that don't move. I have to go auto when on stedicam and running around, and I'll go auto in extremely fluid situations where I know I can't keep up with manual.

***EDIT**
Forgot to mention that I'll often begin the ceremony in auto for the bridesmaids walking down but if I notice the camera is hunting a bit (usually the case in dark venues) then I'll go manual. Pulling focus down a long aisle when zoomed in and trying to keep a decent framing isn't my strongest skill. I usually sacrifice a goat to the autofocus gods before each ceremony in hopes that it'll behave for those first few minutes.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 01:50 PM   #7
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I haven't touched the auto focus button for 3 years. I prefer to never use it because it does keep you on your toes a little more and I have gotten down the skills to follow individuals down the aisle and such while constantly staying focused on them. I had an assistant switch his to auto during a ceremony and it kept trying to readjust whenever the bride or groom moved. It was definitely obvious so that's why I just never use it.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 01:59 PM   #8
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From a peasant. To date I have not got the hang of manual focus on my cameras so never use it. In the 1 3/4 hour of the wedding I'm editing at the moment, I'm only aware of one patch were one camera did not get the focus right and hunted around for about 5 seconds for it. I just chose another camera for that point.

Further, my wife is on one of the other cameras and doesn't know anything about the camera controls anyway, except for zoom in and out...
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Old March 5th, 2008, 03:13 PM   #9
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auto is great for finding focus but always shoot in manual. You will look like a complete doofus if the camera starts hunting.

You don't need to be able to focus manually - that can be tricky on the servo lenses - just switch the AF off once the shot is composed.

With a bright background the AF can be fooled even if the subject is center frame.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 03:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Peter Ralph View Post
auto is great for finding focus but always shoot in manual. You will look like a complete doofus if the camera starts hunting.

You don't need to be able to focus manually - that can be tricky on the servo lenses - just switch the AF off once the shot is composed.

With a bright background the AF can be fooled even if the subject is center frame.
Been practicing with Manual focus off and on today, gettting a bit easier.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 03:56 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper View Post
Manual when I can help it, or when I'm shooting rings, churches, things that don't move. I have to go auto when on stedicam and running around, and I'll go auto in extremely fluid situations where I know I can't keep up with manual.

***EDIT**
Forgot to mention that I'll often begin the ceremony in auto for the bridesmaids walking down but if I notice the camera is hunting a bit (usually the case in dark venues) then I'll go manual. Pulling focus down a long aisle when zoomed in and trying to keep a decent framing isn't my strongest skill. I usually sacrifice a goat to the autofocus gods before each ceremony in hopes that it'll behave for those first few minutes.

You took the words out of my mouth. It is rare that we have focus issues, largely because we are stationary and the ceremonys up to this point have been slow moving events and we use multiple cameras, some that are As for the reception, we still do auto as we switch off cameras etc.

We also use auto for any steadicam work we need to do.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 02:32 AM   #12
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sony hd 1000 manual focusing

I am using sony hd 1000, I find it almost impossible to focus manually,is this a common problem, or is it me,if this is normal I would consider upgrading to something else, how much would I have to spend,and what would peoples recomendations for an upgrade be,3000 price range or would I need to spend more for the privalage of easy manual focussing.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 07:02 AM   #13
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I'm with Ethan and Steven. I use manual when I can, but for running around after people dancing or whatever, the auto focus works much better than me.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 12:47 PM   #14
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For me it's also a combination of auto/manual; most cases the auto focus works just fine but when I zoom in I go manual and use the one push focus button to correct if necessary. Same when it gets too dark, then it's allways manual with the same one push button to correct.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 08:37 AM   #15
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Manual, unless I'm doing something unusual that doesn't afford me the time to focus.
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