Working in the Hot Sun (and a few words on auto-focus)

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This was taken on a highway where construction was halting traffic and it was hot with the sun beating down. You could forgive the workman both for his boredom and his fatigue. It was taken through a car window with an OMD-5 Mk11, and a 12-40mm lens. The camera’s options for focusing have made me think a lot about focus. From the days of Fresnel screen to auto-focus and now focus peaking we have come a long way. I am far more trusting of auto-focus now than when it was a novelty. Camera companies have added a lot to the focusing mechanisms, such as auto tracking, image stabilization and continual focus. I find the latter two most effective for my own work. Cameras now come with more focusing points than ever before and sometimes it’s a bit too much to work with. The center focusing point is always the most sensitive and I tend to use it at the expense of fully composing my shot in camera. However, I do get sharper images as a result. The current debate is over how fast the focus is and whether the lens “hunts” for focus. If the focus is faster than I can do it manually I am happy. I do use manual focus in some close-up work for precision. It is important to note that most lenses “hunt”. One tool on some lenses that helps with this is a focus limiter that allows you to select a range of focus for the auto-focus to use, e.g. at the closer end of the spectrum. The worst lenses focus fast and lose focus faster. When all is said and done we want our photos to be sharp and some use tripods, external releases etc. but we should also look at the tools built into our cameras and make the most use of them. Having done that and experimenting I am finding hand-held shots more successful than ever before.

5 responses

  1. I agree. Centre focus is best and apparently focuses faster on the subject.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 15, 2015 at 6:08 am

  2. I love auto-focus until I get home and find that my favorite shots have a slightly blurry subject and a tack sharp weed a few feet in front or behind. 🙂

    Seriously, my D7000 is smarter than I am when it comes to focus. I need to RTFM and do some work on what it will and won’t do.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 15, 2015 at 9:33 am

  3. My son did this job one summer and referred to himself as a “human traffic cone.”

    Liked by 1 person

    September 15, 2015 at 11:01 pm

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