Which is best fixed focus or auto focus
Auto focus & focus
The automatic focus is called 'autofocus'. Every compact automatic camera that has a zoom or telephoto lens works with such an autofocus. The advantage is that you don't have to adjust the focus every time you take a picture, as in the past. This makes you faster, snapshots are easier to take.
Cameras with a fixed focus lens
There are also cameras that work without autofocus. ActionCams or webcams usually have a so-called fixed focus lens. Likewise, the front cameras of smartphones. As the name suggests: The sharpness setting remains fixed, i.e. unchanged. Most fixed focus cameras have neither zoom nor telephoto lenses. A large wide angle is enough for you. With this you cover a large recording area, for example for sports action recordings or webcam recordings in the room. The disadvantage of the wide-angle lens is that the horizon is bulging, as you can see in the following photos.
SLR cameras with manual focus adjustment
SLR cameras have the option of adjusting the focus manually. If you have such a camera at hand, then do the following: First film a landscape in the wide-angle range. Then you shoot the same scene in telephoto. In both cases you consciously forego the autofocus and set some nonsensical sharpness by hand. You will find that this fake sheep is much more noticeable in the telephoto range than in the wide angle. That is why the manufacturers of the above-mentioned action or webcam usually do without automatic focusing. And since there is no need to focus, the camera is of course also faster.
The right sharpness is important!
Nothing is more annoying in a film than blurry shots. So that you don't blindly rely on your autofocus, you have to know a few important things about it: Even cameras with a very sophisticated modern autofocus system don't know what is important to the filmmaker. Some cameras focus on the center of the picture because they think that this is where the important subject must be. Others choose between left, right, and center. Or you can decide between many autofocus fields which one should be focused on. However, there are three common situations that your camera's brain is not prepared for:
- A strange object suddenly moves through the picture. It can be a pedestrian who suddenly crosses your landscape photograph in the foreground
- You have two levels of focus. One of them is completely unimportant for the cameraman, but it cannot be removed. I think of the bars in the zoo that separate you from the lion.
- You make a camera movement, a pan or a zoom movement. And immediately the entire recording situation changes. New motifs come into the picture or slide to another place.
- In poor lighting conditions, the camera has to expose longer or open the aperture wider. This can also lead to blurring, especially when movement is involved.
Manual focus helps to avoid these situations. First you bring the main subject closer with the telephoto. Then you set the sharpness according to the instructions for use. It works differently for each device. Sometimes you have to turn the lens ring, sometimes you focus using a push button. Then you set the image section (focal length) to wide angle. If you now bring the subject closer with the camera, nothing will change in terms of sharpness. People can also walk through the image.
And another tip: Always film tracking shots and action shots in a wide angle. In this setting, your camera has a lot more leeway with regard to the exact focus due to the shallow depth of field. This leeway is severely limited in the telephoto range. Thus, actors or athletes can whiz through the picture without the lens constantly readjusting the focus.
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