When Should You Use Manual Focus?

In fact, autofocus has become so good and rapid that many photographers have grown to rely on it for a significant portion of their photo-taking. In reality, TTL flash and autofocus are two technologies of automation in photography that many advanced and professional photographers appear to prefer over the “old method,” according to surveys of photographers.

Although these technologies are quite advanced and accurate, there are still many instances where we might, and probably should, choose for manual focus and manual flash calculations rather than relying on the camera’s automated features and functions.

Controlling Autofocus vs Manual Focus

Autofocus is possibly the most reliable and accurate of all of the camera automation, and it is certainly one of the most frequently recognized auto modes. In many cases, autofocus is quite precise, and in other situations, there are ways to modify the focusing automation, which allows us to incorporate a little amount of human focus control into our AF use.

There are several focus sensor points on many contemporary cameras, and these points cover a large portion of the viewing area of a scene. With a dynamic focus area program, we can either let our camera determine which focus point to utilize, or we can choose which sensors to use, which is more complicated. On some cameras, focusing is as simple as turning a wheel, pressing a button, or using a joystick to choose a single or a small group of focusing points.

In addition, we have control over how the focus interacts with the other settings on the camera. Depending on whether we want to shoot in single-shot (AF-S) or continuous (AF-C or AF-Servo) mode, or both, we may adjust when and how we trigger the shutter in relation to focus confirmation. There are also back button focus and focus lock options, which allow us to have a greater degree of control over the focusing decisions made by our camera’s automated focusing system.

Nonetheless, there are specific scenarios in which we must be familiar with the manual focus technique. We’ll look at how to utilize manual focus and when to do so in this lesson.

Check Out: 3 Reasons To Use Manual Mode When Shooting


Joseph is a talented photographer and videographer based in the USA, with a thriving career as a freelance creative. Over the past several years, he has had the privilege of working with renowned brands, capturing captivating images and videos. His portfolio encompasses a diverse range of subjects, specializing in fashion, portrait, and lifestyle content creation. From editorial shoots to engaging social media videos, Joseph's versatile skills ensure exceptional visual storytelling in every project. Beyond his professional endeavors, he nurtures a personal passion for travel and nature photography, channeling his deep appreciation for the environment into a commitment to sustainability and environmental causes.