I just realized: My assumption has been that Hywel et. al. generally use autofocus when photographing sets. But… do they?
Hywel, do you sometimes (or frequently) override the autofocus and focus manually? When you do rely on the camera’s autofocus, how do you use it? What settings? Do you ‘focus and recompose’ much, or do you rely on the additional focus points (or both)? [Hmm… a quick google shows that the Hasselblad has only one focus point, so I guess you don’t use “additional focus points” with it ]
For stills I use autofocus 100% of the time, using the focus and recompose technique. I’m so used to that that when I go back to using another camera, I force it to a single focus point so I can do it that way. (Usually the centre sensor). I’ve found that the camera is capable of much more accurate focus than I am through the viewfinder- focussing is extremely critical with a sensor as big as the ‘Blad’s but pretty damn critical even on a 7D or four thirds sensor. I never over-ride the focus by adjusting manually, only by focus and recompose again if I think it has done the wrong thing.
In contrast, for video we almost always focus manually. Doing so on the 7D or AF100 is tricky without an external monitor; doing so on the RED is easier because the on-camera monitor is bigger and for critical focus it can punch in to 1:1 pixels (like the 7D, but unlike the AF100). I’ve recently acquired a follow focus rig so we can mark focus points for rack focus, and fitted lens gears on my old stills lenses to use them that way.
I would really like to have a video camera with decent autofocus again. Given that we’re almost always operating with fewer crew than we’d like, there are times it would make our life much easier. I’m thinking of flogging the AF100 and getting a second hand GH3 instead for that reason.
I’ve been trying to figure out whether it’s better to use the single cross-type focus point in the center on my D90 or to manually select one of the other focus points so that I have less recomposing to do when I focus and recompose. And if I upgrade I’ll have the fun of going from 11 focus points to (most likely) 51…
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