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Canon AF Lense Help

Discussion in 'Photography' started by solopressuk, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. solopressuk

    solopressuk Member


    I was wondering if anyone could help me as I'm not sure if this is entirely possible. I currently use a Canon 1000D with an 18-55mm lens and I understand that it has 9 focus points in AF mode which is handy when I'm taking wide angle shots to give the subject focus etc.

    I was wondering if it was possible to imitate what the AF does but using the manual focus?
  2. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    I have a Canon 550D so I can probably help you out but I'm a little unsure as to exactly what you're asking. Could you clarify a little and I'll try and give you an answer! :)
  3. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    Ok... I'm not really a canon user, my gears nikon/minolta but the question is a bit weird.

    The 9 focus points in the simplest terms basically 9 sensor points which are used to determine the best focus to use for the photo. I'm not entirely sure if canon do the same as nikon where you can manually select a point to focus on but if it does then all you're doing is overriding the automatic program to focus on that one point.

    As to focusing manually, yeah it's easy although it's not as easy as a pure manual focus ring (pretty sure this isn't on a canon) due to it not having the 'manual focus ring' in the middle of the screen so it's more by eye. You will of course need to set the lens to manual instead of af.

    However I'm actually thinking what you're more interested in is aperture settings which are used to 'selectively focus' parts of the image. Larger apertures (smaller f numbers) allow for a shallow focus range while the smaller apertures (larger f numbers) give a deeper focus range (ie more is in focus). Generally speaking you'd be using a larger f number on landscapes so more is in focus while a smaller f number would be used on something like a portrait so the background is softer and out of focus. Look into depth of field for more info.

    This does have an impact on shutter speeds and it can make some shots take considerable longer to 'snap' depending on your choice of aperture, so tripod/monopod is highly recommended. Automatic exposure (or dial preset) in conjunction with the 9 points of focus will pick the best option for you but you can manually assign both the aperture and the shutterspeeds via the m part of the dial (using the dials), if you set s, you set the shutter speed and then the camera auto selects the best aperture. Setting a allows you to preset the aperture (see above for reasons) and the camera then selects the best shutter speed, this can result in slow photos which are prone for camera shake.

    But like squiddy says, can we get some more info please :)

    And a sidenote (not a dig or anything): this is part of the problem with going straight in with an af camera, it's very convenient for people to get going quickly, which is great for most people, but a lot of the, I'll call it fundamentals of the process behind the taking of the picture are missed out, even more so now with the digital age where if it's not right you just delete it and try again. I started photography with 35mm film and a fully manual camera (even know how to develop film, not that I do it often) and these fundamentals were essential to getting the 'best' picture and being that it was film not digital, I didn't have the viewfinder previews or anything so if it was wrong then it was wrong till I got it developed. It's paid dividends because I feel it's made my af photography (I still go manual if needed) better and it's also helped a LOT with composition and lighting on my 3d renderings :)

    EDIT: Squiddy, I may have found a forum bug.... I do an edit and click save changes and the 'window' doesn't go back to the forum, it's just stays in the edit mode after the green dots are finished. Firefox, latest build
  4. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    It would indeed sound like that's what he's after actually, giving focus to the subject and not everything else. Better read up on f stops and aperture, Randal ;) When you start playing around with these settings you've got to make sure that the lighting conditions are sufficient and you may want to start playing around with the ISO and shutter speed to get the desired result. I taught myself to use cameras, learned all about the different components and settings of cameras. Most of the time my dial is set to manual, it's just so much easier to get better results when you know how it all works! It depends how much you use it really, but it would definitely be worth learning more about how cameras work if it's at all on a regular basis.

    Thanks for that Levi, I've passed the message on. Now that you mention it, I'm sure that's happened to me on a couple of occasions too! (Hah, it's just done it now...)
  5. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    It used to work fine, well I never noticed an issue, so I'm not sure whether it's an update to firefox/addons or if it's a tweak behind the scenes on the forum side..
  6. solopressuk

    solopressuk Member

    Great info in here guys thanks. I think you've answered what I was looking for.

    The Canon 1000D does allow you to select which of the 9 focus points you'd like your camera to focus on and blur out the rest of the image, however, I didn't realise that's what aperture was used for. I thought the basics were shutter speed for clarity/ when I did nightclub photography to create effects with the nightclub's lighting (slower = allowing more time for light to hit the sensor resulting in a brighter image or light trails) and aperture to allow less/ more light into the image (which I'd noticed that on my 18-55mm lens was f/3.5 at 18mm and progressively higher the more I zoomed).

    If you're saying that I can use the focus ring on the lens, the aperture and shutter speed to focus manually on one of those 9 focus points without using the auto-focus mode on the camera that's what I'm after :)
  7. solopressuk

    solopressuk Member

    Just reading an article on depth of field and I think that's what I was after.
  8. solopressuk

    solopressuk Member

    Since reading through your suggestions I've learned a lot about depth of field and aperture to achieve the images I was looking to create in manual. Also if anyone knows of any photography courses worth taking in London I'd appreciate the help. Really getting into it now!

    Also for anyone keen to learn about manual shooting, I used this website a lot for tutorials:
  9. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    Glad you're enjoying it :) I don't think it's too difficult to get a basic understanding of how it all works and it's definitely worth it if you're working with cameras on a regular basis.
  10. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    Honestly, having done a 'photography' course while at college I very much doubt it will teach you more than you can get from reading a good book/magazine and then just playing around with the settings. Especially with digital as it's not like you need to print it all off.
  11. Why not try looking at a prime lens next, it'll really develop you as a photographer! have a look at something with 1.4! The shop where I work, the canon 50mm f/1.4 is really popular and with such a large aperture it can create pin sharp pictures up close and some really interesting product stuff! theyre really fun to play with and with such a vast aperature selection itll help you learn more about it and how every f/ stop counts :-D
  12. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    hogwash... yes it has a smaller aperture number which allows for a narrower dof but honestly that's it. You can do the exact same photo's with a zoom lens set at 50mm, you just won't have such an extreme dof. You don't need a specific lens to learn about how the aperture works lol

    For reference to solopress -
    in 35mm terms 50mm is the 'natural' lens length, it basically makes the shot the same as what you see with your eyes, no condensing of perspective etc like you get with longer lens lengths.
    In dslr terms, that 50mm is about 80mm in 35mm terms which is more suited to portraits. It is also a popular length for macro (so is 50mm)
    To get the equivalent 50mm look on your dslr you need a 30mm lens.

    It's all covered in your zoom ranges I would expect so unless you specifically want to have miniscule part of the scene in focus save your money until you actually have a use for one.
    solopressuk likes this.
  13. solopressuk

    solopressuk Member

    Just a quick update. Before I went abroad pre-Chrimbo I bought a MagBook by Digital Photographer and got to learn my SLR better and how aperture works. I figured that what I was trying to do simply involved using the focus ring better and the liveview mode to get the part of the image in focus that I wanted in focus. According to the MagBook most people prefer to shoot with autofocus on now anyway, which definitely helped with action shots like catching my friend jumping off a diving board and into the pool.
    I need to thank everyone on the thread for the tips etc and FYI I shot with an 18-55mm standard lens and got great results on a Canon 1000D, which I will upgrade one day to a full frame once I get the cash together. Will be starting a website soon to share my best takes so I'll keep you posted on that too. Ta!
  14. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Guest

    Excellent, I'm looking forward to seeing them! :)
    In the meantime, why not post some teasers up in the forum?
  15. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    That's great, I look forward to seeing your photos!

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