Pre-focusing for action photography (manual lens: Canon FD 80-200 f4.0 L)

  • Is your auto-focus always works as expected?
  • Do you think you can always relay on the auto-focus?

The modern world  brings a lot of hands on features to our life. One of the is auto-focusing, when camera processor is selecting for you sharpest area on a selected zone. But even in the modern “auto” world for specific type of shots it is important to be able to use manual focus. It is simply because even modern auto-focus is not fast enough for the action. If you don’t believe – ask bird photographers. No, don’t ask these who shoots stills or uses feeders to prepare a setup for the shot. Ask the wildlife photographer, who catches amazing shots of landing or taking-off. The subject is approaching you quickly and in this situation auto-focus will not help. Even more worse, If you have multiple subjects approaching you – auto-focus might get confused and will start wobbling around. Pre-focusing technique is your friend in such situations.

The following story in photographs captured with manual lens: Canon FD 80-200mm F4.0 L on Sony a7 body.  It is an amazing old school lens, light, compact with fixed f4 aperture along the range.

Post: Novel through photography.

Technique in couple words.

Select a point ahead of the subject (on expected subject way) movement. Focus at the point and wait till the subject entering the the focus area. Continues shooting mode also helps here. I usually use a series of 7 frames in the range of a sharp focus.

Preparing for take off, Canon FD 80-200 L, Sony a7 (ILCE-7)
Preparing for take off canon FD 80-200 L
Taking-off in Salzburg direction, Canon FD 80-200 L, Sony a7 (ILCE-7)
Taking-off in Salzburg direction, Canon FD 80-200 L, Sony a7 (ILCE-7)
Flight, Canon FD 80-200 L, Sony a7 (ILCE-7)
Flight, Canon FD 80-200 L, Sony a7 (ILCE-7)

You can use the same technique with auto-focus lens. Pre-focusing will make your auto-focus works even faster.  It might be useful to configure back button focusing to use pre-focusing with auto-focus lens .

Post: Back-button focusing

Learn it, try it, use it …


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