Manual Focus

To become a good camera operator, you need to learn how to focus manually. Although most camcorders have an automatic focusing mode, where the focus ring on the lens is controlled by a servo motor, professional cameramen usually focus manually.

There are two important reasons for this:

  • The software in your camera doesn't know what your subject is, so it will usually try to focus on the closest object in your shot.
  • The automatic focusing system usually takes a while to focus on an object, hunting backwards and forwards. Sometimes the focusing system gets so confused that it keeps rocking backwards and forwards.


Sharp focus of the picture is achieved by looking at the viewfinder image and adjusting the focusing ring on the lens. Before you start shooting, always make sure the back-focus is set up correctly.

The right procedure to focus your picture is as follows:

  • Zoom in as close as you can on your subject
  • Use the focus ring to focus the picture
  • Zoom out again and create your composition

If your subject is closer to the lens than the MOD (Minimum Object Distance), you can use the macro ring to focus correctly. See macrolens.

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