What exactly is Manual Focus?

The manual focus process is the method to adjust the field of view manually selecting the sharpness of the image at the various distances that you can set in your lens. When you rotate the manual focus ring, you can adjust the elements within the lens. You can change the distance between a set of lenses, by moving the lens closer or further away from the sensor that is used for imaging. 

The majority of film cameras that are analog require manual adjustments since they don't include digital functions. This means that they use lenses that focus manually. It wasn't until 1978 that Sony launched the first SLR equipped with autofocus. Every camera made before that time had to be manually focused.

How to Use Manual Focus? Manual Focus Techniques

Focusing your camera manually is as simple simply as turning the focus wheel of your lens. However, it can be more complicated than it appears. I would not recommend this feature when taking short photos is an essential element in your photography, such as wedding photography. Missing crucial moments could result in a loss of work.

However, if the camera's AF begins to fail There are a few solutions by manually focusing. Different cameras utilize different methods. You can also focus manually with your iPhone! Just tap the part on the screen you wish to focus on.

A Preview of Depth of Field

Most modern DSLRs have the depth of field (DoF) button. By pressing this button, it will give users an estimate of the photograph with the aperture you have selected. It will indicate how wide the depth of field can be seen through the viewfinder.

The button is normally located close to the lens mount, however, it may differ between cameras. If you are having trouble getting it, always refer to the manual for the camera you are using.

The DoF button will display the exact aperture you've chosen for your camera. The image you see will appear slightly darker. Don't be concerned about your image appearing in this way. If you select a greater number of apertures, like f/22. the aperture will be smaller. Thus, it lets less light through the camera.

This feature can be helpful in providing you with an idea of how the picture will appear. It will show the proportion of your surroundings are sharp as well as soft focus.

Live View

Modern cameras, specifically DSLRs equipped with video may have a Live View feature. It's beneficial in the case of manual focus. This feature can bring you a live view of the lens onto the LCD screen.

It gives you a larger screen that allows you to see your images. It makes it easier for you to determine the sharpness of the subject you're focused on. It is also possible to zoom into the screen. It lets you be patient and attentive during this procedure which gives your confidence about the clarity of your image.

Certain cameras come with an option to focus-magnify. This will allow you to automatically increase the zoom and give you a specific portion of the image to concentrate on. New cameras, specifically ones that are mirrorless, come with this feature when you rotate around the focus wheel.

Focus Distance Windows

The most ancient method of manual focus is still accessible to us. It involves taking the distance of your lens to the object. These distance windows are beneficial when all other options fail and give you the chance to assess or even gauge the length. The distance provided by the camera must be measured in both imperial and metric measurements.

All lenses must include a focus distance window (or even numbers that are engraved on old lenses). However, they are becoming less popular, particularly with regard to mirrorless cameras. The window is actually an active lens element that is able to move according to how you move your focus rings.

This isn't the most accurate method to focus an image. However, it could be a lifesaver in situations of emergency!


Certain cameras employ alternate methods of focusing since the viewfinder does not look into the lenses. They can be found on rangefinder cameras as well as digital rangefinders, for instance, many are Fuji's X Series.

The rangefinder displays an area that shows two photos that are of the same subject. To find the focal point, you need to overlay both images to align them exactly.


Technology has made great strides with constant improvements in autofocus capabilities. But the question that may appear is why this function is still present on every lens that is manufactured? Why do we still need to use it? or when we need it? Check out this article When We Need To Use Manual Focus