Manual Focus

It's difficult to imagine an era before our trusted autofocus (AF) systems when we were using manual focus. Today, cameras have a staggering total of more than 850 AAF points. The manual focus ring doesn't seem to be used anymore.

But today, I'll show you why this function is still present on every lens that is manufactured.

When Do We Need To Use Manual Focus? 

I'll examine some scenarios that could be benefited from using manual focus. This could be due to individual preferences or due to the automatic functions of your camera which do not allow you to fully be in control.

Selecting Your Subject of Focus

An obvious one, however, manual focusing lets you choose the subject that you wish to concentrate on. It's a great option in situations where there are multiple layers in your surroundings. For example, if shooting through windows or flowers.

Sometimes the autofocus system is able to detect elements that aren't in focus. When this happens, it's time to use the manual focus button and then adjust it yourself.

Low Light

If it's not happened to you, it's bound to happen at some moment. In dim lighting, it is possible to press the autofocus button and all you'll hear is the lens adjusting and readjusting itself. Without a familiar sound, it's time to manually focus.

Cameras aren't able to achieve reading distances in low lighting, so it shouldn't be surprising. You should hopefully be able to discern certain forms in your viewfinder. Use the focus ring manually to make a precise choice of the area.

Macro Photography

Fans of macro photography are aware of the value manual focus has to offer. Macro photography is the process of taking pictures of objects that are near to the camera. It demands large apertures. Wide apertures don't offer any leniency in sharp focus.

There is no need for manual focus to perform this procedure. However, it's where a large portion of the creativity is derived from. Manual focusing is essential for macro photography since it gives you a larger variety of possibilities for experimentation.

Focus Stacking

Focus stacking can be described as a technique to make sure that each element is sharp to the fullest extent. It is frequently employed in landscape photography but is mostly used by photographers who enjoy the HDR process.

The process is like HDR. Your camera is mounted with you on your tripod. you take several photos, and combine them using post-production. Instead of choosing the best exposure for each part of your image, you'll get the sharpest focus. Focusing manually allows you to focus on each aspect.

This is advantageous since you'll be able to capture photographs with an aperture that is wide. Wide apertures enable you to lower the ISO down, which will result in creating sharper photos. Also, it lets you capture a variety of photos and select the most appealing ones later while watching a larger display.

Low Contrast

If you've been a photographer for some time you've probably noticed instances where autofocus systems can fail. Some instances are when there's not much definition to the subject or when there isn't enough contrast in specific regions.

The autofocus feature looks to find lines of sharp contrast in order to determine depth for its measurement. The absence of distinct tones could make it necessary to manually focus. 

Moving objects

Relying on autofocus to capture fast-moving objects isn't the most efficient method. Particularly when you only have a tiny window of time to capture the perfect picture.

You should be able to identify your subject very well or quickly determine how your subject is likely to behave. Preparedness will let you assess and capture some pictures of your test subjects prior to. With manual focus, you'll be able to achieve the best image. Make adjustments to the camera's manual focus, and after that, wait for your subject to pass and then snap.


A panorama image is one in which a full skyline or landscape is displayed perfectly in one image. Some cameras, such as iPhones come with this feature built into their software. The way to do this is to create an assortment of photos and then stitch them together during this post-photography procedure.

If you took these photos using autofocus it could result in changing the focus. In the event that this occurs, viewers will be able to see it in the final image. The picture will appear disconnected, and the credibility of the image being a seamless photo is gone completely. It is suggested to focus before you start and take each picture accordingly.


There is no doubt about the significance of being able to make use of manual focus with confidence. The more you shoot and the more you photograph, the more this becomes clear. You don't have to be the fastest manual focuser to become an experienced photographer. 

But there will be some point that you'll be grateful that you read this article. So turn the switch into manual focus, set your finger on the focusing ring, and begin practicing! Check out this article How to Use Manual Focus? Manual Focus Techniques for more about Manual Focus and how to use it?