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Old Jul 18, 2002, 1:00 PM   #1
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Default Manual Focus Questions

On my Coolpix 4500 it has a full manual mode. I understand shutter speed and the F settings to a very limited degree, but using manual focus with this digital has been an interesting learning experience.

I believe the trick is to get the shutter speed and balance right, so that when you take the pic you have the correct exposure.

There are two things that throw me off.

1) When I use a regular film camera and adjust focus on the lens it is easy to tell if I am in or out of focus.

On the digital there is no lens wheel adjustment, but there is this dial you can turn with one end being macro and the other being infinity, however in many cases there is appears to be very little change in the focus of the subject.

I'm not sure what I am doing wrong, besides being a total digital novice/newbie.


2) In fairly dim conditions in manual mode I adjusted the settings and it was balanced at a very slow shutter speed 1/4 I think and a very low F value.

What I was doing was taking one photo with manual settings, then taking a AF photo of the same frame and comparing the two. I would then adjust my camera to match the AF settings and in most cases it looked much better.

Is this because in AF mode it is figuring the flash into the picture, while my own pictures with those settings and no flash means even with a tripod the slow shutter speed and large aperature means the chances of a blurry photo are way up there?

I'm just tossing out my thoughts and looking for suggestions. This is only day 3 of owning this little camera and I am sure the more pcitures I snap and the more I play with it these sorts of questions will be answered over time.
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Old Jul 18, 2002, 3:52 PM   #2
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Quote:
On the digital there is no lens wheel adjustment, but there is this dial you can turn with one end being macro and the other being infinity, however in many cases there is appears to be very little change in the focus of the subject.
Did you hold in the MF button (bottom left of LCD) while turning the dial? There should be 50 discrete manual focus steps and a confirmation indicator on the LCD when the camera is in focus...


When in auto mode the camera not only measure the exposure, but also factor in which program mode you're in (ie portrait...lanscape etc), and bias the camera accordingly; Whereas on manual you are permanently overiding the camera based on fix shutter-speed and aperture... ie you're controlling the camera and not the other way around!
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Old Jul 18, 2002, 4:33 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply!

Yep, the MF button was held down and I saw the indicator and also was able to scroll from one end to the other.

I did read in the manual how the 'in focus,' area should be highlighted, however I never saw that happen while adjusting the MF focus.

What I did see is when I took the shot and had the shutter release 1/2 way down a red frame would be on the screen with an area highlighted, so I thought this was the area in focus and I had to hold the shutter release down to see that indication.

I know the red frame is another camera setting that I saw in the options and the default is to have it on in MF mode only.

I know professionals, experts, and enthusiasts take incredible photos in all sorts of conditions with full manual mode, but that is from experience and knowledge.

In my case the manual focus and trying to learn this option on this new camera is mainly for self knowledge and fun at this time.

Sure I have full control over every single aspect in manual mode, but right now the AF mode is producing far better results.

Heck, the MF shots I am taking are in good conditions, stable setting, no motion, and I can't even get these types of shots to come out ok!

Although it is quite fun trying and I've been running down the battery playing with this new toy, so no complaints here.
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