Newsletter #70 – FOCUSING & FOCUSING ZONES

Hi All, Ian here.

I am writing this week’s Newsletter as Graham is at home doing what he does best….. fiddling with it. Now I know you immediately think I’m talking about his camera, but not this time. No, this time it’s his brand new HUGE slim-line and fashionably curved SMART TV from Samsung. And what a beauty!  Anyway, back to business.

Last Wednesdays meet began with our AGM Review – another quick look at the purpose and process of an Annual General Meeting. Graham diligently went through the committee roles, forgetting only a couple, Tim and myself, which is understandable as we hardly do much besides being silly 🙂

It was also announced that Dave Bawden would be stepping down as Programme Secretary at the end of this club year. Think you can do it? Let us know.

The second part of the evening saw a replacement to the programmed talk from Ken Wewerka, and was all about FOCUSING, and FOCUSING ZONES. Graham, Tim and Peter Duce did an amazing job at examining this fundamental, yet often overlooked, aspect of photography, and highlighted the pitfalls of the default FULL AUTO FOCUS mode (AF-A on Nikon) where your camera decides ITSELF what it thinks you want to focus on.



Some members came prepared with their camera manuals and guides so they could see how they could apply it to their own cameras.

It was soon established that despite the endless array of modes available and specialist features in many of the cameras available today, there were TWO main setups often used to focus on still and moving subjects.

  1. POINT FOCUS (AF-S on Nikon) in SINGLE SHOT mode ideal for subjects that are still or little panning movement.

  2. Ai SERVO mode (AF-C on a Nikon) in CONTINUOUS SHOT mode for subjects with obvious movement, especially if moving toward or away from the camera. Also great if the photographer themselves is in motion.

Peter gave us a more in-depth example of Ai SERVO (AF-C on Nikon) mode as he showed a series of images he took as he tracked a boy on a bike cycling towards him.



We all took part in a number of fun practical exercises designed to illustrate the limitations of FULL AUTO FOCUS. One exercise had members attempting to shoot subjects through cage mesh which often confused the cameras focusing system.

  





My days as a cage fighter came flooding back!

Another exercise involved a model VW Camper van being pushed from A to B whilst members attempted to either focus using AUTO on the blurred vehicle as it passed, or focus on the van as it came towards them head on using their Ai SERVO (AF-C on Nikon) tracking focus mode.



There was even a brief discussion about camera focusing system technologies like CONTRAST FOCUSING and PHASE DETECTION FOCUSING and how there is a new emerging variation called HYBRID AUTO FOCUSING which is a fusion of the two.



It was another great night where we all took away a little bit information about how our cameras work whilst having fun along the way.



I got a bit peckish…….. well someone had eaten all the biscuits already.

Roger found out what  it meant to get SONY FACE when he borrowed Dave’s camera.

Oh, and I found out who ate all the buscuits

Either that or Tim has something he might want to tell us all.

Special thanks to Merv Jones for holding the fort in the kitchen this week whilst James was away on holiday. Great job!

Also, thanks to Barry Clark, Dave, George Pope and Peter Duce for this week’s club photos.

Ian