Photo Basics: How a Camera’s Focusing System Works in Both Auto and Manual Modes (VIDEO)

Here’s the latest primer from Christian Tudor of the Academy of Photography, in a helpful series explaining how cameras work so you can achieve optimum results. In this episode, Tudor demonstrates everything you need to know to master a camera’s focusing system.

Tudor uses a combination of simple graphics and photos to explain a few basic concepts that will give you maximum control when focusing in both Auto and Manual modes. As simple as this may sound, there are a few things that can go wrong if you don’t use the proper technique for the situation at hand.

Tudor begins with an explanation of depth of field, and how a narrow zone of focus is often important to macro and portrait photography, while a maximum range of sharpness can be critical for shooting landscapes. As you’ll see, the important variables include both the lens and the specific aperture setting being used.

While most photographers use autofocus exclusively, Tudors describes certain situations in which better results can be achieved by focusing manually. You’ll sees his preferred approach with static subjects, low-light photography, and shooting action. There are also a few helpful tips on setting AF points properly when focusing in the Auto mode.

You can find more great advice on the Academy of Photography YouTube channel. And don’t miss the recent back-to-basics tutorial we posted, in which Tudor explains how aperture, ISO, and shutter speed interact to create a perfect exposure.