There’s a lot of articles out there about the pros and cons of using manual focus lenses for your photography, with everyone trying to explain what the benefits are to shooting in manual, and the theory that taking pictures with a manual lens heightens creativity. Great photographers for National Geographic, Time, Magnum, and many others are using not only manual focus lenses, but also film cameras. Cameras of 35mm, 6×6, or even large format cameras (for the most patient photographers) are still playing a major qualitative role among professionals in the era of Instagram and iPhone photography.
In the 1998 film Pecker, we see a young and talented photographer taking satirical pictures of his family, friends, and city. He steals film so he can take as many photos as he wants and is manually focusing his cheap ‘60s Canonet in no time. There’s a funny scene in the movie where Pecker receives a new, autofocus camera as a gift, but he contemptuously puts it aside.