Useful Photography Tip #68: Using a Manual Focus Lens for Street Photography


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Most marketing gurus try to talk about their autofocus performance when it comes to capturing candid moments and street photography. While autofocusing performance has made loads and loads of advancements, using a particular method involving manual focusing can still beat the pants off of your camera’s autofocus.

First off, you’ll need a manual focus lens with a working depth of field scale. Then you’ll need to stop it down and read the depth of field scale accordingly. These scales usually have markings that look something like this: 16 11 8 4 | 4 8 11 16. At a given aperture and at a given focusing distance, you can see exactly what will be in focus. If you’re stopped down to f8 then everything on the focusing scale will be in focus that is between those two 8 markers.

To apply this to real life applications, all you need to do is to be focused on a certain distance away, walk up to said distance, and shoot. This is how many of the old masters used to shoot. Additionally, this is called hyperfocal length shooting and zone focusing. It works wonders and its how I’ve been shooting for a while.

Give it a shot and you’ll see just how many more photos you’ll be able to snag.


Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.