Manual Focusing


To autofocus or manually focus, that is the question??? Being an old photographer but young at heart, I heavily depend on my cameras to autofocus & nail the focal point on the subject’s eye, better known in the industry as eye autofocus. I’m not sure if it is my old age or just being in this photography industry for so long, but I get bored very easily & love to take on new challenges. Last year I acquired a Voigtlander 50mm f/1 Nokton Leica M mount manual lens, which I’ve adapted to my Sony E-mount system & have completely fallen head over heels in love with this lens! 

When I’m on a sunrise photo shoot on the east side of Oahu, photographing one of my personal projects, or even just playing around with natural light photography with a friend, I’ll always pack the Voigtlander in my bag. Still, during the darker hours of the morning, it’s tough to focus manually, so I’ll start off with my autofocus lens & switch over to the manual focus lens when it’s brighter…in theory, but once I get into my flow state, I forget to swap lens, every single time! Lol!

Individual sunrise photoshoot Diamond Head.

Fast forward to my last shoot, collaborating with a friend on a natural light photoshoot…I finally remembered to use the lens! Haha! I did a series of poses using the Voigtlander & I learned a few things about that lens. Terrible chromatic aberration, but easily fixed in Lightroom, & I need a minimum shutter speed of 1/250, also to take multiple shots, then refocus again using the focus peaking. Also I need to work on this technique of rocking back & forth just a hair, especially when I’m at a wide open aperture od f1.4 to f/2. The bokeh was simply buttery & beautiful!!!

I also learned there’s a time & place for that lens & it shouldn’t be used 100% of the time. On a static pose, it’s perfect! When I have my subject moving or walking toward or away from me, there’s no replacement with a modern autofocus lens that has continuous focus with eye/face tracking! As someone who thrives on capturing moments & emotions through my lens, truthfully, I’d never be able to shoot an entire engagement or elopement photo session with only a manual focus lens! I would definitely miss a ton of shots due to the focus being soft & totally ruining capturing the moments! It’s not only “the moment,” but it’s the moments that happen before & more importantly, the reaction after it happens!

While I’m working on shooting a family portrait, engagement, or elopement, I’ll have two camera bodies with me at all times, my Sony A7IV with an 85mm f1.4 mounted & as of April 5th, I’ve made a small adjustment to my 2nd body, a fixed focal length of 28mm f/1.7 for all my wide shots. I’ll also have a Sony 135mm tucked away in my bag. What is that camera? Well, that’s for another blog.

Creating memories from the heart ❤️…Aloha


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