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Manual focussing

Manual focussing with the `focus ring' located on the lens barrel is one of the FZ10's selling points. It has the potential to give much greater control to the photographer over what objects are in, or out!, of focus. Uses of film SLR cameras are familiar with the concept of focus rings, but users from a `point-and-shoot' background will only be accustomed to the useful `autofocus' found on most modern cameras.

Scott (Yahoo! Panasonic forum, 19 March 2004)...

check the diopter in your viewfinder to make sure it is properly adjusted. I have better results using the viewfinder vs. the LCD display when manually focusing. Low light levels sometimes call for manual focus, as well as trying to manipulate the depth of field {the range of distances from the camera at which objects are sharply focussed}.
Janis Whitcomb (Trotting Horse and second link) (Yahoo! Panasonic forum, 18 March 2004)...

{manual focus} actually works well, if you {use} the autofocus assist. {Pushing the focus selection switch to the `assist' position will temporarily turn on the FZ10's autofocus. From the `starting point' chosen by the autofocus, the photographer can make manual focus adjustments.}

I never tried {manual focus} on moving objects, though <G> The {autofocus} has a hard time with my horses which have few hard edges, so I ended up using the manual {focus} and that enlarged center was quite helpful. But I had to find an edge even then! {an edge should be `sharp' when in focus, but will appear blur if not in focus}. I was shooting {pictures of my horses} from 10 feet away in some instances, to get the background more blurred. {See [*]}.

{Janis is referring to depth of field, the range of distances at which objects are in sharp focus. Sometimes a photographer deliberately places objects outside the depth of field because some objects are not of as much interest as the primary subject. In Janis's case, the horse is of interest, and so will be placed within the depth of field. However, the background is not of interest, and so is placed outside the depth of field. The background may be just plain ugly, like trees in winter without any leaves, when compared to the object of interest. A distracting background placed outside the depth of field will be blur, so reducing the background's distractiveness} .

{A shallow depth of field} Works great with SLRs {single-lens reflex cameras} and long lenses {I think Janis is referring to telephoto lenses}, but the digital focus covers more depth.
Turning the focus ring clockwise (from the perspective of the camera user) moves the focus point closer to the camera. Turning the focus ring anti-clockwise moves the focus point further away. The focus ring is `electronic' rather than mechanical, so the ring can still be turned even when the closest focus point or furthest focus point (usually called `infinity') has been reached. This can be the source of much confusion and frustration!



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David Fong 2009-09-04