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This post was most recently updated on September 25th, 2022

While photography is a fantastic career, when focusing on specific aspects of the role, there is some stigma attached to certain aspects of the role. This is particularly true when it comes to camera settings.

Photographers should be comfortable and confident in their knowledge of a camera and their ability to use it. As a result, some people tend to put heavy emphasis on using your camera on manual focus, rather than autofocus. 

However, is this pressure necessarily justified?

We think that it isn’t. While there is certainly a place for manual focus in photography, autofocus is particularly useful too. In fact, it is the setting that the majority of cameras excel at.

Even so, learning how to use manual focus is useful, especially when it comes to taking more detailed shots. 

In this article, we will be talking you through what autofocus and manual focus are. We will be discussing whether or not photographers use autofocus, and which is the better option to consider. 

What Is Autofocus?

Before we discuss whether or not photographers use autofocus, it is useful to know what this is. As its name suggests, autofocus is essentially when a camera will automatically focus on a subject. 

Instead of giving you, the photographer, the option to change the focus of an image, the camera will use the lens to focus on what it thinks should be in the forefront of the frame. 

Do Professional Photographers Use Autofocus

When you are learning the basics of a camera, autofocus is a great option to consider. It allows you to become comfortable with what the camera focuses on for its sharpest focus, and it will help you to frame images correctly. 

As autofocus is done automatically, it is a lot quicker, and is suited to photography where you need to take images quickly. However, sometimes, the camera can choose to focus on images that you do not want it to, which can be less than ideal. 

In addition to this, the quality of the images can vary depending on the type of camera you have.

The better the camera and lens are, the better the image quality will be. With cheaper cameras, autofocus is not always the best option to use. 

What Is Manual Focus?

In contrast to autofocus, manual focus allows you to have a better control over what the main focus of your photos will be. It allows you to focus on subjects that autofocus may have missed, and it ultimately does give you greater control over your camera. 

If you have the time to set up your shot, and the subject is not moving too quickly, manual focus tends to be the best option to use. It also allows the precision of images to be better, too. 

However, manual focus is slightly more difficult to master, and does require skill and knowledge to use. 

Do Professional Photographers Use Autofocus?

As we have already touched upon, some photographers will look down on others that use autofocus.

However, this should not be the case, as both autofocus and manual focus both have their place in photography.

While manual focus is potentially better on the whole, this does not make autofocus redundant. When it comes to taking faster images, autofocus can be the best option to consider.

Do Professional Photographers Use Autofocus

The camera does all of the difficult work with taking the shots, and it allows you to have more time focusing on the shot. With manual focus, you will also need to take the time to prepare your camera. 

When it comes to whether or not photographers use autofocus, this ultimately will depend on the specific photographer, and what they are photographing.

While some photographers may only use manual focus, others will use a mixture of the two. The more confident a photographer is with their camera, the easier they will find it to determine which option is better for them to use.

It is important to remember that there is no right or wrong in photography. Just because someone uses autofocus, does not mean you have to, and the same can be said for manual focus. 

The settings a photographer will use is based on their camera. If they have a high spec camera, then autofocus tends to be more favorable to use in some scenarios.

Whereas, when you have a less expensive camera, the autofocus settings can cause some sharpness issues with the camera. 

What is useful about autofocus is that for some cameras, this will also control the shutter speeds and aperture, for photography that is still, this is particularly great.

However, if you are taking photos where you need to manually adjust the aperture or the shutter speed, manual is the better option to consider. 

When looking at different photography roles, an example of a career path that tends to use autofocus is paparazzi.

This is because they need to take photos quickly and do not have the time to set up their camera on focus. Their photography heavily relies on more of a point and shoot method.

Which Is Better: Autofocus Or Manual Focus? 

In our opinion, neither is better than the other, as they have different purposes. The great thing about using manual focus is that it allows you to be reactive with your photography.

You are not limited in any way, and you have complete control over your camera’s settings.

This is better for times when you need to be creative in your photography, and do not want to be held back by your camera.

However, there is also a place for autofocus. If your main focus is on a subject, rather than creativity, sometimes manual focus can be a distraction rather than being useful.

When you need to take a photo quickly, and want the quality to be clear and great, autofocus is a useful option. 

Autofocus takes away the fuss and the time needed to get the correct settings. As the camera does this job for you, it allows you the time to set up your shot to get the perfect angle and framing. 

The main issue here is the stigma that is often attached to using autofocus.

However, the more comfortable and confident you are in your own photography skills, the more you will realize that there is no shame in using autofocus.

In fact, manual focus can sometimes hinder your photo taking and if you are on a job where you need to point and shoot, it is not the best option to use. 

Summary

We hope that you have found this article useful. As you can see, there are many photographers that use autofocus. While the vast majority of photographers will use manual focus in addition to autofocus, it does hold its place in photography. 

It is a useful tool to use, but it is also something you don’t want to solely rely on. While it is great, it does have its limitations, and as a result of th8is, you will also want to be comfortable using manual focus too. 

The most skilled photographers will know their cameras like the back of their hand, and this includes being comfortable and confident using autofocus in addition to manual focus. There really is no shame in using it!