I am just going to start off by saying there it really depends on the situation. I personally prefer to use manual focus. As you can see on the bmpc there is no autofocus. However, on my sonay7iii it does have AF and real-time tracking (which is pretty good).
So when do I use manual focus?
- Low light situations. If you do try to use an auto focus/real time tracking in a low light situation you will notice your camera will struggle. The focus change will be unreliable and wont look smooth.
- Focus pulling. In order to do this, you will need to be manual. IF you do this with auto focus again, it won’t be smooth.
- Locking the focus. In order to keep someone in focus I can just lock the focus and keep the same distance away from the subject.
- Creating artistic shots. You can create some artistic shots such as having someone out of focus and as they walk into shot they go into focus, it can look really nice. This is also good for product reveal shots.
Ok so when do I use AF?
- Sometimes if the subject is moving quickly it is good to use real time tracking, depending on the lighting conditions.
- If you are filming a vlog and need the camera to focus on yourself whilst in front of the camera.
If you haven’t used manual before and worry the footage won’t be in focus you turn on peaking, this will highlight what is in focus and what is not. This is pretty handy and I still use it at times.
I personally really enjoy filming in manual. I feel I have more control over what I am doing. But its all down to personal preference.