A client just emailed asking what new camera he should buy. We provide camera purchasing advice all the time. We love photography and work as pro shooters when called on.
But when someone asks for camera advice, my first question is always, “What’s wrong with the old one?”
Depending on the answer, the asker has just given me an important clue where to go with the advice.
Turns out this client was irritated by the annoying shutter lag most people associate with digital photography. Turns out the lag usually has nothing to do with “digital” and everything to do with “automatic.”
We’ve come to love and appreciate all that automation does for us. I’m not sure I remember how to focus a camera myself! But it’s easy to forget how much we’re asking of the camera’s little brain. This is especially true, considering the mere instant between when we start pressing the shutter release, and when that button “connects.”
Focusing takes the most time of all the auto functions. The other functions mainly deal with exposure, which can be measured and adjusted fairly quickly. So the camera makers instituted a feature that every camera has, that is perhaps the most useful technique in modern photography, and that almost no one knows about! It’s called pre-focus.
Pre-focusing is simple. Just point the camera in the direction you’d like to capture, frame your shot, then press the shutter release button down HALF way. If you press gently and slowly, you’ll feel an intermediate “stop.” Just let your finger rest there, holding the button half-way down, while you keep your shot framed. Then, when your Kodak moment arrives, finish pressing. You’ll think you have a new camera!
Experienced photographers pre-focus without even thinking. During the action, their fingers are always pressing down slightly on their shutter release. That’s a big part of the “magic” they work, in order to catch the perfect moment.
Please try it and let me know how it goes for you!