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This is the place for Gigapan.com members to offer peer-to-peer support for exchanging tips, ideas, comments, etc.

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Forums » Gigapan Mechanism » Manual or Autofocus in crowds?

Manual or Autofocus in crowds?
Fred Jones Fred Jones
Total Posts: 5

I’m wondering in the case of a crowd in a stadium, I’ve to you use autofocus or manual? I’ll be using Canon 100-400, in 200mm zoom.

I read something like.. manual focus for the sky and autofocus for the crowd. Taking into account my knowledge in spherical panoramas I’m not sure aboute that.

I’ll appreciate any kind of suggestions.


Mgerais Mgerais Mgerais Mgerais
Total Posts: 2

hi fred. i need help with case like yours. im trying to make a gigaphoto in soccer game, but the people at the stadium are unfocusing. im using manual focus, with manual mode. my gigapan is epic pro.

see it http://gigapan.com/gigapans/45afc30efcea1d4d43d…
in this i use 55mm, nikon d5100. butt i want to use 200mm. the support/manual of gigapan website is very poor.

David Pivin David Pivin
Total Posts: 41

Mgerais and Fred,

There is not a simple answer to the focus question, but the big issue is that most cameras set on autofocus will fail to shoot if they have not achieved focus. Your GigaPan unit does not know this and will just move on to the next point, missing a shot. This is the reasoning behind using manual on the sky and auto on the crowd. However there will still be issues using autofocus with any near objects ‘stealing’ the focus when they are not of primary interest, such as bushes that are close by or in your case, nearby people who move in and out of position. Personally I would recommend setting manual focus on the stadium shot, but set focus and aperture to have a depth of focus starting out out at least 20 yards/meters away to infinity. The nearby people will be out of focus, but the rest will be fine. For guidance here, search for information about setting your focus to ‘hyperfocal distance’ on Google. Near objects can only be brought into focus by taking multiple exposures and ‘focus stacking’ before stitching as is done for indoor, small room or still life, tabletop panos. These are difficult to do and cannot tolerate any motion of the subject.


Tim Brown Tim Brown
Total Posts: 54

I’d agree that manual focus might be best (unless the stadium is strangely shaped so the distance to your subject is inconsistent), but if you do go with auto, sometimes in challenging environments it helps to set the the auto-focus point on the camera to just the center square (you know on the DSLR, all those boxes on the screen, choose just set the auto focus to use the center one). This lets the camera just focus on whatever is in the center and not get messed up if there are other things at varying depths. Fails completely some times but in some situations it save the photo.

You also might consider which order of rows and columns you go with for the shot. Like it might work to do “Rows Down” so you can do the sky on manual focus (or auto with the full image for the focal points) and then when you get to the people shift the focal point setting to “center only” as described above and do the people, then maybe switch focal point back to the whole image for the rest of shot. Something like that.

Forums» Gigapan Mechanism » Manual or Autofocus in crowds?