Back in 2007 I bought a Nikon D40X kit on ebay that came with two lenses. One of the lenses didn’t autofocus with my camera but it was the only one that gave me the bokeh I wanted. I was able to manually focus so it worked pretty well most of the time.
Last year I finally replaced it with one that DOES autofocus (along with my first two prime lenses). Well after a year of practice and an upgrade in camera body that 55-300mm zoom lens was STILL giving me grief! I could NOT get a clear picture even with the autofocus.
The other day I watched a video from froknowsphoto.com and he said one secret to getting super clear focus even with a less than stellar lens (which mine is) is to keep your ISO higher than you normally would, that way you can have a super fast shutter speed (this would be where most people who know their way around a camera sigh “duh, greenhorn”). I’ve always been afraid to bump my ISO because I don’t like grain. I usually try to keep it as low as possible but I thought I would his suggestion anyway.
We piled the kids into the van and went to a splash park yesterday and it was REALLY sunny. I still tried to keep the ISO up around 500-800 and my shutter speed higher (1/500 was the lowest I went). BOOM! In focus photos of my super fast and squirmy kids!
I know the composition isn’t perfect, there are a lot of harsh shadows, and I still have the some soft focus with these but I am SO pleased! And I was still able to manually focus those times in which the autofocus wanted to focus on the wrong area (namely the water spray or the ropes in front of my kid’s faces).
Fun day :)