What are the Different Focus Types on a Digital Camera?

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Updated July 26, 2022

So, what are the different focus types on a digital camera? Knowing the answer will improve your technical skills in photography significantly. Alternatively, other questions you may have include what are the advantages of a digital camera, how to use a digital SLR camera, and how to balance the white on a digital camera. Of course, different styles will require different focus types even on the best digital cameras. Sports photographers will always have different needs than those doing underwater photography.


  • While there are variations in both styles, the two main focus types for cameras are autofocus and manual focus.
  • Manual focus lenses are used for types of photography that don’t have a lot of motion happening, such as still-life photography or commercial photography.
  • On the other hand, the auto mode should be used with high movement and is popular in street photography.

What are the Different Focus Types on a Digital Camera?

Looking to answer the question, “What are the different focus types on a digital camera?” will help you deliver better results every time. Two main focus modes exist, and understanding the differences between them is pivotal. Keep in mind that different types of photography require different focus modes.

Explaining Manual Focus Modes

Most professional photographers will use manual focus mode. This gives you ultimate control over your camera’s focus. Using manual focus lenses gives you the ability to change manual settings on your lens as necessary. This allows for fine-tuned focus required for many types of photography, such as still-life photography. The less movement, the more likely you should be using your manual settings. Dim light also calls for manual focus.

Types of Photography Using Manual

The following types of photography are best suited for manual modes:

  • Still-Life Photography
  • Macro Photography
  • Commercial Photography
  • Creative Photography
  • Golden Hour Photography

Explaining Autofocus Modes

All professional cameras come with the ability to shoot in autofocus mode. This mode is best used for types of photography that have a lot of movement in them, such as street photography. Having great ambient light gives you better results with autofocus, as well. Bright sunlight is a sure sign that you’re good to go with autofocus modes. Dim light will almost always call for manual focus instead.

Since autofocus produces different quality and picture sizes, it may also be beneficial to understand why cameras save images at different DPIs.

Types of Photography Using Autofocus

The different types of photography best done in an automatic mode include the following:

  • Street Photography
  • Evidence Photography
  • Indoor Photography
  • Art Photography

Some autofocus cameras also use the rangefinding mechanism, which was popular eons ago but is quite rare to find. You can check out what digital rangefinder cameras are.


Why would photographers change between focus modes?

Different types of photography require different focus modes. Manual focus is fine for hobbyists, but professional photographers need more control over their equipment.

What are the Different Types of Cameras Used for Photography?

There are countless models to choose from. Here is a quick list of the most general types of cameras in use today:

  • Film Cameras
  • Mirrorless Cameras
  • Full-Frame DSLRs
  • Point-And-Shoot Cameras

How Do Crop Sensors Affect Lenses?

Different crop sensor sizes will give vastly different results. There is also a considerable range of modern cameras, so understanding the crop sensor size in your camera model will make a massive difference in the outcome of your digital photography.

How Do Apertures Affect Lenses?

A wide aperture will allow for more light to enter your camera. Understanding the aperture range helps you figure out which camera style is best suited to the type of photography you’re looking to do. Dim light requires higher maximum apertures.

STAT: After a big dip in sales in 2012, consumer digital camera sales declined again in 2013 by 36 percent. (source)

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