Purpose of Manual Focus?

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Can someone help explain why they are and why I should be excited for manual focus? What benefit will it accomplish in my cinematography when most of my subjects will usually be greater than 10 M which would put it pretty close to infinity focus which is basically the same thing as the Phantom series right?

Is there any crazy cool things that you can do with a manual focus system that you can't do right now with a Phantom? Any cool effects or something?

I want to be psyched about it because who doesn't love more customization but right now it just feels like an extra thing that can ruin your shot if forget to do it before you start filming with very little added benefit.
 
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Could be they included it to tune the cameras. Nikon and Canon allow for fine tuning where what you think is infinity can be back-focused or front-focused a bit even new from the factory (cough, like my $3,600 Nikon was!). Some on here with the P4 have screwed the lens assembly in and out to better focus the cameras - or perhaps settle their minds on if they suspect it is improperly set. I wouldn't be surprised if mine was a little off now too.
 
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The benefit is that you can create depth of field.

I may be in the minority, but I don't want depth of field. I want a totally crystal clear image....just based on what I use mine for.
 
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It's got no purpose in the Mavic's use case, its presence is just a "side effect" of the choice of camera technology that went into it.
 
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Fixed focus lensed have always a limited depth of field. The longer the lens and bigger the diafragma, the shallower the DOF.
A 28 mm lens is not a ultra wide lens and F2 is pretty big. This means that if you make a fixed focus to (near) infinity the close range within a couple of meters will be blurry and soft.
With the manual focus you can extend your range from very close to infinity.

I make very often with my P3P semi-close up images with only a few meters altitude as a complement on my ground based photography.

The Mavic will do this much better. A sharp foreground and a nice softer background. Now I'm in control and not the camera.
After all with every decent ground based camera you always choose for several reasons the focus point with suites best.
 
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I'm interested to see just how large the depth of field is on this camera, because I'm skeptical that it will be very deep or that most people would want to get close enough to an object for it to make a meaningful difference. It may end up being a nuisance. But, if it has manual focus, then you should be able to just leave it at infinity. Then again, it should also have auto-focus.
 
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Auto focus would be a nightmare. Manual focus, could be really useful in establishing shots. An example my be to start with a close up of a sign or feature that describes the location you are at, either from the ground prior to take off or from a low hover at the start of your video sequence.
 
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Auto focus would be a nightmare. Manual focus, could be really useful in establishing shots. An example my be to start with a close up of a sign or feature that describes the location you are at, either from the ground prior to take off or from a low hover at the start of your video sequence.
Auto-focus could be a nightmare, I agree. Pros and cons. But what about a shot starting close and then flying away? I mean I guess we'll have to see how the software and focus actually performs, but abrupt focus changes generally don't look that great. But again, speculation.
 
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Auto-focus could be a nightmare, I agree. Pros and cons. But what about a shot starting close and then flying away? I mean I guess we'll have to see how the software and focus actually performs, but abrupt focus changes generally don't look that great. But again, speculation.
Take your point gckless, we shall have to see what the final specification of the adjustable lens is and how it works out in the real world. What would be nice is a focus slider on the GUI that allowed you to alter the focus point from its current distance to infinity as slow as you want and in a linear manner.
 
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Narrow FOV, Auto focus, fly-by-wifi, active track, terrain are features all pointing to DJI wanting a camera to do aerial selfies. As stated, the Auto focus will now make the selfies show a nice depth of field feel instead of the flat infinite focus look.
 
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So now we should know the phantom and mavic series are targeting different marketing and usage. For landscape videography, 20mm wide lens are still the best. For for selfies and close up object, 28mm mavic makes the subject pop.
 
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Narrow FOV, Auto focus, fly-by-wifi, active track, terrain are features all pointing to DJI wanting a camera to do aerial selfies. As stated, the Auto focus will now make the selfies show a nice depth of field feel instead of the flat infinite focus look.
You won't get any noticeable effect unless you've got the drone close enough for the props to cut your face.

Again focus is not a feature, it's only a result of DJI likely choosing an off the shelf smartphone camera module for the Mavic for size reasons, and given smartphone camera modules happen to have a focussable lens (because it's actually useful there) we have to deal with it, nothing more. We'd be much better without, but IMO the portability improvement it allows for is worth the extra burden so I'll make do.

The P4 is still there if you're not happy with it.
 
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You won't get any noticeable effect unless you've got the drone close enough for the props to cut your face.

Again focus is not a feature, it's only a result of DJI likely choosing an off the shelf smartphone camera module for the Mavic for size reasons, and given smartphone camera modules happen to have a focussable lens (because it's actually useful there) we have to deal with it, nothing more. We'd be much better without, but IMO the portability improvement it allows for is worth the extra burden so I'll make do.

The P4 is still there if you're not happy with it.

That's an interesting opinion Kilrah, and you may possibly be right. I welcome the ability to have some control over focus adjustability, and consider this as a bonus. Given the Mavic seems to have ruffled a few feathers with some Phantom owners over the relatively small technical differences between the models, small being the operative word here, "compromises" to achieve what DJI have made in designing the Mavic may be considered as benefits by others. The main selling point of the Mavic is size, and DJI have had to overcome scaling issues to accomplish their design. I truly hope the Phantom range continues to develop with innovative advances that have successfully been used throughout the model changes from the original Phantom 1 to the current version 4. I accept the higher ground clearance is a big difference between the two designs, but you could argue that the lower centre of gravity helps the Mavic for a more stable landing, albeit the Phantom can handle rough terrain landings better due to its' superior ground clearance, so long as it doesn't tip over.
 

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