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Howrse APK


You can realize your dreams of owning a virtual horse via this game. Howrse will let you train one, dress her up, put her through competitions, and breed her. Live your passion for horses without limits with thousands of other players. This is new version with an English, previously the mobile version was only available in French. is the first community of people passionate about horses in the world with 50 million players since 2005!

Howrse Game Features:
- manage your equestrian center and offer boarding to other player's horses
- care and train your horses
- compete in dressage, show-jumping, cross-country or trot and gallop races
- breed your horses to improve the skills of your foals
- organise your own competitions
- design your own horses and share them with the community
- play in team to take the lead of the rankings

Requires Android: 2.1+
Download File: 15.4MB (Howrse APK)

Howrse apk download

Table Top Racing 1.0.8 APK

Table Top Racing

Table Top Racing reminds you of micro machines for the Sega mega drive. This game is really funny, it's like how you drive in racing car. I think this is one of the best car racing game yet. Best graphics and so addictive, a must download. Difficulty is set pretty good, not too easy but not impossible. If you ever liked Mario Karts or Micro Machines, you'll love Table Top Racing.

Best mobile racing game ever! With an awesome arsenal of madcap weapons and devious power-ups to play with, cars and tracks are brought to life with 'Triple-A' production values lavished on every pixel. Table Top Racing pits all manner of crazy cars and automobiles against each other in a world of table top race tracks and over-sized obstacles.

Game Features:
- 30+ Special Events 
- 17 Upgradeable Cars 
- 8 Incredible Race Tracks 
- 4 Fierce Championships 
- 6 Unique Game Play Modes 
- 9 Cunning Power-Ups

Google Play Features: 
- Cloudsave
- 28 Achievements
- 19 Leaderboards 
- Multi-language Support: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese.

Requires Android: 4.0+
Download file: 28MB (Table Top Racing 1.0.8 APK)

Table Top Racing  download

A Quick Tip to Get More Interesting Shots of Mountains

Ever wondered why most of the mountain shots we see look familiar? It even makes us wonder have we been there, or have I seen it before? The reason is simple; they are all shot from a very familiar angle, from the road at the bottom of the mountain. 

how to photograph mountains
how to photograph mountains

Photographing mountains from the ground looking up will create pictures that look very average coz that is how we are used to seeing mountains. The trick to make your mountain shots interesting is to show the scene from an angle that people don’t normally see. For example shoot from up high; to achieve this you can either drive as high as you can, hike the mountain or an adjacent one, set up your camera and shoot down on or across the mountains. 

mountain photography tips
mountain photography tips

This will picture the scene from a whole new point of view, one the viewers had never seen before, adding much more visual interest to the photograph.

Related Reading

  1. Professional Landscape Photography Tips - Shooting Landscapes in Vertical / Portrait Format
  2. Professional Landscape Photography Tips - Using Telephoto Lenses for Shooting Landscapes
  3. The Golden Rule of Landscape Photography
  4. 20 Common Mistakes Beginners Make in Landscape Photography and How to Avoid Them
  5. Professional secrets of Night Photography for Capturing Stunning Star Trails and Moonlit Landscapes

Minigore 2: Zombies 1.8 APK

Minigore 2 Zombies

Minigore 2 has been available on iOS for over a year now, and today we offer apk file to install on your Android phone. This game is so much fun to play! it's easy and entertaining. Don't hesitate download this amazing game the best dual stick shooter on the market. Minigore 2 is an award-winning action game starring Egoraptor! Dual-stick shooter masterpiece from the creators of Ice Rage, KingHunt and Bike Baron.

Your mission is help John Gore fight his way through sunny lakes, graveyards and freezing plains into a stormy forest. The legendary Metusalem has brought to life murderous chefs, giant lumberjacks, killer penguins, a single moose and the entire undead army of the Cossack General.

Minigore 2 game FEATURES:
- TWO CAMERA ANGLES try out the top-down view for a classic shooter experience
- 20 PLAYABLE CHARACTERS featuring guest stars such as Bike Baron, Zombieville USA and Hook Champ!
- PROPRIETARY ENGINE capable of showing 150 zombies on the screen at once
- MELEE & RANGED combat with over 10 weapons! 
- COMPANION & BEAST GAMEPLAY for each playable character
- PROCEDURAL ANIMATION brings zombie reactions to a whole new level
- RANDOM PATTERNS guarantee the fights never feel the same

What's New in Version 1.8:
You can change between high quality and low quality graphics. (in the options menu)
Ads are displayed less often.

Requires Android: 4.0.3+
Download file: 47MB (Minigore 2: Zombies 1.8 APK)

Minigore 2: Zombies download

Dungeon Keeper 1.0.51 APK

Dungeon Keeper

Dungeon keeper series for PC now You can play on Android phone. Game is so much fun highly recommended for everyone. This was one of the best games of all time. EA has captured the spirit of the originals perfectly. Dungeon Keeper is a strategy video game that originally appeared for the PC in the 90s, but late last year EA released a refreshed version just for mobile. Deploy wicked tactics and dominate your enemies!

Build the ultimate underground lair and summon diabolical forces to do your bidding. From Trolls to Bile Demons, Mistresses, and Warlocks – deploy your army of baddies and unleash special attacks to destroy the competition. Maximize your defenses to thwart invaders with expertly laid traps and dungeon design. Build rooms like the torture chamber or dark library to give attackers some painful and shocking surprises. It's time to get down!

Attack enemy dungeons and plunder their resources. Deploy your forces and face spike traps, cannons, poisonous spores and more. Too many enemies? Turn them into chickens! Master the Hand of Evil™ to unleash devastating spell attacks.
Some minions need more…motivation than others. Slap your Imps to get them working faster.
Form guilds with players from around the world. Your new alliances let you share minions, increase resource generation, and earn exclusive guild achievements.
Set the Dungeon Keeper rap as your ringtone and jam out.

Requires Android: 2.3.3+
Download file: 37MB (Dungeon Keeper 1.0.51 APK)

Dungeon Keeper apk download

Professional Landscape Photography Tips - Shooting Landscapes in Vertical / Portrait Format

Talking about formats, let’s first clear the air about what do we mean when we say vertical/portrait or horizontal/landscape. In photography, 'portrait' is a vertical rectangle and 'landscape' is a horizontal rectangle period.

Most novice photographers shoot majority of their pictures in landscape format for the simple reason that they are used to holding the camera horizontally. But as is the case with many other forms of ART; in photography there are no hard and fast rules regarding composition. There is no reason why a landscape should not be shot in portrait format or a portrait should not be shot in landscape format.  It’s all about choices; in fact photography is all about choices, right from the start you have to make many choices regarding the focal length, shooting angle, aperture/depth of field, shutter speed/motion etc.

 Tips for Shooting Landscapes in Vertical Format
Photo by: Kenny Teo

Deciding whether to shoot in vertical or horizontal orientation is yet another choice, a rather important one. It has much to do with your composition technique; the orientation chosen should be able to frame the subject/scene at hand in a visually interesting way, including elements that add to the value of the picture and excluding ones that do not. When you choose between either one of the format you are making a decision as to what is best for your subject/scene and what you want to keep in the photo and what you don’t.

Shooting in Both Vertical and Horizontal Formats

You can shoot the same subject in both orientations; but you can never shoot the exact same picture in vertical and horizontal formats. They need to be composed differently. Deliberately shooting a subject/scene in both vertical and horizontal formats can be a very useful exercise in simulating your creative talents especially in situations where one format seems a very obvious choice than the other.

Tips For Shooting Landscapes in Vertical / Portrait Format

how to photograph landscapes in portrait format
Photo by: Sergiu Bacioiu

Sometimes Landscapes look better in vertical format than in horizontal format, it could be due to the unique characteristics of the various elements that make up the landscape or due to the unique characteristics of the vertical image format. Here are some quick tips to get you started in vertical landscape photography.

1. Break Down Your Composition Into Three Quarters

One trick to make sure your vertical landscape pictures work is to divide the entire frame into three equal quarters, the foreground, midground and the background (just like the rule of thirds grid) and make sure you have some interesting element present in all three quarters.

2. Get Close to the foreground element and Shoot from a Low Angle

tips for shooting landscapes in portrait format
Photo by: Dave Toussaint

In the previous tip we have mentioned the importance of having one interesting element in all three quarters. Now when you compose your frame, get as close to the foreground element of interest as possible and shoot from a very low angle. This accentuates the visual weight of foreground element and any leading lines present in the composition thus making your picture interesting. You should set the focus at the foreground element (which should ideally be at the hyper focal distance) and use a narrow aperture so as to get a large enough depth of field to render everything in the frame acceptably sharp.  A tripod which can be set to very low angles (preferably one without a center column) could come in handy during such situations.

3. Shoot from a High Angle with Camera Tilted Down

vertical landscape photography
Photo by: Pavel P

This technique works well when shooting vertical landscapes with an ultra wide angle lens. Raise your tripod high above the subject and tilt the camera downwards, the perspective distortion thus caused gives more emphasis to the foreground elements all the while including a full sweep of the vast landscape in the frame.

4. Use Rule of Thirds as a guide to Place the Horizon

rule of thirds in landscape photography
Photo by: Jens Ceder

The rule of thirds gird could be used as a guideline to place your horizon while shooting landscapes in vertical format. In most cases better results are achieved by placing the horizon in line with either the top or bottom grid line. The choice of which one to choose should be based purely on what works well for the scene, the mood you wish to covey to the viewer and whether you have an interesting sky or not in your scene. In majority cases it works better than placing the horizon dead in the center of the frame. But if you are looking for symmetry (trying to capture reflections in water etc.) then placing the horizon line in the center such that it divides the frame into two equal parts could work well.

5. Make Use of Negative Space

Leaving some empty space on the top of your picture (usually the area covered by the sky) could work well to simplify your composition and to direct the viewers’ attention directly to the lower part of the image. It could also work well in a commercial point of view as graphic designers love empty spaces which allows them the flexibility to pop a photo caption onto an image, reverse out a headline, run body copy around an interesting shape, or even drop in a text box.

6. Shoot Vertical Landscapes with a Telephoto Lens

A telephoto lens makes background elements appear larger in comparison to the foreground elements. Thus it compresses the perspective, making objects that are in reality far apart from each other appearing as if they are closely stacked together. This compression of perspective makes them ideal tool for capturing vertical landscapes especially scenes that comprise of subjects at different distances and heights like mountains. Read more on this here - Using Telephoto Lenses for Shooting Landscapes.

7. Use the Tripod Mount on your Lens

If you are shooting landscapes using a telephoto lens, chances are the telephoto lens will feature a tripod mount. If so use it to attach the lens and camera to the tripod, this way you have the flexibility to keep the tripod head in normal position and just loosen and turn the camera to shoot vertical. Thus making sure the center of gravity stays where it is supposed to be.

8. Invest in an L-Bracket

If you shoot frequently in vertical orientation, it is a good idea to invest in an L Bracket. An L bracket is an L shaped plate used to mount the camera on a tripod. It allows easy switching from horizontal to vertical format without tilting the tripod head ensuring better stability.

9. Invest in a Battery Grip

Battery grip also known as vertical grips is a very useful accessory if you shoot a lot of vertical shots.  Battery Grips have a lot of advantages. It allows you to load a choice of one or two battery packs thus doubling the battery life. This is especially useful when shooting videos or using Live View mode that use more power. In addition, with the included battery magazine, you can also run the camera off six AA batteries. It also provides full vertical shooting controls to enhance camera handling, especially for shooting vertical pictures. It has a large number of operating controls as well: shutter button, Main Dial, multi-controller, AF point selection button, AE lock/FE lock button, AF start button, and multi-function button.

10. Shoot Vertical Panoramas

vertical panorma
Photo by: Bossi

Yes panoramas could also be vertical; you shoot a vertical panorama by shooting a series of shots in the landscape orientation starting from low to high and stitching them together in software during post production.

If you are not already doing so, make a habit of shooting scenes in both vertical and horizontal formats. And do post some of your interesting verticals in the comments below.

Professional Landscape Photography Tips - Using Telephoto Lenses for Shooting Landscapes

When thinking about landscape photography gear, the first thing that comes to mind is the picture of an ultra wide angle lens, then comes the tripod, various filters, shutter release etc.

And when we think about the photographs we think of shots of wide vistas stretching from the immediate foreground to the distant background, strategically positioned foreground elements that add interest to the picture, large depth of field generated by narrow apertures rendering everything in the frame in sharp focus etc.

Tips for Shooting Landscapes with a Telephoto Lens
Photo by: Sathish J

Well there is nothing wrong in people thinking of landscapes the way it was photographed traditionally. There are endless photographers that prove time and again that the technique work well. However the approach has its limitations and people are also accustomed to seeing such shots all the time, so in this article let us explore the technique of photographing landscapes using telephoto lenses, their merits and demerits and how best to get the most out of them.

Why Use Telephoto Lenses Instead of Wide Angle Lenses

For many photographers, a telephoto lens is used to bring distant objects closer when it is impossible to physically get closer to the subject. But ideally the choice of focal lengths should be based on the distinct perspectives it generates. A 50mm lens when used on a full frame camera is called a normal lens because it renders the perspective between foreground and background similar to the way the human eye sees perspective.

Wide angle lenses make the foreground elements appear larger and the background elements appear smaller. This will give more emphasis to the foreground elements and make the background elements appear miniscule. This distortion of perspective causes the background elements to appear as if they are far away from the foreground elements, even though in reality they are only a few feet apart. Thus they create an illusion of depth in the scene.

using telephoto lens in landscape photography
Photo by: Martin Gommel

A telephoto lens does the opposite; it makes background appear larger in comparison to the foreground. Thus it compresses the perspective making objects that are in reality far apart from each other appearing as if closely stacked together.

The choice of focal length should thus be made depending on what message you intend to give the viewers about the scene in front of you.

Get the Most Out of Every Scene

The narrow angle of view of telephoto lenses lets you extract many interesting images from within a large seemingly uninteresting landscape. You can use the telephoto lens to isolate and compress distant portions of the scene or, to zero in on close portions for more image possibilities or even turn your landscape imagery into many graphic abstracts.

telephoto landscape
Photo by: Lutz Koch

Using a long lens for landscapes requires a totally different thinking strategy. Once you learn to see the way a telephoto lens sees, your brain will be able to simplify each scene into many different compositions, each consisting of pure line, shape or form giving you endless ways to work each and every scene you ever encounter.

Unwanted elements in a scene like power lines, poles etc are hard to deal with when shooting with wide angle lenses, but all these could easily be eliminated and only the interesting elements could be selectively framed by using a telephoto lens.

Choosing the right Telephoto Focal Length for Landscapes

There is no hard and fast rule for focal lengths to be used for shooting landscapes, but generally focal lengths from 100mm to 300mm (for full frame cameras) work well for most situations. Although it is possible to shoot landscapes using much longer focal lengths, the perspective distortion (compression in case of telephoto lenses) produces images so different than the actual that they fall into "abstract" realm rather than the "pictorial" realm.

landscape photography tricks
Photo by: Stewart Baird

Consider lenses of focal length from 100mm-300mm for full frame cameras, 70mm-200mm for cameras with APS sized sensors and 50mm-150mm for Four thirds sensor cameras. Choosing a telephoto zoom over a fixed focal length lens gives you the much needed flexibility when composing your shots. Modern professional zoom lenses produce very high image quality comparable with that produced by fixed focal length lenses; and saves you the hassle of carrying more than one lens to cover different focal lengths.

What to Look For in a Telephoto Lens mainly intended for Landscape Shooting

Landscape photography often requires the use of large depth of field and hence the lens will be mostly used stopped down. So a faster lens is not always a better choice for landscape photographers. Slower lenses are often much cheaper than their faster siblings, they are also much lighter making it easier to carry them long distances over tough terrains. Generally slower lenses take smaller filters, which cost far less than larger filters and also take up less space in the camera bag. Similar is the case with fast auto-focus and Image stabilization features, both of which add to the costs and also the physical weight of the lens. Since landscape photographers mostly shoot on tripods, image stabilization is not that important to them, same is the case with focusing; most professionals prefer manual focusing with stationary subjects. The features discussed above namely faster maximum aperture, image stabilization, fast auto focus performance etc. add the bulk of the cost and if you are planning to mainly use a lens to shoot landscapes you could cut down on costs considerably by choosing lenses wisely.

Tips for Photographing Landscapes Using Telephoto Lenses

Shooting landscapes with telephoto lenses is the same as when using wide angle lenses, except for some additional considerations that you need to make. Here are few tips to help you get stunning pictures.

1. Composing The Scene

When you come across an interesting scene, think of elements that you believe contributes to its interestingness and try to isolate them in your shots. Also think of elements that do not add significantly to the scene or is more of a distraction and think how best to eliminate them from your compositions. The power to eliminate unwanted elements from a scene is the greatest advantage of using telephoto lenses over wide angle lenses.

landscape photography using tele lens
Photo by: Sandeep Somasekharan

For ex. If you have a very uninteresting sky in your scene; why include it in your composition in the first place? Zoom in tight and crop out the sky.

2. Use a Sturdy Tripod

The large depth of field often required in landscapes means you will often be shooting with very narrow aperture that require slower shutter speeds to compensate for the light loss. The longer the focal length used the greater the chances of your shot getting spoiled by camera shake. Whenever possible shoot on a solid tripod to ensure maximum image sharpness.

3. Enable Mirror Lock Up

If your DSLR has a mirror lock up function enable it and use a remote trigger or the timer function to ensure maximum sharpness. The mirror which is located very close to the sensor could induce small vibrations when it flips up and down at the start and end of every exposure. Using mirror lock up introduces a small delay between the mirror flipping up and the opening of the shutter and thereby reducing the chances of the shake spoiling the image. Shooting in live view also has the same effect as the mirror stays up when the camera is in live view mode.

4. Image Stabilization / Vibration Reduction

Image stabilization is a very advanced feature found in relatively high quality lenses and could be a life saver when shooting handheld in low light conditions. However when shooting on a tripod, always remember to turn it off. Else the stabilization feature will look for vibrations that are not present and in the process introduce vibrations of its own resulting in a softer image.

5. Beware of Wind

telephoto landscape photography
Photo by: Sathish J

When shooting with long focal length lenses, the wind could cause serious issues; strong winds could even knock down the equipment if the tripod is not stable enough or is not weighed down. But what we need to be aware of is the fact that even relatively mild wind could easily spoil our shots. When shooting in windy conditions you could try the following tricks to reduce its impact.

  • Take off your lens hood; longer lenses have large hoods which could catch wind easily.
  • Use your own body as a shield; place yourselves in between the camera and the wind.
  • If your tripod allows you to hang weight for better stability do it.
  • Place a beanbag or something similar (consider reducing some weight) over your lens for increased stability.
  • Increase the ISO settings for faster shutter speeds.
  • Shoot from a protected location; place a solid structure like a wall or a building or even a vehicle in between the wind and you.
  • Wait for the wind to subside.

6. Shoot at Your Lens’s Sweet Spot

landscape photography tips
Photo by: Derek Fung

Every lens has a sweet spot. An aperture setting that produces the best image sharpness. A rule of thumb states that for most lenses the sweet spot is 2 stops narrower than its maximum aperture. So for a lens with a maximum aperture setting of f/4 the sweet spot will be 2 stops narrower that means f/8.

7. Specialized Filters for Creative Control

Unlike a wide angle lens, it is very easy to use polarizing filters on telephoto lenses as there is very little chance of getting uneven polarization. You can also use other filters like Graduated Neutral Density Filters to control the amount of contrast in your scene. One thing to remember is that filter sizes may differ for your wide angle lens and telephoto lens. So filters originally bought for wide angle lenses may not fit on your telephoto lenses. However if your telephoto lens has a smaller diameter filter than your filters you can use adapter rings to make the filters suit the lens. But if the filters you own has a smaller diameter than your telephoto lenses filter diameter you have no choice but to buy larger size filters or shoot multiple exposure and blend them together in software.

8. Shooting Panoramic Landscapes

panoramic landscape photography using telephoto lens
Photo by: Sathish J

Telephoto lenses have very little distortion when compared to wide angle lenses and hence are great choice for shooting panoramic landscapes. Zoom in tight on the most interesting area of your image and capture multiple shots with a 30% overlap to create stunning panoramas. With telephoto lenses you can make multiple panoramas from a single scene.

Motocross Meltdown 1.0 APK


Motocross Meltdown is a driving game with a twist and high octane bikes.  If you like dirt bike riding you'll like this game. This is one of the best time killing game out there and available for both Android and iOS. It would be better if you could play with out wifi. Get ready for Motocross Meltdown! Download app and prepare for high-octane action and the ultimate Motocross adrenaline rush!

Push the envelope for big air, speed, and style to become the undisputed champion! Challenge opponents online or in single player events including Motocross, Freestyle, Step Up, and more!
Incredible HD graphics put you right in the dirt! Every jump, trick, and crash are rendered with bone crushing clarity.
Compete for freestyle dominance with insane tricks. Upgrade your skills to score even higher!
Create your own rider and go head-to-head with real world pros Wes Agee and Josh Hansen! Tailor your look with apparel from Metal Mulisha, Monster Energy, GoPro and other sponsors!
Outfit your bike with over 800 custom configurations. Be strategic with upgrades and leave your rivals in the dust!

Requires Android: 2.1+
Download File: 10.6MB (Motocross Meltdown 1.0 APK)

Motocross Meltdown Download

Stack Exchange 1.0.2 APK

Stack Exchange

Stack Exchange is the best Q&A-style sites on the Internet. There are sites dedicated to programming, gaming, travel, server management, cooking, photography and even anime.  Let's see how it behaves when You have the chance to ask, answer or comment. Many user been waiting for this app a long time and it doesn't disappoint! This is an awesome app. It runs smoothly and has a very clean user interface.

Stack Exchange App Features:
- Search for questions, or browse by tag
- Track all your interests in one place with the new combined feed view
- Get instant notifications when you receive an answer or comment
- Ask, answer, comment and vote on questions
This is the official app for all Stack Exchange sites, including Stack Overflow, Super User, Server Fault, Ask Ubuntu and Arqade.

New to Stack Exchange? Here’s how it works:
- Anybody can ask or answer a question
- The best answers are voted to the top
- You earn reputation points for every vote you receive
- Unlock privileges as you earn reputation, like the ability to comment or vote
- The community is run by you: moderators are elected, and top users have access to special tools to help moderate.

Requires Android: 4.0+
Download File: 1.9MB (Stack Exchange 1.0.2 APK)

Download Stack Exchange APK

20 Tips to Improve Focusing Accuracy and Sharpness in your Images

Perhaps the most common complaint photographers have ever raised is that “my pictures are not sharp enough” or “the focusing system is not up to the mark”. And near about 100% of those who have these issues attribute it to fault in their equipment. Although in some instances they are right and the equipment is indeed the culprit; but in majority of the cases it is not the equipment but lack of understanding or improper shooting technique that are causing issues. In this article we will discuss some basic facts and certain shooting techniques that every DSLR user should be aware of which will help them get the best out of their equipment in terms of Focus and Sharpness.

Achieving Better Focus and Sharpness in Your Images
Photo by: antonio pascual belda

1. Clean Your Lenses and Sensor

Dirt on camera sensor and lenses could adversely affect the performance of your camera by making focusing difficult, regularly clean both the front and back elements of your lenses and also make sure there is no dust on your sensor for best performance.

2. Change / Remove Lens Filters

dslr photography tips
Photo by: Kai C. Schwarzer

Cheap low quality filters could reduce the sharpness of your lens, what’s the logic of putting a 10$ filter in front of a 1000$ lens, you will end up with image quality equivalent of a 10$ lens. Even good quality filters deteriorate over time so make sure the filters you mount on your lens are high quality filters in perfect condition else remove the filter from the lens.

3. Get to Know Your Viewfinder

Ever wondered why there are so many squares and rectangles in the viewfinder well they are all focus points and they are not all the same. Most cameras have 9 – 11 focus points but recent models are featuring 64 +, the general rule is the more the better. Remember not all of the focus points could be selected for focusing as some of them function only as assist points.

DSLR Viewfinder
DSLR Viewfinder

Rectangle Focus Points – focus points represented by both horizontal and vertical rectangles are single plane focus points. They work only on lines of contrast at a 90 degree orientation. So horizontal rectangles are to be used for focusing on vertical subjects and vertical rectangles are to be used to focus on horizontal subjects.

Square Focus Points – focus points represented by a square are Cross points and they are superior to single points which are represented by rectangles because they work either way (can focus on both vertical and horizontal lines).

Use this information to align your subject with the right type of focus point to get fast and accurate focus. Also keep in mind the actual sensor area covered by a focus point is at least twice as large as the size of the rectangle shown in the viewfinder. So within that area the camera will try to focus on the area of greatest contrast.

4. Use only the Center Focus Point

Yes I know it does not make sense, if the camera has 64 focus points why not use them all, will it not help make focusing faster? The answer is both yes and no, if your intention is to attain focus fast then using all focusing points will certainly help you achieve that. But if your intention is to focus on the right part of the scene then its better you shift to center focus point only and use the focus point to focus precisely where you want. Center focus point is the most powerful and fastest focus point in any camera; it is also a cross type focus point.

DSLR Viewfinder
DSLR Viewfinder

For example imagine you are trying to shoot a scene with 5 different elements in it; in all point focus mode the camera does not know which one is important to you and will generally focus on the element that is closest to the camera. if that is not what you wanted you will have to release shutter button and try again this could be very frustrating, instead shift to center focus point only, point the center point at the element you need to be in focus, lock focus and recompose the scene. 

5. Adjust your Diopter

Each person’s eye sight is different and so camera manufactures have provided a way to adjust the focus of your cameras eyepiece to match that of your eyesight. Without a properly calibrated diopter you will not be able to judge whether you subject is in focus or not. Read more about Why and How to Use the Diopter Adjustment on Your DSLR Camera.

6. Use the Correct Focus Mode

Dig you DSLR’s users manual and read the section of focus modes. This one is important, in general most DSLR cameras have 2 or 3 different focus modes. But in my experience only 2 of them works well.

One Shot (Canon)  / Single Servo Mode (Nikon) – use this mode for best results on subjects that are stationary. You will get both visual and audio confirmation on when focus is locked (depending on camera settings), the shutter will not fire if the camera is unable to achieve focus.

AI Servo (Canon) / Continuous Servo Mode (Nikon) – use this mode to shoot moving subjects, the camera will follow the subject as it moves across the frame, focus is set at the time of release of the shutter and the camera will take a picture irrespective of whether or not focus has been achieved or not.

7. Proper Focusing Technique

Many lenses struggle to focus when switching from near to far focus or vice versa. This happens because the lens stars to hunt for focus from one end (near or far) and need to travel all the way to the other to actually find the subject. To make things easier some lenses have a function called focus limiter that allows you to limit the area that the lens need to look for this could speed up things quite a bit.

For example Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM Lens has a focus limiter that could be set from 1.8m to infinity or 6.8m to infinity so if you know that you are trying to focus on a subject that is far away you could set the focus limiter to 6.8m – infinity mode and make things much faster.

focus limit button

Another focusing technique is to manually focus the lens in the general direction so as to get the subject in acceptably sharp and then take auto focus do the precision fine tuning. This is much easier on lenses that have full time manual override function.

If manual focusing is not to your liking there is one tip that could help you auto focus better. Instead of pressing down the shutter button and keeping it pressed till the lens acquires focus, make it a two stage process, first half click to focus the lens in the general direction, release shutter button and half click again to fine tune and lock focus. This technique works because it helps minimize problems caused by inertia or slops in mechanics which cause the lens to overshoot the point of focus.

8. Understanding Subjects that are Difficult to Focus

Auto focus systems have evolved over the years and now deliver quite acceptable performance but they do tend to struggle with certain subjects such as the following:

  • Low-contrast subjects. (ex. blue sky, solid-color walls, etc.)
  • Subjects in low light.
  • Extremely backlit reflective subjects. (ex. car with a reflective body)
  • Overlapping near and far objects. (ex. animal in a cage)
  • Repetitive patterns. (ex. Skyscraper windows, computer keyboards, etc.)

When faced with such subjects / situations, do either of the following:

  • Focus on an object at the same distance as the subject and lock the focus. Recompose as needed and take your picture. 
  • Set the lens focus mode switch to <MF> and focus manually.

9. Where Should I Set My Focus?

focusing technique
Photo by: Jose Ramon

General rule of focus is to set your focus at the most important part of the subject / scene. Have your sharpest focus on the area that you want to draw the viewer's attention to.  For photographs of people and animals it’s the eyes, for landscapes with a foreground element it’s the foreground element, for landscapes without one set your focus at the Hyper Focal Distance.

10. Use Focus Lock Correctly

Focus, lock and then recompose is the most popular shooting technique. However bear in mind that if not used correctly this could cause focus errors due to lens movement (the arc angle) causing the camera to subject distance to shift slightly. This issue is most obvious when shooting macro and for macro photography I suggest you focus manually rather than depending on the cameras auto focus mechanism.

Some photographers suggest using the focus point closest to the subject so as to minimize this but in my opinion (especially if you are using a lens with full time manual focus) it is better to focus and recompose with your center focus point and if you find necessary (when using very shallow depth of field like f/1.4 or f/2.8) fine tune the focus manually. This will not be necessary in most cases however you should be aware of this and double check your focus after recomposing.

11. Don’t be Afraid to Focus Manually

Manual focusing has always been the best way to ensure accurate focus. But many photographers especially the ones who picked up photography in the digital age are very skeptical about this, they will shoot in manual mode if need be but does not entertain the idea of focusing manually. In fact manual focusing has never been so easy. The live view function coupled with the ability to zoom the view to say 5x or even 10x makes focusing manually much easier and precise.

12. Depth of Field is no Substitute for Good Focus

Irrespective of the depth of field in an image there is only one point of focus, you can only marginally improve the feel of sharpness by increasing depth of field but it could never substitute good focus.

13. Shutter Speed and Image Sharpness

dslr rule of thumb for shutter speed
Photo by: Kenny Teo

Camera shake is one other factor that could lead to loss of image sharpness, when shooting stationary subjects the general rule for handholding is to use a shutter speed that is 1 over the focal length of the lens used. So if you are using a 200mm lens make sure you have at least 1/200 as the shutter speed. But this is not applicable when shooting moving subjects, to capture moving subjects sharp one should either use fast shutter speeds capable of completely freezing the movement or use flash to freeze it. Learn more about action photography here – Understanding Action photography. Alternatively you could employ panning technique to capture movement in the background while keeping your subject sharp.

14. Turn On Image Stabilization / Vibration Reduction

If you are using a lens that has image stabilization feature (IS on Canon or VR on Nikon) turning it on could help you get sharper pictures while shooting handheld. Some cameras also offer stabilization at the sensor. However remember to turn it off when shooting on a tripod else it will influence the picture quality adversely.

15. Shoot on a Tripod for Ultimate Sharpness

tips to improve image sharpness
Photo by: Giuss 95

When it comes to keeping camera steady nothing could match the versatility of a tripod. But most photographers are put off from using one due to the extra effort of carrying it with them all the time and the time and effort needed to set up your shot. However it could help better compose the frame, and eliminate camera shake completely.

16. Focus and Sharpness are two Different Things

Focus and sharpness are two entirely different things, it should be understood that you can have a perfectly sharp out of focus picture. And you cannot make an out of focus picture in focus by sharpening.

17. Lens Correction Data

Sometimes your equipment could be the real culprit; a particular lens might be consistently focusing a few millimeters in front or behind the intended focus area. In such cases most modern cameras have the ability to make an adjustment in the camera to fix the issue. The camera allows you to enter lens correction data for up to 20 different lenses (depending upon camera model) and when the camera identifies a lens for which the correction data is entered is mounted it sets the focus accordingly so as to get accurate focus.

A simple home experiment could tell you whether or not your lens is focusing at the right point or is it off. Set camera on a tripod, use the widest aperture allowed by your lens and take a picture of a ruler places at an angle of 45 degrees to the camera. Autofocus on 5” mark and you will be able to tell where the focus area actually is when you look at the picture in your computer screen whether it is precisely at the 5” mark or is it off and if it’s off then by what amount.

18. Add More Light to the Scene

Cameras auto focus needs light to work properly and often its lack of enough light that causes issues. If your camera has an AF assist beam do enable it, similarly most branded external flash units have an infra red focus assist beam to make focusing easier, so even if you are not using flash you could use it to make focusing easier (turn of flash firing in flash menu). Alternatively a torch or a head lamp or virtually any light source could be used to throw light on to your subject to focus.

19. Ensure Correct Exposures

DSLR Histogram
DSLR Histogram

Sharpness of an image is determined by a line of contrast; so if your picture is underexposed or have dull lighting, an image will not appear sharp even if the focus and everything else is right. Use your camera's inbuilt histogram feature to make sure you have your exposures right. Modern DSLR cameras have both RGB and Luminescence histogram to help photographers with exposure decisions.

20. Check Sharpness by Zooming in on Your LCD Screen

zooming lcd panel of dslr camera
zooming lcd display of dslr camera

Always check your images for sharpness by zooming in to 100% on your LCD screen; if there is any blur at all it will be visible when zoomed in 100% so you could immediately re-shoot the picture.

Focus and Image Sharpness are two of the most important technical aspects in photography which sets apart great photography from mediocre work. so spare no effort to make sure your photographs are as sharp as possible with your current equipment.

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