A Phrase for Easier Manual Focusing on Canon Lenses

These days, I noticed that some photographers and videographers have a hard time remembering which way is which when focusing manually and thought of this little mnemonic phrase that can help!

Most times when I film or shoot macro photography, I use manual focus. The problem with using manual focus is that it can take some time to get the subject in focus. What’s worse is sometimes I turn my focus ring to the right when I’m supposed to turn it to the left. I think we’ve been there and done that, learned it and memorized how it all works. But sometimes especially for the newbies, we forget. So here’s a little mnemonic phrase I say when focusing on my subjects specifically with Canon lenses:

Up Close and Personal and Far Down the Line”… or in short “”Up Close and Far Down“.

What does that mean?

Have you ever heard of the phrase… “Turn Right to Fight, Left to Live”? It’s a common mnemonic for firefighter recruits when learning how to use the nozzle of fire hoses.

For photographers using Canon lenses like me, I say “Up Close and Far Down”! whenever I focus.

For example, if something is close to me, I push my thumb up on the manual focus ring to get into focus of a subject close to me.

On the contrary, if a subject is far from me, I push my thumb down on the manual focus ring to get focus of a subject far from me.


Up Close and Personal and Far Down the Line

Thus the phrase “Far Down and Up Close”.

When something is far, push down. When something is close, push up.

I hope the diagram I made above helps.

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3 thoughts on “A Phrase for Easier Manual Focusing on Canon Lenses”

  1. great mnemonic
    Great mnemonic… makes it easy to remember which way is which. Do you happen to have one for nikon? They are the exact opposite to Canon.

  2. nikon
    for nikons, the same mnemonic firefighters use applies… right to fight left to live, or in other words right for far subjects, left for close subjects.


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