Manual or Autofocus camera?

Greetings all:

This is my first post. I have a basic question that I need your help with, and I’ve already viewed all the threads before asking. My question is, I am selecting a trinoc camera of the HDMI/USB webcam type (e.g, Hayearr,lapsun, Eakins) most often used for PCB inspection. In your experience, should I select an auto focus model or one with manual focus? Am I going to be disabling the autofocus frequently? It seems like it’s a major factor in pricing differences. I’m a med student using an Amscope 610 plan infinity for pond water, general bio, with a focus on video. My budget’s ~500 US.
For example, Theres a 4K 60 FPS from Risingcam that has everything I’m looking for except it’s manual focus. But if autofocus is pretty important I’ll go w/the Lapsun 1080p 60fps.
Advice, feedback, suggestions?

Hello and Welcome to the forum. You do NOT want an autofocus camera for your microscope. This is because the AF can kick in unpredictably and change the field of view and/or blur things up while you are taking pictures or video footage. This can be annoying at best and make it unusable at worst. Many AF USB cameras can have their AF function disabled and controlled manually. This is done via the UVC interface if using a UVC compatible camera (for example the interface provided by Amcap.exe on Windows or the v4l2 utility on Linux) but some cheap modules have issues with the programming of their UVC microcontroller interface which messes that up. Notice I said ‘modules’ not ‘cameras’ - the two are not the same. A ‘module’ is the basic imaging board that is incorporated into a finished camera. So ‘cheap’ modules may be incorporated by companies into ‘not-so-cheap’ cameras they sell to you. Your best protection against this is to see what the seller says about disabling AF or having MF. If they say it can be focussed manually then at least you have a chance to returning it for a refund if it turns out not to be true (if you buy via a reputable seller which gives you that protection). All the best.

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