Manual Focus on a camcorder

I'm in the market right now for a new video camera and have narrowed it down to either the Panasonic GS250 or GS150. The only real big difference is that the GS250 offers a manual focus capabilty, while the 150 is strictly autofocus. I was wondering what everyones thoughts / experiences are about this? Is it better to spend the extra money for a manual focus? Any thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks!
I believe someone, I can't remember said something along the lines of; Imagine if you're filming a large tornado, you're film, and all of a sudden a rain drop lands smack dab in the middle of your camera lense, with auto focus, its going to immediately focus on the rain drop, while manual focus, you'll be able to focus on the tornado instead of the rain drop on your lense.
I just recently learned how to shut off my auto focus and after reviewing my first footage after doing this I can't tell you how much happier I am about my video. The one before look bad compared to this last one.
Get the manual focus model. If your in a low light situation or moving then the autofocus will def not give you good video. Trust me i learned may 29th last year near conway springs kansas.
you should use manual focuas exclusively for professional video.. Auto focus really is a consumerish feature..
Echoing the above, get the manual fogus! Too many times I've had AF going and it wuold wander in and out of focus. Clouds (low contrast from a bad spot) simply don't offer enough vertical contrast for most AF systems to focus on.
Originally posted by Mike Mezeul II
The only real big difference is that the GS250 offers a manual focus capabilty, while the 150 is strictly autofocus.

This is incorrect. The GS150 *does* have a manual focus capability. There's a switch on the side to set it to manual, then you use the joystick function to actually focus. It's a good idea to practice with it, of course, before you actually go out there with it. I found this out the hard way. I bought mine the day before I came out west. Seems like a nice camcorder so far. Hope this helps.

Keep the faith
Kinda wandering with the topic here, sorry, but I have a hard time getting my Canon XL-1 in (perfect) focus. My vid of the first Mulvane nader last year was just ever-so-slightly out of focus, and so I am considering reverting to auto with the XL-1, except in low light.

We were using a second vidcam as well, so not all was lost, and the slightly-out-of-focus wasn't bad, but....

Can anyone offer some tips on getting the dang XL-1 in perfect focus? What I dislike is that it doesn't offer an "infinity" option.


Manual focus is the only way to go! I have been burnt more than once by auto focus. I have some great shots of some nice raindrops on my windshield while you can see a closeup blury mess of a debris cloud in the background. The only thing that you may have problems with is that when you shut off your camcorder it will revert back to auto focus. At least my Cannon GL2 does. Then you have to remember to switch it back to manual and in the heat of the moment I often forget to and end up regretting it later.