D80: Noob Question

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by sdgmusic, Apr 2, 2007.

  1. sdgmusic

    sdgmusic TPF Noob!

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    This may sound like a pretty dumb question but here it goes.

    I am looking into getting the Nikon D80, however it seems like this camera is geared towards mainly the auto focus types. I can see how this is useful for weddings and such, but what if I want to be fully manual. I have an old pentax from the 70s and on those lenses you can focus and set aperture and in some cases select zoom. When I looked at the D80 at the photo store, it seemed like it was always in focus and that the lens would only zoom, not focus. (it was the 18-70 lens).

    Am I just dumb or it there a better camera for me if that is the type of control I'd like to have?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Any modern SLR camera will allow you to do this...and 99% of lenses. All you have to do, is turn off the AF. I'm not sure what issue you are having :scratch: but it's almost certainly the lens, not the camera.

    A big difference you will notice, is that modern SLR cameras (the less expensive ones anyway) have smaller viewfinders. Many use a penta-mirror rather than a penta-prism. This saves size and weight but isn't as good for manual focusing. Also, many older camera have viewfinder screens that are better for manual focusing (split screen etc) while newer ones don't bother with that...although, you can often buy an aftermarket focus screen. (Katzeye etc.)
     
  3. sdgmusic

    sdgmusic TPF Noob!

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    OK so maybe my knowledge is lower than I thought. 18-70 indicated that this is a zoom lens? is the ring on the lens for zooming and not focusing? I looked at the Nikon 50mm f1.4 and it looks like what I know from the old SLR lenses. Maybe I just need to pick up a book and read about this stuff.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    There are two rings on the lens (as with many zoom lenses). One is for zooming and one is for focusing. On this lens, the focus ring is wider and closer to the front end of the lens. The zoom ring is narrower (maybe a bit too narrow?) and just behind the focus ring.
    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0401/04012804nikon18-70dx.asp
     
  5. gmarquez

    gmarquez TPF Noob!

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    There is a switch on the D80s (in the front next to the lens mount) to turn off autofocus. Some lenses also have a switch. With the 18-135 lens I have, there are two rings, one for zoom, one for focus. With this lens, you can even override the autofocus just by turning the focus ring, or you can go to pure manual focus. Is this the 18-70 you are looking at?:

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/1870.htm

    It looks like it has two rings, one for zoom, one for focus.
     
  6. sdgmusic

    sdgmusic TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone, sorry, it was my own stupidity, or lack of knowledge. I guess I am just always affraid to touch them at the store or ask questions for fear of looking stupid.
    Thanks
     
  7. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As a bit of advice. You won't likely be happy with manual focus on the D80 because it has no optical focusing aid as Mike mentioned above. You can use the little LED indicator but that will provide exactly the same result as AF will but just take more time and trouble.

    If you are set on getting a modern DSLR, you really need to get used the idea of embracing auto focus. I understand the reticence since I used manual focus for a half century myself but, in the end, you will find the auto focus is a better choice on the modern cameras. You just need to get accustomed to using the focus lock.
     
  8. sdgmusic

    sdgmusic TPF Noob!

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    Its not that I have a problem with autofocus, I love it believe me. I just want the option to not use it. I love my old 70's pentax and I would like the option to create some of the effects that I can on that but in digital.
     
  9. gmarquez

    gmarquez TPF Noob!

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    I've actually gotten pretty good results with manual focus on the D80...it's viewfinder is a bit bigger than others in the same class.

    However, I do mostly use the autofocus.


    sdgmusic, when you are at a camera store, do everything you can to try out the cameras. It's your hard earned money, it's the store that should be worried about 'looking stupid', and having you walk away without gracing them with your cash.

    With digitals getting so good at taking pictures, and with similar specs and features, it's more and more important to pick a camera that "feels" right, and helps you take the best pictures you can. Heft, viewfinder, balance, durability, size, shape, all contribute to this. Pick the floor models up and play with them...A LOT. Take some pictures, play with the zoom and the manual focus, try some autofucus of a moving 'target", etc.

    Remember, it's your money.
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Anything you could do with a manual focus camera/lens, you can do with an autofocus camera/lens.

    Do you perhaps mean that you want to get a shallow DOF (depth of field)? Where one part is in sharp focus and part (say the background) is out of focus?
    If so, that has nothing to do with manual or auto focus...it has to do with the maximum aperture of the lens. This is where the 50mm F1.4 would be able to give you a much more shallow DOF than the 18-70 F3.5-4.5
     
  11. sdgmusic

    sdgmusic TPF Noob!

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    Yes mike that is what I mean. so you suggest that if the D80 is my choice to get it with the 18-70 lens and purchase an extra 50mm lens?
     
  12. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That sounds like a good combo to me :thumbup:
     

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