Manual Focus?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by pulse, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. pulse

    pulse TPF Noob!

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    Ok, So this probly sounds like a retarded question, but do people always use manual focus? To me, when i manual focus, there seems to be quite a distance of rotating the 'focus ring' that i cannot tell with my own eyes what is perfectely spot on and clearly focused. I mean it may look good at the time, but when you view in up on the computer theres i good chance it wont be perfectly clear. I would like to be able to have more control over my camera especially because auto focus is not all that great in low light situations.
    I dunno, am i tottaly out to lunch on this or is there any sence to it? Your guys' input would be appreciated.
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Most people today don't use manual focus if they are using a DSLR unless they have to. Modern DSLRs are designed to be used with auto focusing and thus screen aids (such as brighter screens and other features) which aided manual focusing in the past are no longer included. There are some cameras which can be modded (by 3rd party groups) to have some of these aids installed though I have heard some can mess up your in camera metering.

    I only really use manual focus when I am shooting macro - and that is a standard practice since AF is not so good at those ranges due to hunting; the fact that AF does not know what you want in focus and because you freaquently can't just point the middle point at the subject and shoot
     
  3. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You will find that most Digital users do not use manual focus.
    If they do, it will probably be used in conjunction with the AF sensor.

    Like Overread, I primarily use MF with my macro lens.

    Coming from 20years of MF it is still hard for me to let the camera do it ... though I do appreciate this function on moving subjects.

    I would shoot more manual focus if I put a split screen in my DSLR ... hmmmm.
     
  4. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    I don't think there's a need for manual focus unless you need it, which is why full time manual focus is a really nice lens attribute. When you need it, you need it right then.
     
  5. monkeykoder

    monkeykoder TPF Noob!

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    my standard practice when manually focusing a DSLR is to find the ends where it is difficult to tell and set the focus halfway inbetween it is a little bit easier with the 50mm f1.8 or the 200mm f4 as the DOF is really shallow.
     
  6. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    I use manual focus at both ends of the spectrum....for macro, because the lens will sit there racking back-and-forth while hunting, and for the long telephoto because, well, it's a manual focus lens...:lol:. For everything in between, I let the autofocus do it's job.

    It's kinda nice after 20+ years of MF to let the camera do it for me.
     
  7. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's common to use autofocus on crop frame digital SLRs because they have comparatively tiny viewfinders that are pretty lousy for manually focusing. Even worse, Olympus DSLRs have such a huge crop factor (2x, compared with 1.5x and 1.6x of Nikon and Canon) that the viewfinders are, frankly, pathetic and manually focusing is near useless.

    I'm not sure about Olympus, but Nikons have an LED dot in the viewfinder that indicates correct focus. This is very helpful, but it's still not as good as having the big, bright, clear viewfinder of a film camera.
     
  8. viridari

    viridari TPF Noob!

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    My film cameras don't have an autofocus, so the answer is "yes" for them.

    On my Canon XTi, the auto focus is faster than me, and the viewfinder is so uselessly tiny that I can't focus with it anyway.
     
  9. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    Same here, although I also use the old lenses on my K100D. It's tough under some conditions, but a focusing screen upgrade in the near future will take care of that if I decide to get one. For now, it really isn't that bad.

    I like manual focus because it doesn't hunt and when it misses, it's my own fault. I am used to using it all the time on my film cameras, so it sometimes feels simpler than picking autofocus points and making sure the computer picks what I want it to.
     
  10. pulse

    pulse TPF Noob!

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    Good to know... I just always kinda figured for some reason that using manual is what you should generally be using.

    I have read this in a lot of places but have never been able to really understand what it means. Basically i just have a smaller sensor? what does this nessisarily mean in terms of the photos being produced?
     
  11. viridari

    viridari TPF Noob!

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    It changes the effective focal length of your lens!

    On my Canon XTi, with a 1.6x crop factor, my 50mm prime is effectively an 80mm lens.

    On a 2x crop sensor camera, a 50mm would effectively be 100mm.

    Great news for bird watchers. Lousy news for street photography, architecture, anywhere that you might want a wide angle lens.
     
  12. seaain.gray

    seaain.gray TPF Noob!

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    No you are not out to lunch. Yes, there are good reasons to learn MF as a skill. Low light is a very valid one.

    One of the best commonly available aids to MF is a split focusing screen. I have one in my second/backup DSLR body. I use it a lot with old manual lenses. With respect to use with AF, it does help in low light to both evaluate the AF accuracy and to tweak it somewhat when necessary.

    Here's a link. You camera is probably easily modified to add a split screen, though it may interfere somewhat with some functionality. Some people report that spot metering is not as accurate... look into your specific user community to see what, if any issues obtain...

    http://www.katzeyeoptics.com/
     

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