manual or auto focus

momo3boys

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I was trying to see how well I could use the manual focus..major fail. I hear about photographers here preferring it, but it certainly isn't working for me!
Here are two pictures I took only focusing on how to focus, not subject, or composition or even exposure (too much). What do you do?

1.

0128.JPG



2.

01310.JPG
 

MLeeK

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Auto focus for most everything unless the light is low and I can't get focus to lock. Macro is a manual focus project too.
 

Natalie

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Your results look very similar to mine when I try to manual focus, which is why I only do it when I'm shooting true macro photos. The viewfinder is just too small and I can't tell if the image is properly focused or not, and I don't have bad eyesight either! Also, since I need both hands to operate my camera (one holding the camera/pressing the shutter button and one holding the flash), it's usually just not possible for me to manual focus. So far I've only got one non-macro shot I like using manual focus... In that case it was necessary since I couldn't for the life of me get the camera to auto-focus on the snake's eye (it always wanted to focus on the body behind the head), so I had no choice but to get a friend to hold the flash and focus the shot manually.

 

cgipson1

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Funny thing.. Once upon a time, I predicted that Auto-Focus for DSLR's would never work well or catch on. That was back when Auto Focus was just becoming available.. and it stunk most of the time!

On focusing.. I don't know what focusing screen you have in your D200.... so I will try to cover several things.

It should have either a coarse or fine MicroPrism (a circular collar that is in the middle of the focusing area. When you are trying to focus.. this area will show as even more OOF than the rest of the screen, until you hit focus.. and then it will basically disappear... and look sharp.

It may have a center horizontal line (Split prism) that if you put it on a vertical line on the subject.. it will show that line as separated until you get focus.. and the two parts will come together as one.

Here is a diagram of a katzeye focusing screen.. to give you an idea...

Katz Eye Focusing Screen for the Nikon D200 - KatzEye Optics
 

Joel_W

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I've struggled at times with AF doing close up florals as my P500 often couldn't focus on what I was centered on, so I used it's manual focus, which jist isn't that precise. Frustrated, I purchased a pristine Nikon D70S coupled with a 18-70mm. I've ordered the DR-6 right angle viewfinder with an option for 2x magnification that will dramatically help with critical focusing, as well being a huge help when using extension tubes.
 
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momo3boys

momo3boys

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cgipson1 said:
Funny thing.. Once upon a time, I predicted that Auto-Focus for DSLR's would never work well or catch on. That was back when Auto Focus was just becoming available.. and it stunk most of the time!

On focusing.. I don't know what focusing screen you have in your D200.... so I will try to cover several things.

It should have either a coarse or fine MicroPrism (a circular collar that is in the middle of the focusing area. When you are trying to focus.. this area will show as even more OOF than the rest of the screen, until you hit focus.. and then it will basically disappear... and look sharp.

It may have a center horizontal line (Split prism) that if you put it on a vertical line on the subject.. it will show that line as separated until you get focus.. and the two parts will come together as one.

Here is a diagram of a katzeye focusing screen.. to give you an idea...

Katz Eye Focusing Screen for the Nikon D200 - KatzEye Optics

I have nothing like that. I remember using a camera once that did though. I have horrible eyesight even with my contacts, so something like that would be great, but is it worth it? Other than macro shooting?
 

cgipson1

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cgipson1 said:
Funny thing.. Once upon a time, I predicted that Auto-Focus for DSLR's would never work well or catch on. That was back when Auto Focus was just becoming available.. and it stunk most of the time!

On focusing.. I don't know what focusing screen you have in your D200.... so I will try to cover several things.

It should have either a coarse or fine MicroPrism (a circular collar that is in the middle of the focusing area. When you are trying to focus.. this area will show as even more OOF than the rest of the screen, until you hit focus.. and then it will basically disappear... and look sharp.

It may have a center horizontal line (Split prism) that if you put it on a vertical line on the subject.. it will show that line as separated until you get focus.. and the two parts will come together as one.

Here is a diagram of a katzeye focusing screen.. to give you an idea...

Katz Eye Focusing Screen for the Nikon D200 - KatzEye Optics

I have nothing like that. I remember using a camera once that did though. I have horrible eyesight even with my contacts, so something like that would be great, but is it worth it? Other than macro shooting?

only you can answer that... everyone is different. I like the Katzeye because it really is great for macro... although sometimes the split prism is somewhat distracting for non-macro shoots.

I am assuming you have corrected for your eyesight with the diopter adjustment?
 
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momo3boys

momo3boys

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I'll have to add it to my wish list. I can't adjust the sight because my poor eyesight is most often due to crappy contacts drying out. Even with my glasses though I just can't tell what in/out of focus, no matter how I adjust the viewfinder. If I need to use manual focus, I'll just have to get the Katz eye. Considering I don't have a macro lens on my D200, I won't need it for that anyway!
 

cgipson1

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I'll have to add it to my wish list. I can't adjust the sight because my poor eyesight is most often due to crappy contacts drying out. Even with my glasses though I just can't tell what in/out of focus, no matter how I adjust the viewfinder. If I need to use manual focus, I'll just have to get the Katz eye. Considering I don't have a macro lens on my D200, I won't need it for that anyway!

If you are having problems like that.. the Katzeye probably wouldn't help. Are you wearing hard or soft contacts? I would suggest going to a good optometrist that specializes in contacts.. and let him know you are having issues. If you have been going to any of the chains or big discount stores... sometimes the service there is less than optimal. I used to wear contact.. until I had Lasik done.
 

MTVision

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I have horrible eyesight and my monthly contacts are now pushing on a year so I have a hard time with manual focus through the viewfinder. If you are using a tripod and have live view you can zoom right up and it's much easier to tell if it's in focus or not.

My dads film camera - some old Olympus has a weird viewfinder that is awesome for manual focus even with my crappy eyes. I'm assuming it's similar to what cgipson mentioned though....
 

analog.universe

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The stock focusing screens in most cameras make it impossible to actually see the focus plane, even if you can occasionally get a hint of what's in focus. I use an aftermarket screen from focusingscreen.com, and it's awesome. My 2 most used lenses are manual focus only, and using the screen it's not a problem at all. I will note though that my 85mm 1.8 was not designed to be focused manually.... it's got a focusing ring, but it's almost impossible to manipulate it accurately since it has an extremely short angle of rotation, and less than perfect manufacturing tolerances. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is manually focusing with ease is a combination of the lens and the focusing screen. (and practice! lots of practice...)
 

cgipson1

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The stock focusing screens in most cameras make it impossible to actually see the focus plane, even if you can occasionally get a hint of what's in focus. I use an aftermarket screen from focusingscreen.com, and it's awesome. My 2 most used lenses are manual focus only, and using the screen it's not a problem at all. I will note though that my 85mm 1.8 was not designed to be focused manually.... it's got a focusing ring, but it's almost impossible to manipulate it accurately since it has an extremely short angle of rotation, and less than perfect manufacturing tolerances. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is manually focusing with ease is a combination of the lens and the focusing screen. (and practice! lots of practice...)

Glad to see someone happy with FocusingScreen.com.. I knew about them, and have considered some of their screens. I was hesitant though.. as their website seemed a little hokey.
 

analog.universe

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The stock focusing screens in most cameras make it impossible to actually see the focus plane, even if you can occasionally get a hint of what's in focus. I use an aftermarket screen from focusingscreen.com, and it's awesome. My 2 most used lenses are manual focus only, and using the screen it's not a problem at all. I will note though that my 85mm 1.8 was not designed to be focused manually.... it's got a focusing ring, but it's almost impossible to manipulate it accurately since it has an extremely short angle of rotation, and less than perfect manufacturing tolerances. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is manually focusing with ease is a combination of the lens and the focusing screen. (and practice! lots of practice...)

Glad to see someone happy with FocusingScreen.com.. I knew about them, and have considered some of their screens. I was hesitant though.. as their website seemed a little hokey.

They're certainly hokey, but the product is great. The instructions and all that were badly translated and badly copied. The company as a whole doesn't have much interaction with their customers, the whole thing felt very hands off. But you do get an excellent screen at half the price of katzeye...

Now that I know what's possible I'd like to try a simpler screen from a different company probably. I think the one I'm using is a K3 style, it's got a split prism, surrounded by a microsprism ring, surrounded by a coarse matte. I'm curious what it might be like to use a simple high quality coarse matte without all the prisms. It's nice having a lot of tools, but they're also obtrusive when you're trying to think about composition.
 

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