Shooting manual with the 18-55mm kit lens


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Mar 28, 2009
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Hi everyone,

I think you could call me a complete newbie, I don't even have a camera yet! I'm (likely) getting a s/h Nikon D50 with the two kit lenses. From a few reviews I've read that the 18-55mm particularly is terrible to focus manually.

I may be ahead of myself but I've got ambitions to learn to use this camera in manual mode. I want to learn as much as I can and hate to be relying on Auto when I can do that fine with my compact.

So any thoughts, opinions, suggestions, reccomendations etc. with focusing the 18-55mm and 55-200m manually?

Thanks in advance!
well, when we talk about DSLRs and MANUAL Mode, there will be two different things, one would be regarding MANUAL Focus, and another would be MANUAL Mode.

Because according to your statement above, you both refered to manual focus AND manual mode.

So which is which?

anyway, there are a LOT of great people here who can help you out with your questions.

Reading text is always different from what someone wants to say audibly... so take no offense in my post. :)

Happy to help out and fellow newbie! :)
I do believe when people talked about "manual mode", they mean adjusting the "ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed" manually, not adjust the focus manually.

In general, most of the people will use autofocus. However, in some type of photography, manual focus is preferred, such as Macro Photography. On the hand, action sports type photography, FAST autofocus is preferred.

Most of the DSLR cameras on the market are similar in term of manual focusing. Some of them I know (learned from here) you can replace the focusing screen to make manual focusing easier. (such as the split circle)

So do not worry about your camera not able to manual focus as easier as some of the older SLR camera. In fact, it is one of the entry level DSLR camera Nikon offered that has the "Focus Drive Pin" so that it will autofocus some Nikon lenses that other Nikon entry level DSLR cameras cannot.
Everyone above has taken care of my concerns about your question, so I'll answer what you asked (just in case manual FOCUS really is what you want to do). The 18-55mm II is a lovely little lens, but manual focus is a bit fast. The front element moves (which means using polarizing filters, for example, can be a problem), and it moves very easily -- in fact, I could almost jigger it out of focus just by moving the camera up and down, if I'm in manual focus mode. The 55-200, on the other hand, has a bit tighter focus and is easier to keep where you put it. Also, the front element doesn't move.

That said, if you're just starting out, don't worry about manual FOCUS nor manual MODE at all. Learn how shutter speed, aperture, etc. work by using your Aperture priority and Shutter priority modes, and watching what your camera does when you adjust the settings. Good luck!
On Canon if you turn the lens to manual focus, half press the shutter button and manual focus the focus point will light up red and bleep when you hit focus not sure if Nikon is the same
My Canon do that too. And I believe Nikon also do the same thing. May not beep, but the red will light up from what I was told.
Why would you use manual focus if you don't need to? The 18-55MM isn't particularly known for any autofocus issues.
Thanks for the replies everyone. We're doing a course at school using film SLRs where we're manually focussing so I thought that would be the best way to learn. I guess I'll find out when the camera's actually in my hands!
Why would you use manual focus if you don't need to? The 18-55MM isn't particularly known for any autofocus issues.
There is nothing wrong with auto or manual focusing, some people are able to focus faster then the other. Others feel that they like to have the camera do as little as possible.

The choice is up to you and yes i feel that shooting in both manual focus and manual modes is the best way to learn you ways around the camera. Just dive on in and find what fits you. :lmao:
If you want to learn about setting aperture, shutter speed and ISO manually, have a read of the links in my signature.

However, if you've never used a dSLR before, I'd recommend that you start out with aperture priority and shutter priority first, so you can see how each value affects the image.

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