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Manual Focus Assist using legacy lenses on an NEX-7 (possibly all NEX models)

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by roundball, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    As I'm settling in / getting used to using Manual Mode and Spot Metering...I decided to explore my NEX-7 a little more and dive into the Manual Focus Assist feature.
    First reaction...(after only using 'Focus Peaking' with my Canon FD Lenses)...is wow!

    Had not seen it referred to on the forum and was wondering if that's because:
    1) Few people use manual legacy lenses, or;
    2) For those who do, few people bother with Manual Focus Assist, or:
    3) It's so commonly used nobody mentions it...(like "turn on the camera before you can use it")

    At the moment, I'm simply at the very beginning stage of:
    1) Press the navigation button once;
    2) Press 'Soft Key B' (next to Focus Emblem on LCD) to zoom up the orange magnified focus rectangle;
    3) Try to get the fine tune focus done before it times out;

    Is that pretty much all there is to it...or are there tips / tricks to remember when using Manual Focus Assist with legacy lenses?
     
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  2. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    It is very handy on static items, but not anything moving.
     
  3. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    777
    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    Change the MF Assist time to infinite, and you can fiddle to your heart's content. Half press the shutter to go back to the full image
     
  4. shnitz

    shnitz TalkEmount Regular

    26
    Jun 15, 2014
    I think that using adapted lenses with NEX cameras is very prevalent. Adapting lenses is something that Sony grabbed onto early, and they showed that they cared about the customer and were willing to try new things by retro-fitting the original NEX-3 and NEX-5 with focus peaking via a firmware update. It's one of the things that made me more than willing to ditch my Panasonic micro 4/3 gear to come over to Sony.

    I'd say that it's a combination of situations 2 and 3 for you. I can tell you that with how great focus peaking already is, given what I'm usually shooting, I hardly ever take my NEX-6 into magnified live view. I will do it when tripod-mounted, but for general handheld usage I don't bother.
     
  5. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Yes, Focus Peaking is great...but always looking for possible ways to handle situations.
    I've noticed over the past year's use that there have been a few instances where I've struggled to get sharp focus.

    For example, peaking seems to be less conspicuous with smaller apertures...or it's my 68 year old eyes, LOL...dunno.
    At any rate, it'll be interesting to see if Focus Assist helps in those occasional instances...and yes, it's a little cumbersome and not well suited to dynamic use, would be much better in a tripod situation.
    It'll also be interesting to see if it's any benefit with precision focusing using Canon FD Macro Lenses.
     
  6. mingus2112

    mingus2112 TalkEmount Regular

    142
    Jun 16, 2014
    I've been trying to use it lately, but it's not as helpful as i'd like. I wanted to use it today, for example, with one of my Minolta 135mm lenses. I was having a hard time using focus peaking on the subject. I would get the highlights behind and in front of the subject, but not on the subject itself (my father in law in a hammock about 50' away!). I often have this problem with people. there's not a lot of fine detail on a face (i get it sometimes with eyelashes, a beard, reflection in an eye) that the peaking picks up. Anyway, zooming in for the MF assist, I couldn't hold the camera steady enough to tell if I was spot on focus.

    I would think it would be great for a tripod shot (and was planning on using it for the moon tonight before I was shot down by thunderstorms!), but handheld (especially on a longer lens), not so much!

    -James
     
  7. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    I replied yesterday with thanks for the tip but see the post is not in the thread...must have typed it then never saved it.
    I found where I could make that change from the 2sec default to 5sec or infinity, went with infinity, will play with that some and get more familiar with it.
    Thanks !
     
  8. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    That's what I found also...have to at least be pretty well braced when handholding
    Had exactly the same thought about using it on the moon next time out...hopefully it'll help.
    And on that note, because I'd never shot something that far away before, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the focus peaking twinkling back at me from around the circumference of the moon the other night...
     
  9. mingus2112

    mingus2112 TalkEmount Regular

    142
    Jun 16, 2014
    Well that's cool! I was bummed to have been rained out last night, but I hear that we've got a bigger and brighter one coming next month! ;)

    -James
     
  10. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    There is an excellent website called Luna Solaria...everything you need to know about Moon's cycles, times of moonrise and moon-set, calendar of quarter, half, and full moon dates, etc...and they have a free smartphone App.

    http://www.lunasolaria.com/
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    • Like Like x 1
  12. jcdoss

    jcdoss TalkEmount Regular

    118
    Jul 6, 2013
    I've found the NEX-6 and manual (Pentax) lenses to be a complete joy to use together. Pentax lenses (like OM lenses) are quite small, and seem well-matched to the NEX form factor.

    I use focus magnification and peaking all the time. The only difference is that, your #2 above, I have control of focus magnification set to the AF/MF button on the back of the camera. This is much easier to hit with my thumb than Soft Key B, and doesn't require me to take my eye off the EVF. Does the NEX-7 have the same button?

    While focus mag is on, I usually adopt one of two techniques to keep things steady. I either 1) mash the camera against my nose when using the EVF, and try to exhale slowly with elbows in if I can't lean against something, or 2) cradle the camera in left hand at waist level with LCD pointed up. I found unexpectedly, that I use method #2 a lot more than I thought I would before I bought the camera.
     
  13. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
     
  14. unlo

    unlo Sony ******

    Jan 19, 2014
    Ohio
    Matt
    Enable release without lens in camera menu i believe

    Scribed henceforth from thy G pad.
     
  15. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    I figured out how to get it working and can now easily use my thumb to reach over and press the AF / MF button.
    I'll explain it as best I can...and this is for my NEX-7:

    First, to prepare for using Manual Focus Assist:
    1) I set the AF / MF feature to 'toggle' in the menu;
    2) I flip up the AF / MF control lever on the back of the camera from the AEL position to the AF / MF position;

    Then whenever an opportunity comes along where I want to use focus assist:
    1) I press the NEX-7 Navigation Button once to activate the feature;
    2) I press the button inside the AF / MF control lever pivot to get the orange rectangle image area to magnify.
    3) And additional depressions of that button bring about a couple different degrees of magnification.