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Manual Focusing

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by alaios, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    Dear all,
    I like myself the manual focusing and my wife on the other side not at all.
    One way of course is to go for the legacy lenses, when budget allows, and switch to manual/DMF focus when you need. I do not like though that the legacy lenses do not have this nice ring with the meter printed over it.

    I am looking for a zooming lens and I wanted to ask you how easy is to focus manually and how much you rely on autofocus to large focal lengths.
    My inner self is fighting between an adapted and the e-series lenses. First I need to understand few things before the battle is over.

    Regards
    Alex
     
  2. Bugleone

    Bugleone TalkEmount Veteran

    210
    Aug 21, 2011
    I don't have any problems manual focussing, but then, I came to photography long before automatic systems had made their inroads. My only Sony lens is the 'kit' zoom which I use on AF for general and notebook work. For more demanding stuff I use my Canon FD lenses from the 1980's, along with some pentax lenses and some big Sonnars originally made for medium format cameras.

    Something often forgoten is that auto-focus was NOT progress but merely a progression.....it's actually MUCH cheaper to manufacure an auto-focus chip and motor than it is to engineer a smooth focussing ring. It's also largely a fallacy that auto-focus is 'faster'...it's not and there are other drawbacks for the serious photographer. An auto-focus lens must focus for every shot and there is great opportunity for the focus to fail in several ways. When there were only manual lenses the level of published photography was arguably of higher standard than post AF.

    Another disadvantage of AF is that it's 'target' oriented whereas, manual focus can (and should) be approached spacially and in turns of 'zones of sharpness'.

    The only area where AF is of real and lasting benefit is in the use of wide-angles which are much harder to focus..........the aids to accurate focus are; large aperture (minimal depth of field) and long focal length (which have shallower depth of field)

    To get teh best out of manual lenses you need to fully understand apertures and their resulting 'depth of field'. This is almost impossible with many AF lenses (notably Sony E lenses) because Mr Sony does not think we need to see a depth of field scale, presumably because he thinks none of us will be able to understand it.

    When using manual lenses one soon learns to keep the lens at hyperfocal distance or at mid-focus to be ready for eny eventuality,...this is something that AF photographers don't understand or deny the possibilty of doing.

    Here is a 'snatch' shot with an old Tokina 100-300 zoom lens.....shot within a split second. its NOT perfect focus as the focus ring was still moving when the shutter opened but the NEX 3 did good.....

    DSC002181.
     
  3. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    Great post and thanks. Which lens would you suggest me for outdoor zoom 50-210 (should be enough) that would be maximum at 150 dollars
    Regards
    A
     
  4. Bugleone

    Bugleone TalkEmount Veteran

    210
    Aug 21, 2011
    You could do worse than get one of these,...a Canon FD 70 to 210 f4 zoom (from early 1980's). It has a close up facility (although not 'macro' as claimed) it is a superbly made lens both in terms of image quality and it's engineering and build quality. It's easy to use with NEX (preferably on 'A'). I have seen these on ebay (uk) sell for around the £10 mark....

    P1030431.
     
  5. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    thanks for the tip. Is not that a bit big and heavy for outdoor street shooting?

    A.
     
  6. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    I have no problem with MF on still subjects. On moving subjects, e.g. kids playing, it's a PITA unless I pre-focus.

    I suggest you start with a simple to use and light lens like Minolta MD 50/1.7, and see how manual focusing works for you.

    I love my MF lenses but I am also fully aware of limitations.
     
  7. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    I have that lens already and using it...I like manual focus and is great :)
    I am not sure yet if the
    Canon FD 70 to 210 f4 might be too heavy for outdoor daily use.
     
  8. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    From the attached pic it certainly looks this way...
     
  9. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave