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02-27-2011, 12:38 AM   #1
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first manual lens. first impressions.

i bought a Horusbennu 50mm 1.7 the other day. its a cheap korean lens. basically bought it because i cant use my paypal account with korean money (otherwise i would have purchased a Super Tak from one of you nice folks). some people on here have reviewed this lens. seems to be alright. maybe not the sharpest lens out there, but i must say i am impressed with its contrast compare to the kit lens. its my first time with a prime or a manual lens. i have to say for my first prime, i dont know how thrilled i am with the 50mm focal length. i have read of here that people like 50s for portraits, which is not really my thing. maybe i would prefer a 28mm or even the DA Limited 15mm. but i have to say i enjoy shooting in manual. i have read reviews on here of people saying "i would like this lens if it was autofocus". to me that point is moot. if you want an autofocus lens then dont buy manual lenses. for someone who never used film (and just recently got interested in DSLR photography) i enjoy the challenge. actually the reason i went from point and shoot to DSLR is so i could learn more about how photography works. my point and shoot took some pretty decent pictures. but i think this manual lens will teach me a lot about what real photography is. somehow just owning a manual lens makes me feel seperate from most of my friends who only own a camera to take pictures of their friends getting drunk.

any tips out there about: #1 using a 50mm prime (ie. what you like to shoot with it, favorite subjects, ect) and #2 first time users of manual lenses. help on making the most of this somewhat outdated (but still fully usable equipment) cheers!!!

i have that fighting spirit. i am determined to see what this lens can offer me!

02-27-2011, 02:25 AM   #2
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I thought this was Chinese, not Korean - are you sure it's Korean? I heard it's a good lens - you can find more talk about it with a search. I'd like to see examples when you have them.

I use 50s mainly for portraits and sometimes for macros with extension tubes, but there's really no limit to what you can use them for. Check my blog for some articles and links about manual focus lenses.
02-27-2011, 08:12 AM   #3
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I have learned a lot from using manual focus lenses. Composition in camera is one aspect I like the best - you can focus on any part of the focus screen - not the AF points.

Live View on a tripod will ensure super sharp images.

I chimp when determining exposure - I try a few shots and adjust the exposure by looking at the results on the camera's lcd.

If this is your fastest lens, then you can experiment/learn about Bokeh.

Pick up some manual tubes and you can explore macro photography.

Move around when composing your photos - zoom with your feet as they say.
02-27-2011, 09:02 AM   #4
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MF is fun! I too just started with it, my first MF lens was a SMC M 28 2.8 VII (very nice fyi). Now I have a bunch lol

I agree about the 50mm focal length it is a bit on the long side for many applications. I recently bought a Revuenon/Cosina 55mm 1.2 amazing bokeh but the FL takes some getting used to.

A couple things you can do, buy a 28mm (or another FL), 28 seems to be a great FL on aps-c close to a 50mm on film, buy a raynox 150 adapter which will give extra creative options, closer magnification (but only really good then close up), or maybe check out close-up filters (never used them before)

MF primes are great though they bring out so much creativity, I want to get a focusing screen now. Not sure what dslr you have but I have the K-r and with it the Live View works quite well for MF often better results than through the viewfinder

02-27-2011, 12:17 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by wehavenowaves! Quote
somehow just owning a manual lens makes me feel seperate from most of my friends who only own a camera to take pictures of their friends getting drunk.

A manual focus lens is best used drunk!
02-28-2011, 03:42 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by blende8 Quote

A manual focus lens is best used drunk!
Especially an A-type mounted with a ringflash. Oh baby, the trouble that can result!
02-28-2011, 06:32 PM   #7
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yes i would say i had a little difficulty focusing with the view finder. does live view give you a better idea of what you are focused on? it seems that i took some shots (at a wider aperture) and only a portion of the area i thought i was focused on was sharp. any tips on focusing other than using live view??? thanks!
02-28-2011, 10:25 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by wehavenowaves! Quote
any tips on focusing other than using live view??? thanks!
Here.

03-01-2011, 07:44 AM   #9
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Congrats on your new lens.


I'm in a similar situation as yourself - new to DLSR photography, no experience with SLR, just got into MF lenses and primes.


My only advice is watch out for the addiction!


I got my first MF lens in December. Takumar 50mm 1.4 (early version), and since then, I've picked up 20+ lenses.
03-02-2011, 08:24 PM   #10
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okay so here is a shot i took with the lens. i had a question though. i know this is not an expensive high quality lens. you get what you pay for but i am not too happy with the sharpness. also maybe someone could see something i dont with this shot. took this one at F/2.8 or 2 i cant remember exactly. anyway in the viewfinder the care appeared to be in focus but when i got the image on my computer only the front of the car is in focus. the sideview mirror. i thought this might have been because of the larger aperture (smaller area in focus). so in an attempt to understand this lens more i went back two nights ago and took another shot F/5.6 and still did not manage to get the whole car in focus. it could just be the angle that i shot at making it more difficult to get the whole thing in focus but i cant quite figure it out. any bright ideas??? im having fun but it aint easy hahaha.

Last edited by wehavenowaves!; 10-19-2011 at 07:36 AM.
03-02-2011, 08:45 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by wehavenowaves! Quote
took this one at F/2.8 or 2 i cant remember exactly. anyway in the viewfinder the care appeared to be in focus but when i got the image on my computer only the front of the car is in focus.
You need to stop down more - you can find out how much with a DOF calculator or just try and see what f-stop gives you the DOF you need. Try f/9 or f/11.

Also, your image is underexposed.
03-03-2011, 12:00 PM   #12
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As Laurentiu said, your DOF is too thin -- you need to stop down more, but not much past f/16 or the diffraction effects will become noticeable. If you're shooting RAW, slight underexposure is OK and can be adjusted in development. This kind of shot, with greater depth required, is usually best with a shorter lens, maybe 28mm or 35mm, which have greater DOF than a 50mm. Shorter lenses are better for including elements of a picture; longer lenses are better for excluding everything but a (fairly tight) subject.

To work with this with a manual lens, do some measuring. Stand where you will, to frame the shot you want. Measure the distance from the camera to a point 1/3 of the way along the subject -- on the car body, that's just in front of the rear wheel. Call that point A. Now measure from the camera to the nearest and furthest parts pf the subject -- here, the front and back of the car. Call those points B and C.

Now, set the focus on your lens for point A. Look at the DOF scale on the lens, and see what f-stop includes the distances to points B and C. Stop-down the lens to one f-stop (or more) BEYOND the f-stop indicated -- that factors-in the DOF difference between full-frame and half-frame or APS-C.

So if your distance to point A is 10 feet, to point B is 7 feet, and to point C is 15 feet, then a 50mm lens focused to 10 feet shows that 7 feet and 15 feet are at the f/11 marks. Now stop-down the lens to f/16 or maybe just beyond, and the entire car body should be acceptably sharp.

You would have more leeway with a 35mm lens. A 35mm lens focused on 10 feet has the 7 feet and 15 feet marks within the f/5.6 mark, so you could stop-down to f/8 and have everything acceptably sharp, with no diffraction blurring. And that is because a 35mm lens just has greater DOF than a 50mm lens.

Shorter lenses let you suck-in more of a picture. Longer lenses let you surgically isolate a subject from their context. Ultrawide lenses let you emphasize a nearby subject while shrinking the background. Different tools, different purposes.

Last edited by RioRico; 03-03-2011 at 12:09 PM.
03-07-2011, 08:44 AM   #13
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rico that info was great. revisited this shot tonight. taken at a much smaller aperture, the image is much much sharper. or at least the whole car is in focus. also messed around with a little self portrait here (as i am hesitant to ask people to let me photograph them) since it seems that most people like the 50mm FL for portraits. besides it being kind of weird to take pictures of myself, i am pleased with the IQ. agree/disagree? yea or nay?

Last edited by wehavenowaves!; 10-19-2011 at 07:36 AM.
03-07-2011, 07:02 PM   #14
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Good going! Yes, the car shot is much sharper. And a good self-portrait, although I would tweak the contrast and brightness slightly, maybe with some orange filtration.

Anyway, DOF scales on manual primes can be among your best photographic friends. They were indispensable back when I shot with rangefinders. Pace off distances, pick the aperture-DOF marks, and VOILA!!
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