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04-21-2014, 06:13 PM   #1
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A Realization on my Abilities

This last weekend I went down to the airport to do some shooting. I had a number of ideas that I wanted to try out, so I loaded up the lenses I wanted to use and headed out. I usually shoot wide angle, late afternoon, evening and night, however this was during the day, lots of light, sunny using 1/5000 to 1/8000 at ISO 200 to 800.

It dawned on me while looking at the take on the rear screen and later back at the house, that I am not 20 any longer - actually will be 64 this year. My 55-300 with AF was wonderful and picked up some really excellent shots. On the other hand using manual focus with my A* 300/4, is just not cutting it (hand held) - photographer induced, not the lenses. I was also not fully satisfied with my ability with the M135 and M150 either.

My ability to shoot hand held manual focusing telephoto lenses is starting to slip. Better to stay, I think with auto focusing at least above 85mm.... 85 and below on a tripod is just fine. I should probably re-evaluate the 135 and 150 and keep them for landscaping - with things that don't move - outside of earthquake zones...



04-21-2014, 07:09 PM   #2
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I feel your pain. I'm 40 and have been for 31 years now and counting. I'm having a hard time focusing on any thing that moves even with AF and don't even ask about infinity. I sent my new K-3, HD 1.4 TC, and DA* 300 to Ricoh to have them calibrate the AF system. If this combo is as good as everyone is saying it is and I still can't get any BIFs, airplanes, race cars, or wildlife in sharp focus where do I go then?
04-21-2014, 07:54 PM   #3
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Because of age, eyesight, and another physical limitation, I have come to the conclusion that I have to use a tripod and AF lenses. If we see something on the river from the house, my wife will trot across the lawn to the bank and do the shooting with good results. I have to setup ahead of time with my tripod and wait/hope that something good will come along.
04-21-2014, 08:10 PM   #4
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I'm 28 and the only mf telephoto lens I own is a Tak 200mm. And I SUCK! Most of what I produce with it is crap unfortunately. I assume it's the focal length, the manual focusing, and my inexperience with all of the above. It's really discouraging to want to shoot with it instead of my DA 55-300mm considering how few are keepers. Maybe some day I'll get good with it but it almost seems like a futile endeavor considering what modern lenses I own are capable of.

04-21-2014, 08:21 PM   #5
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Did it ever occur to you that your manual focus lenses may need some AF adjustment before you can nail the shot? Your A or K/M lenses may have FF/BF issues whereas your DA or DA* lenses may be okay. On my k-5IIs, no AF adjustments needed for DA* or limited lenses, but all my m42 and K/M lenses need -10 to correct FF. Also, are you relying on the appearance of green hexagon to confirm focus in the camera? Don't count yourself out yet....
04-21-2014, 09:05 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
Did it ever occur to you that your manual focus lenses may need some AF adjustment before you can nail the shot? Your A or K/M lenses may have FF/BF issues whereas your DA or DA* lenses may be okay. On my k-5IIs, no AF adjustments needed for DA* or limited lenses, but all my m42 and K/M lenses need -10 to correct FF. Also, are you relying on the appearance of green hexagon to confirm focus in the camera? Don't count yourself out yet....
Now approaching the tender age of 61. I aquired my first DSLR with A/F about 5 years ago, I immediately wondered what I had missed all those years with M/F. Still I often use M/F for close up work where I find A/F just does not pick the right zone.
Back to basics.
Check diopter adjustment.
Use smaller apertures f8-f11
Use higher shutter speeds 1/250th
Make sure SR is on. Note SR cannot compensate for lateral movement up, down and sideways not forward and backward motions. Personally I find I have little trouble controlling lateral movement but forward and bacward movements during close up work greatly affect my focus.
Brace your body against something solid
Check your grip, left hand under the camera with left arm tucked into the body.

Shoot lots of images, its all good practice.
04-21-2014, 09:12 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Funny how this thread should pop up when I was just about to post something similar. Last weekend I took my daughter to the beach in Enoshima, Japan and from a previous visit I new that there would be an opportunity to shoot a bird known as Tombi in Japan which translates to Black-eared Kite. This birds hover above the beach and frequently swoop down to steal food. So I decided to take my DA"200 my longest tele and get some pics.

Not a birder I had my camera set up for what I normally shoot and realised after my first few shots that center point, afs would not cut it plus the images were just black blobs against a white sky. Even though it was slightly overcast shooting against the sky I had to dial in +2 comp.

I wasn't getting focus so I change the settings to 9 point af on my k5ii and afc hoping this would improve my hit rate but still I struggled. I would see a Tombi flying toward me in the distance and raise my camera to my eye half press the button to focus and discover that my lens was at the wrong focus point to focus quickly enough on the bird. I even struggled to get a sharp image when they were just hovering above.

I suppose I can get around the slowness of the lens by prefocussing with quick shift and the diopter adjustment should cover my failing eyesight. After my first try at shooting birds I now appreciate how difficult it is to get the shot. Below is one image of the bird I was trying to shoot.
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[/IMG]
04-21-2014, 09:34 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
On my k-5IIs, no AF adjustments needed for DA* or limited lenses, but all my m42 and K/M lenses need -10 to correct FF.
Hold it: perhaps I'm up too late, but AF adjustment is intended for AF lenses because these are controllable by the camera's software (or firmware, whatever). Older manual focus lenses are not adjustable except for the diopter. So, what are you adjusting here?

M

04-21-2014, 10:10 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
Hold it: perhaps I'm up too late, but AF adjustment is intended for AF lenses because these are controllable by the camera's software (or firmware, whatever). Older manual focus lenses are not adjustable except for the diopter. So, what are you adjusting here?
+1, you said it.There is no AF with manual lenses.
04-22-2014, 12:36 AM   #10
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This is an issue with many of my older students - who have recently picked up photography again after a break. Many of them are technically challenged when faced with the demands of modern high resolution digital SLR cameras. Though I have noticed the photographers that have experience with larger format cameras tend to adapt quicker than those who stuck with 35mm format.
04-22-2014, 04:07 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by everydaylife Quote
...I decided to take my DA"200 my longest tele and get some pics. Not a birder...
Excuse me... BIF-ing with a 200? I'd like to order what you are eating! The image is absolutely wonderful...

How many keepers did you expect to get?

I've been into photography since I was 10 and I'm 72, now. Today when I go out, I'm armed to the teeth (K3+DA*300+HD 1.4TC, High Performance SD Card, fully charged battery, etc) and my expectations are always zero. I figure every shot is an experiment, so I go out every day and shoot a lot... it's a numbers game.

Anyway, I'd almost kill to get an image like the one you posted.... Many times I return with nothing. If I can make 1 out of 100 work, I'm pleased.

There's no reason for you to be modest.

Thank you for sharing.

Cheers... M
04-22-2014, 04:18 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
Hold it: perhaps I'm up too late, but AF adjustment is intended for AF lenses because these are controllable by the camera's software (or firmware, whatever). Older manual focus lenses are not adjustable except for the diopter. So, what are you adjusting here?

M
QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxpixie Quote
+1, you said it.There is no AF with manual lenses.
It depends. If you are using the green hexagon as the focus indicator, making an adjustment can help, because you are using theAF system to make the decision of in focus.

I use a split image focusing screen myself
04-22-2014, 06:48 AM   #13
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Better to do what I can, avoid what I can't and be happy with what I get than to obsess about what I can't and don't.

Last edited by monochrome; 04-22-2014 at 07:31 AM.
04-22-2014, 07:05 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
My ability to shoot hand held manual focusing telephoto lenses is starting to slip.
Have you tried to master focus peaking with live view?
It works fine for me, even with a 180mm lens adapted on the Q.

Prefocusing with anticipation for action shots.
That's the way they did it in the days before AF.
04-22-2014, 07:13 AM   #15
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And remember, the OK button in Live View zooms in x6. Very, very handy when using legacy glass.

I don't like white as the chosen color, though.

I also have a NEX-7 and I've set it to a more useful red.
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