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01-04-2010, 10:58 AM   #16
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Yes, manual focus can be a pain in the ass. The main reason is, if you blow it, it's your fault.

However, I'll borrow a phrase from my other hobby and call it a "gateway" skill. If you can become reasonably competent at manual focus, the skill allows you to do so many other things. You can use any lens. You can supplement AF when conditions are tough for AF. You can shoot in the dark. It's definitely worth the learning curve.

01-04-2010, 11:00 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by B Grace Quote
You could pick up a cheap off-brand 28mm lens and see if you like shooting a manual focus lens. If you hate MF you could practically give the lens away and lose a very small amount of money. Camera shows are excellent for off-brand $5 K-mount lenses. They make nice paper weights.
You can even get a Pentax one for very little. The M28/2.8 - a very good lens - is in plentiful supply on Ebay, and with even a little patience, it shouldn't be hard to snag one for under $50. Even if you then get a 40, you'll probably still want the 28, because 40 is actually telephoto on APS-C. 28 is only barely wider than "normal". I find my 28 & 40 make a nice team.

As for the viability of MF, you don't say what camera you use. The ones with the larger pentaprism viewfinder will be better for MF than the smaller pentamirror cameras, but the difference isn't actually all that great, and the (also cheap!) Pentax O-ME53 viewfinder magnifier does help if you don't want to go to the trouble and expensive of a split screen.

BTW, the fact that Ansel Adams or Henri Cartier-Bresson were successful with MF doesn't really impress me in terms of giving me confidence that I too can be. It's the fact that my father and mother and grandparents were also successful with it (as evidenced by any number of family snapshots) that suggests AF is hardly the necessity we tend to assume today. I think a lot of people don't realize just ow recent an innovation AF is.

Here are some ways of putting AF into historical perspective:

We put men on the moon years before we found a way to make our cameras focus for us. When Paul Simon sang about Kodachrome, those nice bright colors were all still focused manually. Jimmy Carter was the first US president who could have ever been photographed with AF, and it's entirely possible that never happened - Ronald Reagan was already president before AF became popular. John Lennon was dead and Madonna and Prince were major stars before most people ever saw an AF camera. Not only were all pictures ever taken during the Vietnam War were focused manually, but the TV show MASH had already come and gone before the first SLR body with integrated AF. Most people probably had their first encounter with an Apple Macintosh before their first encounter with AF.
01-04-2010, 11:03 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
We put men on the moon years before we found a way to make our cameras focus for us. When Paul Simon sang about Kodachrome, those nice bright colors were all still focused manually. Jimmy Carter was the first US president who could have ever been photographed with AF, and it's entirely possible that never happened - Ronald Reagan was already president before AF became popular. John Lennon was dead and Madonna and Prince were major stars before most people ever saw an AF camera. Not only were all pictures ever taken during the Vietnam War were focused manually, but the TV show MASH had already come and gone before the first SLR body with integrated AF. Most people probably had their first encounter with an Apple Macintosh before their first encounter with AF.
No wonder all the photos from that era are so blurry.



Just kidding.
01-04-2010, 11:06 AM   #19
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Marc forgot to mention that a great many of our forebears managed to take mountains of family snapshots with fixed-focus cameras. The whole notion of having to focus at camera at all would have been entirely foreign to my grandparents.

01-04-2010, 11:59 AM   #20
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Using a manual focus and manual aperture lens is another rung on the ladder of photography expertise (not that I'm an expert!). I have an A 24mm f/2.8 that is just terrific around town. Plenty sharp and contrasty with good color rendition. There are plenty of even older lenses that'll fit the bill as well. Good luck and post some pics when you get it.
01-04-2010, 03:24 PM   #21
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So, the question still stands for me...

Get Pentax 40mm or the Voigtlander? Optically they appear to be similar, V offers better manual focusing, while Pentax is AF. Size is very similar as well. Taking above into account, does the Voigtlander have any other advantage over the Pentax?
01-04-2010, 03:25 PM   #22
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It is most definately worth learning to manual focus, and i don't think the K20 has a really horrendous focusing screen. It doesn't give me the control a viewfinder of a manual camera can give me, but generally i don't have a problem with focusing my 50 1.7. The main advantage of MF lenses is their price and build quality, i guess. And speed wise, i don't see a huge difference in most shots, if there's a difference of one or two seconds, that's no problem to me. I guess also that making a portrait with a really narrow depth of field is much more controllable with MF. But i've never tried AF for that, and the times i played around with it, it does not seem to bring me anything i've missed.
01-04-2010, 03:28 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by herzzreh Quote
does the Voigtlander have any other advantage over the Pentax?
Superior construction, a joy to handle and and it looks great.

01-04-2010, 03:37 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
Superior construction, a joy to handle and and it looks great.
You know, I gotta agree with the handling part. I'm currently playing with the Pentax 40mm and the damn thing is way too small. The camera doesn't feel right in my hand... mounting the grip makes it way batter.
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