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01-03-2010, 09:52 PM   #1
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Owing only a manual lens

For casual shooting around town and on vacations, do you think owing a manual wide prime(around 28-40) and the 50-135 is a good idea? Will manual focus be a pain in the ass?

Please share you opinions.

01-03-2010, 10:02 PM   #2
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There are a few points;

How are you with manual focus? I prefer it but many find it a pain. It can be more difficult when tracking a moving target.

Unless you get an "A" lens, you'll be manually setting exposure (which again I prefer but some don't)

The 50-135 is a great performer, but a manual wide prime can vary in performance. You may want to checkout the lens review here on the site. A K30/2.8, K28/3.5 or K28/2.0 would be good choices (SMC Takumars are great too).
01-03-2010, 10:13 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by herzzreh Quote
...Will manual focus be a pain in the ass?
It depends on how tender your rear end is...truly!

It also depends a lot on how good your vision is and the focus screen. My daughter is fairly far-sighted and even with an auxiliary diopter on K10D viewfinder, she still does not trust herself for manual focus. My vision is pretty good, but I have found that an aftermarket screen works much better the stock screen with my manual focus lenses. The big trade-off with the aftermarket screen is the loss of accurate spot metering at smaller apertures.

There is also this matter of shooting style and type of subjects. Some things are easier with AF, others with MF. Experience teaches which works best with what. Once thing I do know...Manual focus with many AF lenses is not an easy task. Many have extremely short focus throws that make accurate and precise manual focus difficult. At good example is the Tamron 70-200/2.8.

What you might want to do is to get a couple of inexpensive used prime lenses and give manual focus a try. If you don't like it, you can usually sell the lenses for about what you paid.

Steve
01-03-2010, 10:15 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by herzzreh Quote
For casual shooting around town and on vacations, do you think owing a manual wide prime(around 28-40) and the 50-135 is a good idea? Will manual focus be a pain in the ass?

Please share you opinions.
If you choose to get a third-party split-prism focusing screen, it may be a pain in the butt to calibrate it correctly with the right shim. I put paper cutouts in there, at some point.

01-03-2010, 10:57 PM   #5
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I think the short answer is yes (pain in the rear i mean). I have various M and K lenses that I love using, but not when I am moving around a lot or there is pressure on time, as when travelling (especially with other people) or casually walking around. In a fairly static situation with a subject that doesn't move much they're great. Flowers, architecture, landscapes, static portraits - fine. But not general street photography or people on the move. Or not for me anyway. To be on a trip and have only manual lenses would drive me nuts.

Last edited by timo; 01-03-2010 at 11:03 PM.
01-03-2010, 11:28 PM   #6
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There was a time when there was no such thing as Auto Focus but it didn't stop people doing street photography - Cartier Bresson, Doisneau to name but two greats.
Sure it'll take some learning but what an achievement. Hyperfocal distance can be a big help.
01-04-2010, 01:12 AM   #7
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Now, the question begs... do I go for Pentax 40mm or Voigtlander 40mm? The biggest difference is autofocus. Otherwise, tests suggest that IQ is the same, resolution is the same, price is nearly the same. So, which one is it? This would be my only lens in 30mm-40mm range. I already own 50-135.
01-04-2010, 01:32 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by herzzreh Quote
Now, the question begs... do I go for Pentax 40mm or Voigtlander 40mm? The biggest difference is autofocus. Otherwise, tests suggest that IQ is the same, resolution is the same, price is nearly the same. So, which one is it? This would be my only lens in 30mm-40mm range. I already own 50-135.
The big difference between the two (apart from physical size and focusing options) is the focusing ring on the VL is a proper focusing ring and is damped beautifully. On AF lenses the focus ring tends to be thinner and feel looser. You also get the close-up filter which can be fun.

01-04-2010, 01:34 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
The big difference between the two (apart from physical size and focusing options) is the focusing ring on the VL is a proper focusing ring and is damped beautifully. On AF lenses the focus ring tends to be thinner and feel looser. You also get the close-up filter which can be fun.
That to, but if I had the Pentax one, I simply would never worry about MF, so the focusing ring feel would be irrelevant. I'm still debating whether to get this one or go with the VL...
01-04-2010, 01:40 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by herzzreh Quote
That to, but if I had the Pentax one, I simply would never worry about MF, so the focusing ring feel would be irrelevant. I'm still debating whether to get this one or go with the VL...
I'll be honest with you, I like MF, it means in a lot of cases I don't need to focus and recompose and it gives a sense of satisfaction. The longer you do it, the better you get as well. I also find it quite relaxing because it forces you to slow down and think more about what you are doing. For street stuff (when you're more hurried), once you get your head round prefocusing and judging distances, you're pretty much point and shooting.
01-04-2010, 03:39 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by herzzreh Quote
For casual shooting around town and on vacations, do you think owing a manual wide prime(around 28-40) and the 50-135 is a good idea? Will manual focus be a pain in the ass?

Please share you opinions.
It's what I do on a daily basis
01-04-2010, 06:19 AM   #12
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I would consider a couple of manual focus primes, not one.

I would look for 28-35mm for the normal field of view (equal to about 50mm on a film SLR) but also something in the range of 20mm or less (although these can be more expensive than a 10-20 or 12-24 ultra wide zoom)

Perhaps the best is getting an ultra wide zoom, the 50-135 and a prime at between 28 and 35
01-04-2010, 06:55 AM   #13
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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.
01-04-2010, 07:12 AM   #14
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I find that a 24mm prime (I use a 24mm f:3.5 M42 Super Takumar), approximately equivalent to a 35mm on a film camera, is a great walkaround general purpose wideangle. Also, the wider the angle of the lens, the less precise focusing accuracy has to be, especially at stopped down aperture settings..... easier to use hyperfocal distance strategies for pre-focusing.
01-04-2010, 08:00 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by raymeedc Quote
Also, the wider the angle of the lens, the less precise focusing accuracy has to be, especially at stopped down aperture settings..... easier to use hyperfocal distance strategies for pre-focusing.
note that while the need to be accurite is reduced due to the depth of field on the wide angle lenses, manually focusing a wide angle lens is difficult to get spot on for the same reason.
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