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02-11-2013, 04:56 PM   #16
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I use live view with lens wide open then zoom live view as needed. This provides a really narrow fov so the point of focus really "pops". Method works great is the subject not moving around too much.

02-13-2013, 12:58 PM   #17
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I'll add my experience: I've also been very critical of manual focus on dSLRs, and agree the main issue is that they are designed for autofocus use, with manual focus provision as an afterthought. The viewfinder is designed to give a bright, crisp view to compose while the autofocus does the rest. The APS sized screen is much reduced from manual focus film cameras, and the texture of the screen doesn't show much change at critical focus.
A 24x36 sensor/finder camera like the D600 has a much bigger view, and is clearly easier for manual focus. That's the main reason I would like a "FF" dSLR. I've tried the D600 with my old manual-focus Nikon 50 f1.4, and it is very good. But before jumping ship and spending the money, I decided to give the Type S screen a try in the K-5.
I must say it is a significant improvement. I've changed screens on the LX and MX film cameras, and the K-5 is very similar, and easy to do. Just be sure to get the area as dust-free as possible.
To check accuracy I used a 50 f1.2 SMC lens and focus test chart, camera tripod mounted. My camera did not need any shim change on the screen: even at f1.2 the focus was very accurate. The viewfinder is still small, but the matte screen makes it much easier to see small changes in focus. I find it works quite well with a 50mm lens (1.2, 1.4, 1.7 or 2.0) even in dim indoor lighting.
However, with the smaller sensor size a 50mm lens is no longer "normal" as the field of view is quite reduced compared to the film cameras that used 50mm as normal. To get an equivalent field of view you need to use a 35mm lens on the K-5. Because the image detail is reduced size, my 35mm f2.0 SMC-M lens is harder to focus, but still improved over the same lens on the standard K-5 screen. I've had a pretty good hit-rate at f2.0 indoors; it just takes more concentration than with a "FF" camera.
Of course, in dim light a Leica or Zeiss rangefinder is MUCH easier to focus, especially with wide-angle lenses. I'm lucky enough to have a Leica M9 which I use with my Leica lenses from the 60s-70s, and for indoor use with 35mm lenses it can't be beat, even though the K-5 can use higher ISO settings.

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