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03-22-2015, 02:19 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Its a trade off. I like having buttons I can press to change setting or dials I can turn without having to stop and go into a menu, but these controls take space that you have to give up on a camera like the A7. Sometimes I like the compact A7m2, but for somethings I like the larger K-3 with better controls.
The a7 I was playing with could actually be set up to have a front dial for shutter speed, rear dial for aperture, and the menu dial could be set so when it is scrolled it changes the iso setting, making 3 dials. When using manual focus lenses, what more would you really need to search for in the menus (which were laid out pretty well and pretty quick to navigate imo)?

03-22-2015, 05:48 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by stillshot2 Quote
The a7 I was playing with could actually be set up to have a front dial for shutter speed, rear dial for aperture, and the menu dial could be set so when it is scrolled it changes the iso setting, making 3 dials. When using manual focus lenses, what more would you really need to search for in the menus (which were laid out pretty well and pretty quick to navigate imo)?
If your lighting is changing and you want to change metering or you want to adjust drive or AF mode. I love the customizable buttons on the A7m2, but the body is so small they had to really make the controls compact. When working outside or in the cold its nice to have large controls that you can quickly work with. There are trade offs for the small size. I don't use the A7m2 in the cold because batter life is pathetic even in warm weather. In cold weather the batteries are almost worthless. I love the A7m2 simply for the image quality and the Sony Zeiss 55mm. If it weren't for the IQ and the 55mm lens I would not keep the system. IF Sony can continue to make glass like the 55mm they will have a money making system on their hands.
03-23-2015, 05:37 PM - 1 Like   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I feel like we get a distorted view of the photography world on the forum here, where everyone is into ancient lenses and figuring out ways to adapt them to current digital cameras. But manual focus, even here isn't the norm. All of the pro photographers I know use auto focus and lean on it pretty heavily, for what it is worth. But that is a pretty small sample size and I wouldn't rely on it to judge what the public really wants.
There are more manual focusers than you think. With a larger prisms and better focus peaking manual focusing becomes much less of a hassle. Plus I think reusing old lenses, many of which were built to last longer than most modern ones, is smart, more economical, and better environmentally. Plus some of these old lenses are beyond sublime! Pentax has been on the forefront of this movement with backwards compatibility for quite sometime now. Yeah, pros who need maximum speed and accuracy to quickly finish jobs and maximize profit are going to need autofocus, but more and more portrait photographers ( and certainly cinematographers) are going oldschool. It's a movement that will continue to grow.
03-23-2015, 05:53 PM   #34
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I find that with a good focus peaking system, I can actually get a higher rate of keepers with fast lenses than a camera's auto focus systems can give me, and without sacrificing much time at all by turning the focus ring by hand after a little practice.

03-23-2015, 06:07 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by stillshot2 Quote
I find that with a good focus peaking system, I can actually get a higher rate of keepers with fast lenses than a camera's auto focus systems can give me, and without sacrificing much time at all by turning the focus ring by hand after a little practice.
Isn't shooting with focus peaking fun? I've learned that old lenses with the best micro-contrast work best with focus peaking. The details really light up with precision. FP is only going to get better in the future. I wish Pentax could get their FP up to the Sony level.

That said, the new Pentax full frame should be a joy to use with it's larger prism. A manual focusing dream come true.
03-23-2015, 08:49 PM - 1 Like   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeff knight Quote
I wish Pentax could get their FP up to the Sony level.
Yeah, I feel Pentax still has some catching up to do with focus peaking. And I don't understand why the mirror has to move during the use of Pentax's live view. My Sony a55 I used to have was pretty good for focus peaking, but the a7 I played around with was significantly better.
03-24-2015, 01:44 PM - 1 Like   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
All of the pro photographers I know use auto focus and lean on it pretty heavily, for what it is worth.
I think it depends on what they shoot. For field/gym sports (youth and otherwise) as well as wedding/event and most studio, I would agree that AF is the norm. With motor sports, snow sports, biking and such, it is a mix. At issue is the camera not being able to discriminate the subject from background*. For the most part the photogs pre-focus and wait even when using AF. Stage and concert work are similar. If the stage lighting is bright AF rules. If not, manual focus is a decent fall-back. Product and other close-up photography is almost always manual focus. Landscape is a mix depending on subject and gear. The same is true for cityscapes and architectural. Wildlife also is a mixed bag. AF is worthless for flocked birds or birds in flight when there is a background of trees. For street photography, it depends on your technique. I never use AF when shooting street. Too many missed shots or missed focus. (Oops...I guess I am not a pro so what I do does not count.) I do know or am acquainted with pros who work the other genres.

Steve

* This is particularly true for road bike racing where the money shots are done head-on and the camera tends to want to pick up or shift to members of the peloton rather than the leader.
03-24-2015, 02:05 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I think it depends on what they shoot. For field/gym sports (youth and otherwise) as well as wedding/event and most studio, I would agree that AF is the norm. With motor sports, snow sports, biking and such, it is a mix. At issue is the camera not being able to discriminate the subject from background*. For the most part the photogs pre-focus and wait even when using AF. Stage and concert work are similar. If the stage lighting is bright AF rules. If not, manual focus is a decent fall-back. Product and other close-up photography is almost always manual focus. Landscape is a mix depending on subject and gear. The same is true for cityscapes and architectural. Wildlife also is a mixed bag. AF is worthless for flocked birds or birds in flight when there is a background of trees. For street photography, it depends on your technique. I never use AF when shooting street. Too many missed shots or missed focus. (Oops...I guess I am not a pro so what I do does not count.) I do know or am acquainted with pros who work the other genres.

Steve

* This is particularly true for road bike racing where the money shots are done head-on and the camera tends to want to pick up or shift to members of the peloton rather than the leader.
I don't know any pro photographers who shoot the things you mention with regard to manual focus. The pros I know shoot weddings, portraits and such like. (maybe I need some new friends)

03-26-2015, 12:54 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeff knight Quote
I wish Pentax could get their FP up to the Sony level.
QuoteOriginally posted by stillshot2 Quote
I feel Pentax still has some catching up to do with focus peaking.
I'm curious about this.

What are the parameters that define good focus peaking?
As long as the camera and lens can find good contrasty features, any focus peaking will work fine.

Sony does however make the focus peaking display well, and with my NEX-F3, for example, you do get to choose:

Peaking Level
Enhances the outline of in-focus ranges with a specific color.
(High/Mid/Low/Off)

Peaking Color
Sets the color used for the peaking function.
(White/Red/Yellow)

But with the K-3 or K-S2, for example, you only get:

Focus Peaking
Emphasizes the outline of the subject in focus and makes it easier to check the focus.
(On/Off)

But in shooting terms, I find the K-3's focus peaking works really well. The only problem with it is that it is happening down there on the rear screen, not in the viewfinder.
03-26-2015, 12:57 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by emergo Quote
I also got an Oly OMD system (EM1). great ergonomics and it focuses like lightning. too many buttons, and the menus are poorly designed, but it's a great system.

too bad Pentax didn't join M4/3. they'd be amazing
I agree about the buttons and menus. Unlike a lot of cameras the OM-D models are somewhat non-intuitive. What I find though, is that if you make the effort to learn how to customize it to your heart's content, it becomes easy to use. Maybe even easier than a Pentax. I'm originally a Minolta MD user, but own and use just about every camera system ever made except Leica. Some, you can't find stuff on after you've not used them for a while. I've always liked Canon's EOS-1 and 3 cameras and their digital equivalents because they're all so similar. Nikon seemed to reinvent their pro camera every few years. Canon still uses a form that an original EOS-1 user could quickly grasp.
03-26-2015, 01:11 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeff knight Quote
There are more manual focusers than you think. With a larger prisms and better focus peaking manual focusing becomes much less of a hassle. Plus I think reusing old lenses, many of which were built to last longer than most modern ones, is smart, more economical, and better environmentally. Plus some of these old lenses are beyond sublime! Pentax has been on the forefront of this movement with backwards compatibility for quite sometime now. Yeah, pros who need maximum speed and accuracy to quickly finish jobs and maximize profit are going to need autofocus, but more and more portrait photographers ( and certainly cinematographers) are going oldschool. It's a movement that will continue to grow.
QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
A person on a budget can pick up a used Sony A7 for less than $1,000 with new A7 bodies going for $1,200. I know 2 people who have picked them up just to use with old Canon FD and Nikon MF glass. There are a lot of people who still own these lenses and have no real digital option for them except mirrorless. The A7 is a very cheap FF option for the millions of FD glass owners.... Actually its their only easy FF option.

---------- Post added 03-22-15 at 03:34 PM ----------

With regard to AF or manual focus - nothing says all lenses have to be the same kind. You can have a mix of both kinds of lenses. And i agree with Jeff's comments about the focus peaking of Sony being easier to use than the FP of Pentax. Maybe it has to do with my K3 being a DSLR - i don't know. I don't have an A7 yet, but my Nex cameras are a delight with manual focusing. When i need AF zooms as in my theater shooting - then i switch to my K3. When i use my pentax or vivitar macros - i switch to the Nex. When i hike - its the Nex i use.

The next A7RII is reportedly due out in April. When that occurs, i expect to see some more price lowering of older A7 models. For some folks - its going to make more sense for their shooting to use their old manual lenses on an A7 costing less than $1200 vice a Pentax FF costing about $2500 i'm guessing.

Thanks Stillshot2 for bringing this up. I had a similar experience. I had my K3 and DA50-135 out on a cafe table and compared it to a friends A7S and A7II, along with his 70-200 F4 and other lenses. I hate to say this, but my K3 looked clunky compared to these "modern" A7's. Recently my friend bought a lightweight Tamron 150-600 f5-F6.3 (?) and an A to e-mount adapter to work with this A7II. Excellent picture from it at full Tele. - handheld.

There are drawbacks to the A7 series - WR for one - not as good as pentax, compressible RAW that is not as good as 14 bit Pentax RAW, etc. One click HDR series is not there, etc. Did i mention small battery? But they are dXXn attractive, lightweight, and priced right. And they are pulling sales from Canikon. Canikon has promised a large sensor response since photokina - but so far - nothing.

Last edited by philbaum; 03-26-2015 at 01:35 PM.
03-26-2015, 03:09 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wolfeye Quote
I agree about the buttons and menus. Unlike a lot of cameras the OM-D models are somewhat non-intuitive. What I find though, is that if you make the effort to learn how to customize it to your heart's content, it becomes easy to use. Maybe even easier than a Pentax..
it's really a matter of preference and what you're used to with camera equipment. the customizability of the EM1 is fine, but I don't need a camera to do everything for me. the only auto mode I use is aperture priority. I've got my EM1 and EM5 set up fairly simply, and I ignore the stuff I don't need/use. for 15 years, I mostly used was my all-manual Nikon FM2n, and I try to replicate that ease of use in the digital world (it's more analogous to the FE, with autofocus added, I suppose...).

when I compare my EM1 to my K5, you see just how more streamlined the K series cameras are. they aren't festooned with buttons everywhere. everything is so nicely and intuitively laid out. have you looked at the Nikon Df? I love the attempt to create a camera with classic controls, but it has the same problem with all the "extra" buttons. hell, if the Df was as small as the EM1 / FM2n, I would have been a buyer. I'm just tired of giant cameras (I did shoot with a Nikon F4 for a while and loved it, but it was a larger camera indeed).

I've never shot leica either, however, I've been tempted. Not because of the "mystique" or for "cult of leica" reasons - but because their cameras are classically designed. analog-type controls. aperture priority when you want it. again, it's a preference thing.

Last edited by emergo; 03-28-2015 at 07:04 AM.
03-26-2015, 08:52 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
But with the K-3 or K-S2, for example, you only get:

Focus Peaking
Emphasizes the outline of the subject in focus and makes it easier to check the focus.
(On/Off)
Don't forget that we also get the option to have the FP magnified. FWIW, that is the only mode that is worth using for many subjects.


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03-26-2015, 09:52 PM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
What are the parameters that define good focus peaking?
I'd have to say I define it as the rate of photos that are in focus. For some reason, I would get more photos in focus with my Sony a55 that I used to own, in magnified focus peaking mode, than I get with my K30. In both cases I used a 50mm 1.8 lens. When my Pentax K30 seems to be super clear on the rear screen, it will sometimes shockingly come out blurry. When the Sony looked clear, it usually came out clear. This is why I think Sony is still ahead of the game in terms of focus peaking, but overall I think I prefer the large OVF of my K30 and get pretty consistent results manually focusing with it by eye anyways (which is why I switched from Sony A mount to Pentax in the first place).
03-27-2015, 08:37 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Don't forget that we also get the option to have the FP magnified. FWIW, that is the only mode that is worth using for many subjects.
fp and magnification together can make a big difference, and yes, the a7 series will show fp with magnification, under the right viewing conditions... fp is definitely not turned off when you use magnification.

---------- Post added 03-27-2015 at 08:45 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
I'm curious about this.

What are the parameters that define good focus peaking?
the a7 series also gives you the ability to use focus peaking with the evf in b/w mode, which you can combine with fp level set to low, which is the most accurate modality... you want to barely see the fp color.

when you drown out any screen with a lot of focus peaking color, there is no way to tell where the critical focus point is.

another factor is pixel density and/or pixel count, because more pixels increases the level of available magnification... in other words, at maximum magnification, the 12mp a7s doesn't zoom in as far as the 36mp a7r.

Last edited by osv; 03-27-2015 at 08:47 PM.
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