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11-01-2017, 08:15 PM   #1
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Manual Focusing Wide Open, Is It Popular Choice? OVF Replacement Recommendations?

I don't know if it's me or the camera but I find shooting wide open with Autofocus a real hit and miss. I have tried many techniques to try and improve this such as back button focusing and AF.C on, as well as bursting, refocusing and bursting again, and this seems to be the only way I can guarantee I get the eye in focus when doing portraits etc. Now I'm talking really wide here, 1.4-1.8 and quite close, so like a 50mm head and shoulder kinda shot, these are hard shots to pull off anyway.

But recently I've had a go in Live View mode, zooming in slightly (so press the middle ok button to crop in for the shot), and then manual focusing and once again spamming the shutter, surprisingly decent results from doing that.
I've replaced my stock OVF for the K-1 with the other Pentax OVF which magnifies a little more in (I forget the name/product code), I think it gives something like 1.4x magnification, and again using MF surprisingly decent results.

My feeling is AF is fine for lower apertures but when needing such narrow margins of error such as just getting that eye you want in perfect focus, maybe MF is better to the task? When I've been using AF, I've been using the 'Select' for Autofocus mode, the single square that you move around, and that also takes up time to move the spot around using the arrow keys, at least with MF you can just look through the OVF (or LV screen) and once you see that specific area you want sharp and in focus start snapping.

I am now considering replacing the OVF I have on the K-1 with an OVF that has an even greater zoom, perhaps a larger eyecup as well to help really block out light and increase focus as I think this might be the way forward for me.

I'm kinda curious out there how many others actually ditch AF when it comes to shooting portraits like this and very wide apertures. I'll also welcome any OVF replacements (I understand that by doing so you may miss out on what is visible in the entire frame as you are seeing a 'zoomed in' portion.

Cheers,

Bruce

11-01-2017, 08:31 PM   #2
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I think you should be able to use AF just fine, especially with the K-1. But I'm happy to hear that the MF technique is working for you!

When the DoF is shallow, I'd recommend AF-C in multi-point mode.

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11-01-2017, 08:36 PM   #3
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I personally have used manual focus for a lot of things, and what you mentioned is just one of them. The other would be some sports shots where the action is somewhat predictable.

Honestly right now I am starting to become a bit more partial to manual focus as of late. I have not by any means ditched AF but Manual Focus definitely has it's place in my quiver of tricks now.
11-01-2017, 08:47 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I think you should be able to use AF just fine, especially with the K-1. But I'm happy to hear that the MF technique is working for you!

When the DoF is shallow, I'd recommend AF-C in multi-point mode.
Why multi point? Wouldn't you run risk of catching say the eyebrow too much and not the eye and lashes etc? I always thought spot would be better, place it dead over the eye and aim. Doesn't multi exist that in case it can't find the center then it hunts for something to focus on the other squares surrounding the center, but in terms of what I'm talking about that would just result in the AF focusing on the wrong part of the eye etc.
I'd rather have a spot dead on the eye and refocus and try multiple quick times to get a shot that have it struggle to get the middle in focus and default onto the edge etc.

Mind you, I think some of this mess comes from me using 1.6-2.8 and not using the center or 3 center points, which are best for wide apertures, I tend to have the spot a little off to the left or right (for framing purposes), and this may account for some of the error.

QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
I personally have used manual focus for a lot of things, and what you mentioned is just one of them. The other would be some sports shots where the action is somewhat predictable.

Honestly right now I am starting to become a bit more partial to manual focus as of late. I have not by any means ditched AF but Manual Focus definitely has it's place in my quiver of tricks now.
And yes, my kids running around, even with AF.C it's still behind the shot, I can't help feeling MF would be better.

WHat about OVF's... gonna have to see if any other options are about.

Anyone tried anything like this?

This is my current OVF; https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/469574-REG/Pentax_30150_O_ME53_Magnifying_Eyecup.html


Last edited by BruceBanner; 11-01-2017 at 09:33 PM.
11-01-2017, 10:08 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Why multi point? Wouldn't you run risk of catching say the eyebrow too much and not the eye and lashes etc? I always thought spot would be better, place it dead over the eye and aim. Doesn't multi exist that in case it can't find the center then it hunts for something to focus on the other squares surrounding the center, but in terms of what I'm talking about that would just result in the AF focusing on the wrong part of the eye etc. I'd rather have a spot dead on the eye and refocus and try multiple quick times to get a shot that have it struggle to get the middle in focus and default onto the edge etc. Mind you, I think some of this mess comes from me using 1.6-2.8 and not using the center or 3 center points, which are best for wide apertures, I tend to have the spot a little off to the left or right (for framing purposes), and this may account for some of the error.
I think both are perfectly viable. But multi-point may give you more leeway if the subject moves within the frame.

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11-05-2017, 05:55 PM   #6
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Now that I have the Pentax KP I'm thinking of swapping my O-ME53 from the K-1 onto that and then replacing the K-1 with a Tenpa. I'm now just deciding if it should be the Tenpa 1.22 or 1.36? Although the Tenpa 1.22 is similar magnification to the O-ME53 it is apparently significantly better...
11-05-2017, 06:06 PM   #7
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Just out of curiosity what is a Tenpa?
11-05-2017, 06:20 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
Just out of curiosity what is a Tenpa?


11-05-2017, 06:58 PM   #9
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That's very interesting. I might have to look into that more. That could be a very good investment.
11-05-2017, 07:02 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
That's very interesting. I might have to look into that more. That could be a very good investment.
Like i said, I already own the 1.22 (or 1.2?) O-ME53 Pentax viewfinder, which zooms in a tad, but I recall one day swapping between the included K-1 and this and found it hard to notice a difference. I'm not sure if it's sensor related or me... placebo or whatever, but I'm curious that perhaps a little more zooming in at the expense of getting an idea of the overall framing is worth the trade off. For me landscaping mode (where framing is more important) is done with Live View anyway, OVF for me is portraits, so I think getting a slight zooming in to help with wide open MF might make sense.
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