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05-10-2011, 08:22 AM   #16
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manual focusing exercises

They are boring but they work. And they don't mess up metering in spot mode or with your shoe flash.
may be boring but they work

NaCl(the old "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" saying)H2O

05-10-2011, 08:27 AM   #17
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The main "secret" to successful MF with the stock screen is to not just look at whether one given thing looks in focus or not, but to be aware of the whole "zone of acceptable focus" - the area in front of and behind the main focus plane that is also in focus. The viewfinder will show *too much* in focus - easy to demonstrate by shooting some text on an angle, seeing how many lines *look* in focus, then taking the picture and seeing how many *actually* are. The DOF at f/1.8 is probably less than half what it appears to be in the viewfinder. So you need to learn to work around that. For my camera, it's the *front* part of the zone of acceptable focus as it appears in the viewfinder that turns out to actually be in focus. So I get best focus by making sure my subject is in that front part of the zone. If I'm turning the ring starting from a focus behind the subject, I stop just as the subject comes *into* focus. If turning the opposite way, I stop just as the subject starts to go *out* of focus.

Nothing I wrote here probably makes a ton of sense until you get out your camera and test doing exactly the things I've said, starting with the text test.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 05-10-2011 at 11:12 AM.
05-10-2011, 08:58 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by NaClH2O Quote
They are boring but they work. And they don't mess up metering in spot mode or with your shoe flash.
may be boring but they work

NaCl(the old "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" saying)H2O
That's a great link. I currently have an EC-A screen (microprism center), and while at first it helped, I'm now trying to replace it. The problem is that focus aids like microprisms and split prisms, at least for me, hamper my ability to compose properly. If I'm always focusing in the center of the viewfinder, I'm either not thinking about composure, or my subject is moving too fast for me to recompose before taking the shot.

I'm now looking for a plain ground glass or microlens matte with no aids. IMO, this improves the "snap to focus" that the article mentions, without any distracting aids to hamper composition.
05-10-2011, 10:52 AM   #19
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Lots of great advice given.

I found it was pretty hard to focus manually with a fast 50mm.
I then got the O-ME53 magnifying eyecup (they go for around $30) to boost the viewfinder size 20%. It helps, but it still isn't easy. I find that the best method for me is to look for the finest details/grain on the subject and be aware as THEY go in/out of focus as opposed to the immediately visible subject itself. When they're in focus, they will kind of pop out at you and then the hard part will be your reaction time in letting off of the focus ring.
When I don't want to spend so much on one shot like this, I'll just use Live View, zoom in on the focus point and its very easy.

To speed all this up and make it more convenient to use manual focus lenses, I've now got a Katz Eye on the way (as soon as they catch up with production, that is).

05-12-2011, 08:40 PM   #20
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I have a 35mm f2.4 and when i use manual focus in it ie when i rotate the focus ring by pressing shutter button half way. I get a beep and a light blink when thinks come in focus. My question is, since i have not use manual lenses, will i get the same light and beep when things come in focus. I am using a K-r body.
05-12-2011, 09:54 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffshaddix Quote
That's a great link.

I'm now looking for a plain ground glass or microlens matte with no aids. IMO, this improves the "snap to focus" that the article mentions, without any distracting aids to hamper composition.
Hi Jeff,

It is a great link, as well as Marc's tip that followed it. I remember it well when he originally posted it, and had used copy and paste to keep in my little library of photo articles on my computer.

As far as the plain focusing screen, If you can't find one any other suppliers, try contacting Rachel Katz at Katzeye. They will build you a screen to with any of their standard etching patterns or a none if that's your preference, on special order, or at least that was the answer I got when I contacted her way back when the company was new. At the time, cost was the same as any of their standard models with focusing aids and etchings, but the screens are top quality, and might be your only option.

Scott
05-13-2011, 03:17 PM   #22
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Practice is the key!

QuoteOriginally posted by KxBlaze Quote
Besides the screen or viewfinder just practice. Go outside on a bright day and manual focus on different objects over and over. This will help you be able to recognize when your photo is in focus.
A split image focusing screen (or whatever you prefer) will help. When I was just out of photo school and in Vietnam, we'd sit around focusing on random objects just to improve our accuracy and speed ........ and by golly it works!
05-13-2011, 10:44 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
Hi Jeff,

It is a great link, as well as Marc's tip that followed it. I remember it well when he originally posted it, and had used copy and paste to keep in my little library of photo articles on my computer.

As far as the plain focusing screen, If you can't find one any other suppliers, try contacting Rachel Katz at Katzeye. They will build you a screen to with any of their standard etching patterns or a none if that's your preference, on special order, or at least that was the answer I got when I contacted her way back when the company was new. At the time, cost was the same as any of their standard models with focusing aids and etchings, but the screens are top quality, and might be your only option.

Scott
Thanks Scott! Good to know Katz makes a plain matte option.

Currently I'm planning on cutting down a DIY screen from the Canon Ee-S super precision matte. A few people have already given it a go with great results. See here for more info: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-5-forum/142241-best-screen-ever-...anon-ee-s.html

05-14-2011, 09:57 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by sany Quote
I have a 35mm f2.4 and when i use manual focus in it ie when i rotate the focus ring by pressing shutter button half way. I get a beep and a light blink when thinks come in focus. My question is, since i have not use manual lenses, will i get the same light and beep when things come in focus. I am using a K-r body.
Yes, the red light on the viewfinder comes on when the camera has found something to focus on, and the green hexagon at the bottom of the viewfinder display will come on when the camera thinks that something is in focus.

I use the green hexagon as an aid when focusing manually and it is very useful when I can't see quite make it out with my eye.
05-14-2011, 11:03 AM   #25
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Then, if that simply takes care of it - why are these investments into accessories like katzeye etc justified or in other words there is more than getting the hexagon light up!?
05-14-2011, 04:02 PM   #26
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One problem with relying solely on the green hexagon is that it seems to have a 'range' of in focus and if your depth of field is small it may not be focusing exactly where you want it to. By using a good focusing screen you can better judge what is in focus. Either or both work, depends on how you want to do it.

If you are shooting with a good depth of field the green hexagon works fine. With really shallow dof I find it a little touchy but that could just be me or my camera.
05-14-2011, 04:11 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by sany Quote
Then, if that simply takes care of it - why are these investments into accessories like katzeye etc justified or in other words there is more than getting the hexagon light up!?
Note that I said it can be used as "an aid". I don't solely rely on it, but in situations when I simply cannot make it out, it is helpful.

I've mentioned this before, but I've found that it really helps to practice with each lens. Find out exactly where in that "range" of focus of the green hexagon that jatrax mentioned is really the ideal focus point. It could be as soon as the hexagon comes on, in the "middle", or just after the hexagon goes off. Then, you can be a lot more accurate when using the green hexagon.
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