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06-07-2011, 03:13 PM   #31
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I have a split focus screen on my K-x and I must say it's really helpful. It's not a Katz, but I have no complaints. It's really been great having one so far. I think the guy I got my K-x from said it was a jinfinance or something like that. Definitely not a $200 screen, but it's a good one, I think.

06-07-2011, 03:48 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Very subtle Mike.

I have varifocals and not the best sight. In fact using my glasses only seems to make things worse on the camera. I prefer MF. In fact I just did a model shoot all MF. I guess we'll see how it worked out, but I seem to do OK. Practice.
I'm about as subtle as a circus poster.

I also use varifocals (which I am guessing is the term for modern style bifocals). As I have to wear my glasses while I drive and most of my shots are done from my truck it means I have just gotten used to shooting with my glasses on. The habit is so strong that I can't seem to shoot without them.

Anyone intending to do much manual focus shooting at all would be well advised to replace the godawful stock focus screen. It may be fine for autofocus, but you'll drive yourself nuts trying to manually focus with that piece of crap.
06-07-2011, 07:22 PM   #33
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I tried a split screen but it drove me nuts. I went back to the stock screen on the K20D. Maybe I simply didn't try the best screen, but I don't have the money to keep trying.
06-07-2011, 10:13 PM   #34
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Focusing with the stock screen takes practice, but it can be learned reasonably. Like Robin, I am really bugged by split screens.

06-08-2011, 05:41 AM   #35
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Yesterday I photographed extremes under clear skies in Colorado's High Country. First, I wandered around the town of Idaho Springs, shooting shops and 'scapes and people with a 28/2 manual lens. My eyes were fuzzier than usual, and I depended on Catch-In-Focus (and occasionally the split screen and focus confirmation) for sharply-focused shots, even in darkened interiors.

Then I drove to the top of 14,265ft / 4280m Mt Evans, with views of the Rockies from Wyoming to New Mexico. An AF ultrawide didn't work aesthetically; I mostly used a manual 50/2.8, stopped down to f/11. With the small aperture and intense light and glare, I could barely see what I was shooting, just outlines. So I mostly prefocused for DOF to infinity, and used the K20D as a point-and-shoot. Along the way I found a curious marmot, for whose portraits I switched to a manual 100/4.5, stopped-down to f/11, and focused by guestimating the distance. (Neither the 50/2.8 nor the 100/4.5 support CIF.)

And yes, I got sharp shots with manual focus and four different strategies: 1) Catch-In-Focus; 2) split-screen; 3) DOF prefocusing; and 4) visually estimating distances. (1) and (2) work with wide apertures; (3) and (4) work with narrow apertures; all work despite my delaminating eyeballs. AF was the fifth strategy. None of these methods require that I actually *see* a subject in any detail. (And my viewfinder diopter was off-kilter, so everything was fuzzy anyway. That's fixed now.)

My point is that manual focus AIN'T NO BIG THANG! Use focusing aids and strategy. Practice. Adjust to conditions. Just do it.

Last edited by RioRico; 06-08-2011 at 07:47 PM.
06-08-2011, 04:24 PM   #36
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I just stay away from MF in certain situations (which are most of the situations I take photos in). Most of my photos are of my family, mostly of the younger kids and it is really hard to get them in action with a MF lens. If I were shooting still flowers or other still objects then my M 50mm 1.7 takes some of the best photos I have seen. So it's not necessarily that I am afraid of MF I just don't use it for a lot of my photos due to the necessity of AF.
07-17-2011, 11:00 AM   #37
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Its funny (I stumbled over this thread today. I was just mucking about with my camera trying to grab some shots for a panorama and realized that MF is a LOT better than AF for me in that situation. I was using a weather vane atop a distant church steeple to get focus for the shots and AF failed every. singe. time. Oddly, MF did as well with my 50mm 1.7, and I wound up with my best results clarity-wise coming from a Sears 135mm 2.8. I was shooting somewhat into the light, so I'm thinking the glare was throwing the AF on my KX out of whack.
07-17-2011, 02:26 PM - 1 Like   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
Why are we so afraid with MF?
Because technology is a crutch that makes people feel like cripples without it.

07-17-2011, 03:14 PM   #39
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I find that when I focus a lens myself, it helps involve me in more in the experience of capturing a picture (and all my lenses are manual focus anyway). Even the focus assist light interferes because I find myself looking for it to confirm proper focus instead of looking at the scene itself. Yet when I forget about the assist light and just use my eye to focus, I usually hit it right off the bat. So now I've turned off even the indicator because it gets in the way of seeing.

Last edited by les3547; 07-17-2011 at 11:04 PM.
07-17-2011, 05:08 PM   #40
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I'm old enough that my first Pentax (third camera) was a new K1000. Back then manual focus was the only option. Everyone, then, learned on split screens, so the viewfinder interruption was natural. It wasn't until the 90s that auto-focus could do as good a job as I could on manual. Modern cameras are honestly better than I am under most conditions. Part of that is my eyesight, which isn't as good as back in the day. Part of that is that cameras are mostly superb at focusing. Macro and wildlife shots are an obvious exception. So is very low light where the auto-focus mechanism just doesn't have adequate illumination to work with.

When I got my K20D, I couldn't get an accurate manual focus without a Katzeye screen. Modern view screens just aren't designed for manual focus. I once read a post by a Canon engineer who flat out stated that. And, that's certainly a good reason for using auto-focus. Also split screens interfere with metering in some conditions.

Now that I have a K-5, I find myself using live-view with zoom to manually focus. It's that screen situation, again. Yes, it's possible to learn to get good manual focus results with a standard screen. And, cameras weren't designed for that purpose, so it's harder than it needs to be, especially for older eyes.
07-17-2011, 07:15 PM   #41
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...I've read some article where a veteran was suggesting some excerises to practice manual focus, but i can't find it anymore neither i remember seeing it here - can somebody help me to that resource in the internet, so let me learn to practice in the first place.

So, the classic photographers did without any aide like split screen? ain't they? if they can why can't we learn to do that?
07-17-2011, 07:40 PM   #42
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When I used to use my Pentax ME Super with a manual lens, the viewfinder was bright and it had the split focus screen. I was able to focus quite well with it.

Same manual lens on my Pentax K100d, and I often can't "see" what I'm focusing on. The view finder goes dark. And there's no split focus screen. I've tried to focus the manual lenses, but just get blurry picture after blurry picture.

And add to that I've had laser eye surgery to stitch up the retina tears so that it will reduce the chance of it separating. Some things I can see really well. Others I just can't.

I'd do it if I could, but stopped frustrating myself and decided to use the tools available to keep taking pictures.
07-17-2011, 10:43 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by sany Quote
So, the classic photographers did without any aide like split screen? ain't they? if they can why can't we learn to do that?
We certainly CAN learn. And some of those classic toggers couldn't even see what they were shooting! Not through a lens, anyway. I still have cameras with what is called a "sportsfinder", which is basically a wire frame that hangs off the camera. You try to frame a shot, and hope! That's how many "press cameras" of long ago worked.

Those, or any non-reflex camera without a rangefinder or screen for focusing -- how to focus? You must measure, or guess-estimate the distance, or pace it off. That's how I learned to use simple folding cameras. The subject looks to be 5m away, so set the focus to 5m. Set the aperture so that you have enough depth-of-field to capture what you want. I must work like that sometimes even with my dSLR if the light is too bright or too dim to see a subject clearly. I set the lens so it's sharp from 3m to 4m, then only shoot subjects that I think are within that range.

Or I use an old trick: Pace off the distance to some marker, a door or chair or plant or whatever. Set the lens focus to that distance. Wait until something or someone interesting reaches that point, then shoot. This is called pre-focusing.

Practice practice practice. Practice at different apertures. I practiced with my old folder for a while until it all became automatic for me -- not just distance, but guessing the light too. It's so easy with a dSLR in good light -- aim at something with strong contrast and slowly focus until the separation becomes sharp. Ah, that's the magic word: SLOWLY! Don't hurry. Take your time.
07-17-2011, 11:44 PM   #44
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I use whatever technique works best for the situation I want to shoot in. If I'm working fast and don't really have time to manually focus I grab an AF lens and do what I've got to do to get the picture. If I am sitting there with plenty of time doing still subject work like photographing old jewelry then I tend to do more manual focusing.

I'm not afraid of manual focusing at all, but I'm not that fast at it and likely never will be since I have some vision issues. I've been wearing eye glasses since I was 10. Even with my glasses on I have issues getting a tight focus all the time. There's no getting around the fact that every now and again having AF as an option does help compensate for that.

I've said this before but I don't really think it's "lazy" to use AF if it's what you need to do to get the pics you want. Technology gets better and that's a good thing. Ultimately it should serve us, not the other way around and I don't necessarily believe that doing it the old fashioned way is superior just because it's always been done that way. If I did I'd still be doing my wash on a scrub board and wringer like my grandmother used to have to do. No offense but I much prefer putting my laundry in a machine and hitting a button to wash and/or dry, thank you! The former was a day long endeavor. Today, I can do my laundry in an hour flat and in my book that's a far more effective use of my time than back in my grandmother's day.

Sometimes I like to take my time, do mostly MF, and fuss to my heart's content. Other times I just want to get my shot in, hopefully have it in focus, before it's gone. Neither method of taking pics is superior to the other. They're just different approaches to doing the same thing, given different situations, that's all. Mostly, I get about the same save ratio doing either actually, except for when I am in creature chasing mode.

I actually like to carry a small point and shoot digital in my purse as well as having my SLR's and DSLR. Why? Because I like to have a camera handy no matter what. Of course I do have one on the cell, but that one sucks as I am not carrying around anything sophisticated that way. Sometimes though, when I don't have my DSLR or an SLR in hand opportunity knocks, and I just grab that little camera and go for it. The way I see it better 6MP and built in AF than no pic at all...

That's always the bottom line for me. Can I get that pic with what I've got in my hand? Do I have time to get it done right? Honestly I don't even think too hard about it. I just use whatever camera and method that I've got handy that will get the job done in the time I have to do it. If I've got time to fiddle, oh joy, but if I don't? I promise you I am going far too busy actually using whatever I've got to worry about whether or not I am AF, MF, or even just shooting half a memory card going blind if the situation warrants it. So long as I can get one shot of that great subject in focus? I don't really care if I have have 50 on the card that I have to delete and I am not ashamed to admit that I occasionally have to resort to doing that to get a keeper either.

There are very few photographers out there who can get a perfect shot every time. Me, I am definitely NOT one of them. To get my pic I'll use any trick, any piece of technology I can if that's what it takes. I'll make no bones about doing it either.
07-18-2011, 07:28 AM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
Because technology is a crutch that makes people feel like cripples without it.
+1 and yes, tech makes us lazy. Why, I don't have to use wet-plate technology -- what a SLUG I am! Painters no longer need to grind their own pigments. (Medieval painters were members of apothecaries' guilds.) What slugs! Motorists no longer need to hand-crank their engines. Slugs! With a skateboard, I hardly even need to walk. Yeah, I'm a cripple without my skateboard!

AF is handy. MF ain't no big thang, it's been done since 1840. Automatic photo aids -- focus, exposure, sharpening, face-detection -- either divorce us from the details, or allow us to concentrate on composition rather than techy details, or just let us be slugs with cameras. Why should a slug do things the hard way? Why should a slug walk, when it can ride a skateboard?
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