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Thread: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

  1. #1

    Default any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    hi to all old timers.

    just brought a manual 50mm lens to use on my Kx.

    when i do the half press shutter and turn the manual focus clockwise....i will hear the focus sign and beep briefly (they disappeared quicky) and so i reverse counterclockwise and turn back...but the beep and sign somtimes never some back. then i am like stuck there twist and turn, twist and turn...untill my both arm get painful....ahahaha....

    i guess i am bad at this...

    will installing a focusing screen help? or i really need a steady hand?
    wondering if bro here have any tips on how to improve maual focusing.....

  2. #2

    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    if you're trying this at wide open on a fast 50 (which should be the case), then it can be pretty hard to steady the confirmation indicator because any shake + paper thin DOF will result in OOF, try to get a split-prism focusing screen to help u focus better, and with more practice you will get used to, and know better when your image is in focus or not, sometimes when you are in the field and your eyes are intently focused on the scene, you might not rely on the indicator anymore, that's why a split-prism will be helpful.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    The focusing meter remains on only for 10 seconds (by default) after you half-press the shutter. Try increasing this time in the camera settings OR half-press the shutter again to re-activate the focusing meter after 10 seconds have elapsed.

    Note: The beep will not be heard if the focusing meter is not activated.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    Ok, i'm not an old-timer but the thing with manual focus lens is always practice. Lots of practice - very different from point and shoot or autofocus.

    Remember in that movie "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" - Sean Connery was telling the guy when he was shooting at some floating buoys in the sea. He said to "take your time, aim, and shoot." This advice applies with manual focus-ing.

    You can rely on the hexagon but it's a little unreliable at times. Trust your eyes, as long as you see everything is sharp. Take a snap and view the results. If it's clear, that's it. Hexagon or not, it should be used as a gauge of in-focusness.

    So far, i've no need for focusing screen or magnifier but I'm sure it will help with focusing. If it works, go for it.

    One little tip, i use is to focus with both eyes open. It takes a little concentration but the eyes are more relaxed and hence, able to focus better. This may not work for everybody.

    Apart from that, lots of practice will do the trick. I make it a point to shoot anything in my room for practice. The blurbs on the back cover of a book, the alarm clock, clothes, cracks on the wall. Anything, the more you practice the better you become.

    Also remember to use the green button and adjust the aperture/shutter speed to taste. For me, getting the correct exposure is the challenge. Usually, i have to increase the shutterspeed by 2 stops. Again, this is highly subjective. Customize it, so that it will make you happy.

    Meanwhile, more practice, thinking, and patience should do the trick. Good Luck !!
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  5. #5

    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    Quote Originally Posted by sircam View Post
    The focusing meter remains on only for 10 seconds (by default) after you half-press the shutter. Try increasing this time in the camera settings OR half-press the shutter again to re-activate the focusing meter after 10 seconds have elapsed.

    Note: The beep will not be heard if the focusing meter is not activated.
    I think my kx focusing meter go off mroe quickyly when i turn clockwise and counterclockwise. its like it appear and disppear in 1/20 sec....when i hear the beep its already gone. then i try to counterclockwise turn...and never see it appear again.....

    or is it my Kx have metering problem????

    Focusing screen sounds interesting....any place in sinagpore and sell and install for u? i dont know how to do it.....like handphone screen protector...go to the ah lian and say "Alp me paste nice nice can?" wink wink and presto...nicely pasted on...

  6. #6
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    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    By the way, which 50 prime are you using?

    If it's the 1.2 and you're shooting wide-open. Even breathing will affect the focus...
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  7. #7

    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    Quote Originally Posted by sebianos View Post
    Ok, i'm not an old-timer but the thing with manual focus lens is always practice. Lots of practice - very different from point and shoot or autofocus.

    Remember in that movie "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" - Sean Connery was telling the guy when he was shooting at some floating buoys in the sea. He said to "take your time, aim, and shoot." This advice applies with manual focus-ing.

    You can rely on the hexagon but it's a little unreliable at times. Trust your eyes, as long as you see everything is sharp. Take a snap and view the results. If it's clear, that's it. Hexagon or not, it should be used as a gauge of in-focusness.

    So far, i've no need for focusing screen or magnifier but I'm sure it will help with focusing. If it works, go for it.

    One little tip, i use is to focus with both eyes open. It takes a little concentration but the eyes are more relaxed and hence, able to focus better. This may not work for everybody.

    Apart from that, lots of practice will do the trick. I make it a point to shoot anything in my room for practice. The blurbs on the back cover of a book, the alarm clock, clothes, cracks on the wall. Anything, the more you practice the better you become.

    Also remember to use the green button and adjust the aperture/shutter speed to taste. For me, getting the correct exposure is the challenge. Usually, i have to increase the shutterspeed by 2 stops. Again, this is highly subjective. Customize it, so that it will make you happy.

    Meanwhile, more practice, thinking, and patience should do the trick. Good Luck !!
    Yes sir....practise make perfect. will try your tips on both eye open....only try manual focusing for whole night last night.....and very worried i get "big small eye" if i do this too often.....ahaaa.

  8. #8

    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    Quote Originally Posted by sebianos View Post
    By the way, which 50 prime are you using?

    If it's the 1.2 and you're shooting wide-open. Even breathing will affect the focus...

    Pentax M 50mm F1.7...freshly off the BnS

  9. #9

    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    My few cents on improving :

    Don't over rely on the focus confirmation if you cannot slowly focus (eg. impatient subject) (there is a window where it starts to confirm focus and this varies for camera model). If it beeps, well and good. If it does not as long as it looks ok in the viewfinder, trust yourself and take a shot.

    To practice,
    1. Take an easily comparable item (I find things that have letters or numbers make are easier). like a standing calendar and use as your subject.
    2. Now start turning the focus. Slow down as the viewfinder transitions from blur to rather viewable. Once it appears to be the sharpest, you can snap the photo (even better if the focus confirmation beeps, but as I mentioned above, don't over rely)
    The point is to get used to the blur to sharp transition.
    3. Review on the LCD or you computer.
    4. Practice ad-nauseum till you get the hit ratio you are happy with.

    Enjoy


    A focusing screen helps, but more often for static or slow objects.

  10. #10

    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    your camera is ok...for split prism if your subject has lines in the frame i'd use that and quickly take the shot, if the DOF is not too thin..

    not to mistake MF as being less accurate and more "agaration" compared to AF, cuz your AF using contrast to focus is as good as guessing and not precise option too especially in macro..
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  11. #11

    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    The best thing is trust your eyes... if your eyes are good.
    I am using the manifying eyecup to see better.

    Splitscreen did not work for me... and it darkens the screen a bit.
    Worst if you use a M42 lens... becomes even darker at small aperture.

    This is what I do sometimes (bad eyes)...
    I will use M mode, AF-S (Autofocus) and multi-shots.
    Press button fully and keep trying to focus.
    The camera will not fire untill the the focus is on... get as many shots as you can.
    The subject will be at the center, crop to your liking

  12. #12

    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    if i am not mistaken, there is a rather faster way when using manual lens.

    switch to Av mode and AF-S. fully press the shutter button and slowly turn the focusing ring. the pic will be taken once the focus is in.

    but not sure if still can use the green button or not haha...

  13. #13

    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    Quote Originally Posted by poseur View Post
    Pentax M 50mm F1.7...freshly off the BnS
    wow that a nice lens..sharp,good colour and quite fast...

  14. #14
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    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    Quote Originally Posted by poseur View Post
    Pentax M 50mm F1.7...freshly off the BnS
    From wuhanish, no doubt about it. hahaha... how coincidental, I got one exactly the same from him. Won't get big small eyes lah... will get very frustrated and irritated only. :P
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    hand eye coordination... means practice...

    turning speed, know when to slow down when u are almost in focus...

    steady hand...

    focus beep... good to have but need not depend on it... at least pentax got this focus beep, other brands like Nikon dun have any beep except for a tiny dot at the left bottom corner, imagine u have to look at the image and peek at the left bottom corner at the same time for manual focus...
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  16. #16

    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    the beeping can be extremely irritating.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    Hi TS, i'm really new to this but have been using my manual 50mm since i got it like 3 weeks back. Just to share, it is really what you see thats really important. What i notice is that you can have that focus hexagon coming out and the camera beeping but the moment you take your next breath, its gone cause by then you would have shifted the focus. Unless, the object is a stationary or u use tripod, the focus confirm will not show again.

    I think with the manual lens, "What you See is wat you Get". =) Though my pix are not really sharp yet but have managed to get a couple which were spot on and its a nice feeling lor.. coming from a newbie.. haha..

    Kinda like Success! Well.. =)

  18. #18
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    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    Quote Originally Posted by elavan View Post
    the beeping can be extremely irritating.
    Agreed. If it's too often, I *beep* to myself.

    With enough practice, you can upgrade from stills to sport. Practice, practice, practice.




    Manual focusing is a patient man's game. Hit rate may be low, but the sense of satisfaction is high.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    Quote Originally Posted by sebianos View Post
    From wuhanish, no doubt about it. hahaha... how coincidental, I got one exactly the same from him. Won't get big small eyes lah... will get very frustrated and irritated only. :P

    yup from wuhanish...but i am totaly idiot in MF thats why i started this thread...

  20. #20

    Default Re: any tips to improve manual focusing skill?

    Quote Originally Posted by teruranse View Post
    if i am not mistaken, there is a rather faster way when using manual lens.

    switch to Av mode and AF-S. fully press the shutter button and slowly turn the focusing ring. the pic will be taken once the focus is in.

    but not sure if still can use the green button or not haha...

    so sad...my M lens is totally manual........cant use in Av...........but thanks for the tip...i can use your tips on other DA/FA pratising MF mode

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