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Thread: Focusing with Manual lens

  1. #1

    Default Focusing with Manual lens

    Newbie here. I recently purchased a SMC K 50mm 1.4 manual lens to pair with my K-X. I do find focusing through the viewfinder often inaccurate and off-focus. Probably only 1/10 image is passable. Through the viewfinder seems ok, but the result after snapping is often disappointing. But when i try to focus using the LV, the focusing is much more obvious and clearer. After googling i realised that the magnification in liveview increases each time you press the ''info'' button. This greatly increases the chances of accurate focus.

    But the technique don't seems very Pro. Others who doesn't know will probably assume that a noob is using a DSLR like a PnS camera. It probably will also increase the chances of shakes.

    Is there other better ways to focus with a manual lens. Need advice from experts here. Pls dun recommand Auto lens, talking about old school manual now

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Senior Member sinned79's Avatar
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    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    i dun know about your cam but for canon 5D, we can change focusing screen specially made for MF lens. I have no issues with my viewfinder for my OM Zuiko lens.

  3. #3
    Senior Member felixcat8888's Avatar
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    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    Quote Originally Posted by RadioX View Post
    Newbie here. I recently purchased a SMC K 50mm 1.4 manual lens to pair with my K-X. I do find focusing through the viewfinder often inaccurate and off-focus. Probably only 1/10 image is passable. Through the viewfinder seems ok, but the result after snapping is often disappointing. But when i try to focus using the LV, the focusing is much more obvious and clearer. After googling i realised that the magnification in liveview increases each time you press the ''info'' button. This greatly increases the chances of accurate focus.

    But the technique don't seems very Pro. Others who doesn't know will probably assume that a noob is using a DSLR like a PnS camera. It probably will also increase the chances of shakes.

    Is there other better ways to focus with a manual lens. Need advice from experts here. Pls dun recommand Auto lens, talking about old school manual now

    Thanks in advance.
    Time for you to change the focusing screen . . .

    http://wwww.focusingscreen.com

    Go for the K3 type
    Pentaxian for Life
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    Quote Originally Posted by RadioX View Post
    Newbie here. I recently purchased a SMC K 50mm 1.4 manual lens to pair with my K-X. I do find focusing through the viewfinder often inaccurate and off-focus. Probably only 1/10 image is passable. Through the viewfinder seems ok, but the result after snapping is often disappointing. But when i try to focus using the LV, the focusing is much more obvious and clearer. After googling i realised that the magnification in liveview increases each time you press the ''info'' button. This greatly increases the chances of accurate focus.

    But the technique don't seems very Pro. Others who doesn't know will probably assume that a noob is using a DSLR like a PnS camera. It probably will also increase the chances of shakes.

    Is there other better ways to focus with a manual lens. Need advice from experts here. Pls dun recommand Auto lens, talking about old school manual now

    Thanks in advance.
    Try using the catch-in focus ability of the KX, you can get more info of how to use it in the manual.

    Basically, you can press down all the way on the shutter and slowly turn the focusing ring. You shutter will auto release once you are in focus. Really a very good function imho
    Body - K-x, KX, ME
    Lens - DAL18-55, DAL55-300, DA 35 Ltd, M 50 F1.7, A 50 F1.7, Sigma 10-20

  5. #5

    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Brianskivvy View Post
    Try using the catch-in focus ability of the KX, you can get more info of how to use it in the manual.

    Basically, you can press down all the way on the shutter and slowly turn the focusing ring. You shutter will auto release once you are in focus. Really a very good function imho
    Just tried your recommandation. Doesn't seems to be working very well. Difficult to maintain minimal movement while turning the focus. Must go very very slow. Can produce a much better result with 3X mag on LV.

    Subject: My wife
    Focus point: Pores
    Last edited by RadioX; 17th June 2010 at 11:05 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    Quote Originally Posted by felixcat8888 View Post
    Time for you to change the focusing screen . . .

    http://wwww.focusingscreen.com

    Go for the K3 type
    Hmmm.. newbie here. Not so adventurous at the moment.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    Quote Originally Posted by RadioX View Post
    Just tried your recommandation. Doesn't seems to working very well. Difficult to maintain minimal movement while turning the focus. Must go very very slow. can better a much better result with 3X mag on LV.

    Subject: My wife
    Focus point: Pores
    Bet you must be shooting with f1.4? Use a smaller aperture and see how
    Body - K-x, KX, ME
    Lens - DAL18-55, DAL55-300, DA 35 Ltd, M 50 F1.7, A 50 F1.7, Sigma 10-20

  8. #8

    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Brianskivvy View Post
    Bet you must be shooting with f1.4? Use a smaller aperture and see how
    Just tested (subject still awake). The Catch-in-Focus really works better in 1-2 stops down. Does that means whenever possible try not to take pictures with aperture wide open?

    But seems that 3X Mag + LV focusing is still more accurate, almost 100% hit rate. but cannot properly compose the image.

    Thanks Brianskivvy for your advice.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    Quote Originally Posted by RadioX View Post
    Just tested (subject still awake). The Catch-in-Focus really works better in 1-2 stops down. Does that means whenever possible try not to take pictures with aperture wide open?

    But seems that 3X Mag + LV focusing is still more accurate, almost 100% hit rate. but cannot properly compose the image.

    Thanks Brianskivvy for your advice.
    Yes cos the depth of field at wide open might be too thin for you to get everything in focus The catch-in focus is useful provided your aperture is not to big and when you need to take shots fast. However, if your subject is far away, using wide open is still possible as the DOF is bigger when your focus distance increases. Play with it more to judge for yourself.

    Enjoy your KX
    Last edited by Brianskivvy; 17th June 2010 at 11:58 PM.
    Body - K-x, KX, ME
    Lens - DAL18-55, DAL55-300, DA 35 Ltd, M 50 F1.7, A 50 F1.7, Sigma 10-20

  10. #10
    Member scorpioh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    Quote Originally Posted by RadioX View Post
    Hmmm.. newbie here. Not so adventurous at the moment.
    Well, it's not being adventurous. It's about getting the right tool to get the job done/make your job easier. To at least make Manual focusing a delightful experience, you should get a 1.2x magnifiying eyepiece. The focusing screen is useful too. I am not so sure about the kx, but on my k10d, with a focusing screen and magnifier, my hit rate for a f1.2 wide opened shots is pretty high. Also, sometimes manual focus is about feel too. Your soul links with the camera and when you depress that shutter release, you'll know... Furthermore, alot of times, its not really about pinpoint focus, many great photos aren't exactly 100% spot-on focus.
    I say the lens is the soul of a camera. What about the body? Well, it's just the body...

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    Quote Originally Posted by scorpioh View Post
    Well, it's not being adventurous. It's about getting the right tool to get the job done/make your job easier. To at least make Manual focusing a delightful experience, you should get a 1.2x magnifiying eyepiece. The focusing screen is useful too. I am not so sure about the kx, but on my k10d, with a focusing screen and magnifier, my hit rate for a f1.2 wide opened shots is pretty high. Also, sometimes manual focus is about feel too. Your soul links with the camera and when you depress that shutter release, you'll know... Furthermore, alot of times, its not really about pinpoint focus, many great photos aren't exactly 100% spot-on focus.
    Like Avatar? Is there a hair-sync slot I'm overlooking on my K10d? Do I need a hair-extension adapter since my hair is too short?

    Jokes aside, I have a split-screen + magnifying eyepiece combo as well. But spectacle wearers (like me) take note that the eyepiece further crops the view, meaning you have to move your eye around to see the full view. Not much of a problem since you're basically capturing more of the view, which you can crop later in post.
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  12. #12
    Member scorpioh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Baracus View Post
    Like Avatar? Is there a hair-sync slot I'm overlooking on my K10d? Do I need a hair-extension adapter since my hair is too short?
    I say the lens is the soul of a camera. What about the body? Well, it's just the body...

  13. #13
    Senior Member azul123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    Quote Originally Posted by scorpioh View Post
    sometimes manual focus is about feel too. Your soul links with the camera and when you depress that shutter release, you'll know...
    I like what you said above.



    ../azul123

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    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Baracus View Post
    Like Avatar? Is there a hair-sync slot I'm overlooking on my K10d? Do I need a hair-extension adapter since my hair is too short?
    Quote Originally Posted by scorpioh View Post
    Don't emo lah bro. Nothing personal.

    I can see that you enjoy the MF experience as much (if not more) as I do. And yes, the feeling of getting your settings right is a joy, especially when you're shooting full manual. But it's just one euphoria below getting your film prints back, exposed just right.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    I've personally found the 1.2x magnifying eyepiece helpful.
    The split screen is a bit of a mixed bag. It all depends on how well you can get it 'calibrated' between viewfinder and actual focus. I'm still using one only because I paid ~$100+ for one
    (its a tenny weeny bit front focused and can be a pain at lower than f2)


    Wah! Scorpioh you make MF sound very mystical and zen

    I just like the more engaging and thoughtful experience with manual focus and aperture. Not just "ti-di" -> 'press shutter button' , "ti-di" -> 'press shutter button' , "ti-di" -> 'press shutter button'

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    just shoot more and u will get better... its true almost 100% of the time... dun believe u measure ur hit rate...1 yr down the road u measure again... sure got better...
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  17. #17
    Senior Member creampuff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    I have given up on my K3 screen (a little front focusing) and gone back to the original Pentax focusing screen. Gonna phase off all my manual focus lenses except for 3 lenses.
    It's strictly AF for me, don't want to waste time missing focus too much. With Pentax Quick Shift, AF to manual focusing is seamless.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    Quote Originally Posted by creampuff View Post
    I have given up on my K3 screen (a little front focusing) and gone back to the original Pentax focusing screen. Gonna phase off all my manual focus lenses except for 3 lenses.
    It's strictly AF for me, don't want to waste time missing focus too much. With Pentax Quick Shift, AF to manual focusing is seamless.
    Wah! I wait eagerly at the BnS section

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    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    Quote Originally Posted by creampuff View Post
    I have given up on my K3 screen (a little front focusing) and gone back to the original Pentax focusing screen. Gonna phase off all my manual focus lenses except for 3 lenses.
    Quote Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
    Wah! I wait eagerly at the BnS section
    Fastest finger first!
    Can it wait till start of next month? Have to wait for pay day first.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member creampuff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Focusing with Manual lens

    Quote Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
    Wah! I wait eagerly at the BnS section
    Quote Originally Posted by Baracus View Post
    Fastest finger first!
    Can it wait till start of next month? Have to wait for pay day first.
    Got to make way for new arrival coming soon. So got to make space to fit into my little Dri-Cabinet, so must phase off all those gear excess to requirement.
    I think once new arrival come my LBA will be complete. (OK that's what I'm psychoing myself)
    My Great Singapore Sale will start next week...

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