going manual

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by dixeyk, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I had a rather cool experience last night. I was at a family gathering for Father's Day and my wife asked me take a few shots fo people. It was relatively low light so I put my Panasonic 20 on the camera, switched to AF and fired away. I took a look and while they came out pretty well I decided to try my Olympus OM 50/1.8 and see how it worked.

    The whole process was a lot slower but I managed to get several decant shots. Later when I got home I took a look at them in Lightroom and much to my surprise the shots with the OM 50 we're a lot nicer. I doubt it has much to do with the lens as the 20 is a fine lens but the more considered way I went about using the 50 as I made the aperture and focus decisions. Also, the more I shot with it the quicker I got with manually focusing the shot. It felt like I was a kid again discovering the joy photography.

    I think the AF can stay off for a while.
    • Like Like x 7
  2. MaxElmar

    MaxElmar Mu-43 Regular

    May 18, 2011
    New Jersey, USA
    It can be very liberating and fun to go "all manual" - then, after a while, it can be liberating and fun to go back to auto! Life is an enjoyable mystery. :>)
    • Like Like x 3
  3. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Yes, it was pretty cool. I'm not abandoning AF by any means but it was nice to know that going all manual could still be that much fun and produce terrific results.
  4. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    Old lenses are pleasant to manually focus because they were mechanically engineered like precision swiss watch. Such a heavy brass helical and the subsequent fitting and calibration tasks would be incredibly expensive to manufacture today, and much too heavy for an AF motor to drive. They were meant to be human operated, not computer guided. Hence, they're much more satisfying as tools for the hands of craft-spirited men.
    • Like Like x 11
  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I love that. That is a wonderful statement.
  6. sLorenzi

    sLorenzi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 15, 2010
    Real Name:
    Agreed, and that's why I don't like manual focusing with my AF Lenses.

  7. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    It has everything to do with the lens and I'm surprised nobody's mentioned it yet.
    Dark room, so wide-open right?
    F1.8 v F1.7 = no discernible difference.
    Both lenses sharp as you like, so not much difference there.
    Hugely different focal lengths so much greater focus isolation and shallower depth of field on the 50mm, and a closer crop towards faces with a more flattering lens-to-subject distance. Job done.
    • Like Like x 2
  8. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    It depends on the AF lens...

    On the 20mm Panny, the focus ring is stiff and frankly sucks (to use).

    The ZD 50mm f/2 however, is a totally different experience. It's smoother without feeling like molasses. It's great to MF on that lens. It helps that I can hear the tick of the motor when I'm focusing :tongue:

    I do agree that the "feel" of manual focusing on legacy lens is in general, a joy.
  9. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Actually, that thought did cross my mind too :tongue:

    I hugely prefer taking shots with a 50 vs a 20 of people indoors (gatherings)...
  10. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Good point...I did actually think of that at the time. I figured the 50 would be a more appropriate focal length for some portraits but I was mainly struck by the very different fell of using the MF lens than the Panasonic 20. As I said I love my Panasonic 20 but as you say that situation was probably not ideal for it. I also agree that manually focusing the 20 leaves a bit to be desired.
  11. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    ...and here I am, in the middle of an autofocus zoom phase. I blame the season. Winter is the time to be lazing around with a nice warm drink and a generous serve of CDAF.
  12. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    The funny thing is, I'm of the opinion that situation really is the ideal one for the 20mmF1.7, even though in your case you preferred the other lens' results. :thumbup:

    I like my manual 50-ishs outside so I can choose my framing by walking back or forth.
    If I'm in the same room I'm stuck with getting only part of a scene, or only head and shoulders. Hey, they make the best pictures but can't capture all the ambience. I wheel out the little 17mmF2.8 for all that, or the great 14-54 at F2.8
    I don't have the 20mm 'cos it's pricey.
  13. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Ahhh...the 15-54. That is one lens that I do regret selling when I moved from 4/3 to m43. That was a GREAT lens. There aren't many I regret selling but that is one of them.