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Is there a Knack to this MF thing...

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by winnie123, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. winnie123

    winnie123 Mu-43 Regular

    95
    Feb 9, 2012
    London, U.K
    Marilyn
    I decided from reading this and various blogs that I needed to add a 50mm lens to my kit asap. I have therefore sourced a used Yashica ML 50mm f1.4 (with adapter) & am now awaiting delivery.
    My question is that the majority of the people who used the 50mm lenses couldn't sing their praises highly enough BUT there were a few who could not get the hang of MF (manual focus) and were very disappointed with their purchase and the results.
    I wondered (whilst I wait for the lens to arrive) whether or not there are any known tricks or things to try that may help me with the transition from my AF lens to this MF one. :confused:
     
  2. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Mu-43 Regular

    113
    Nov 9, 2011
    Whitehorse, Yukon
    A couple of things that have worked for me:

    Make sure you know how to zoom the LCD display. On my GF2 I press the scroll wheel and it zooms in so you can see more precisely how in-focus something is.

    If you are shooting moving things then I find it is best to pre-focus. I shoot mountain bikers a lot, so I will pre-focus on a tree or something that is where I want to capture the shot.
     
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  3. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    When focusing using the screen/EVF there is a slight 'shimmer' that appears when an area is in focus. I find it helps to look for that.
     
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  4. supermaxv

    supermaxv Mu-43 Veteran

    273
    Sep 20, 2011
    Prefocus (both using things in the scene as well as judging the distance to your subject and using the little distance numbers on your lens - they do mean something), compose and use the zoom window if necessary if you have the luxury, don't try to shoot wide open right away (so you have more depth of focus to play with) and most importantly, practice practice practice. Memorize what exactly happens when you turn the focus ring to the left or right so you're not going back and forth when trying to nail a moving subject. Experiment, take lots of pictures and you'll learn to trust your eyes to tell if something is in focus.
     
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  5. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Veteran

    356
    Nov 18, 2011
    Focus with the lens wide open, and then stop down to the desired aperture before pressing the shutter.
    Realize that not every shot is going to be perfectly in focus, so focus bracket when possible.
     
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  6. mzd

    mzd Mu-43 Veteran

    241
    Nov 30, 2010
    Wisconsin
    another thing you can do is practice with lenses you have right now. switch your focus over to MF, or at least turn on AF+MF (the camera will AF, but you can then adjust the focus with the focus ring on the lens) and use it.
    i don't have any legacy lenses yet, but i definitely use MF often enough with my 20mm and 14-140mm.
     
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  7. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    I've noticed that as well. I think of it as a moire pattern. It doesn't happen all the time. Only for some high contrast areas.
     
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  8. avidone

    avidone Mu-43 Top Veteran

    520
    Jun 24, 2011
    Rome, Italy
    I'm not sure if I would call it a shimmer, but I know what you mean. When I am using manual focus lenses, I have the habit of doing a few quick back-and-forth movements around the focus point, each with shorter arc of movement, to home in on that "shimmer" or whatever. The magnified view helps, or you may find your EVF easier to use. Lately I have to admit I do more of my legacy lens stuff on my 20d rather than the E-P1 or E-PL1. And like others have said: practice, practice, practice! Each lens will behave differently, but you get the feel for them when you use them regularly and otherwise just get in the habit of making multiple exposures, refocusing between, of anything more important

    as long as you have a decent size memory card and your subject is not swooshing past at high speed, it costs nothing to make multiple exposures

    after all, for the first 120 years or so of photography, there was ONLY manual focus and expensive film which then had to be developed.
     
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  9. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    I think I lifted that term from one of Kirk Tuck's blog posts regarding MF lenses on the PENs. I suppose it is more of a moire as someone else stated above. Its funny you use MF lenses more on your DSLR, as I've done the complete opposite - I bought a m43 camera because I got frustrated trying to use my OM and TAK lenses on my 5DII because of all the metering inconsistencies. I find it so much easier on the EVF or even the LCD of my E-PL1.
     
  10. avidone

    avidone Mu-43 Top Veteran

    520
    Jun 24, 2011
    Rome, Italy
    well, I did not exactly PLAN it that way, but I got the 20d really cheap at the flea market and find, first of all, that size-wise it is a nicer balance to my heavier m42 lenses, and the adapter is nearly invisible. On mu43 the m42 adapter is quite long and that combined with a heavy lens just feels a bit out of balance to me. The m39(ltm) lenses I have of course will only work on the mu43, and are smaller with a smaller adapter, but I only have various 50mm models. The affordable shorter focal length m39's have a protruding rear element that does not allow them to be used...

    I also find it more "natural" to manual focus through a viewfinder (reminds me of film SLR)... and I do not have an EVF. I can be more accurate with the magnified view, but find the button pushing slows me down

    I never really had any serious metering issues on either Canon or mu43
     
  11. supermaxv

    supermaxv Mu-43 Veteran

    273
    Sep 20, 2011
    Yep. I definitely get a moire pattern on their whiskers when I nail focus on a cat (I know, I know....). Again, it all comes down to practicing enough so that you know what to look for in a variety of circumstances.
     
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  12. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I will just ditto what others have said - when I'm out taking pictures of moving subjects I try to prefocus on a spot on the ground where the subject will be. If you don't have a EVF then the digital zoom/magnification can help, and it really does get easier with practice. Since I picked up the VF-2 viewfinder for Oly cameras, I've been able to use the magnification button less and less and just rely on the "shimmer" or just my impression of what's in focus.

    But I still miss a lot of shots, especially at wider apertures (which is one of the main reasons I got the lens, grrr...) - so practice practice practice.
     
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  13. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, this is also my take on the VF-2. It will allow you to focus comfortably without the Magnifier, allowing you to go into magnification mode only when you really want to fine-tune critical focus. This is of course important if you need to find focus quickly. I would not shoot action shots without the VF-2.

    When you have ample time to focus, then the LCD or VF-2 can be just as efficient, allowing you to use the Magnifier at your leisure to get the shot.

    With the VF-2 though you're not tied to the Magnifier and with a little practice (I got my practice on optical viewfinders before I started using the EVF) you can focus very quickly and accurately with MF.

    When I shoot sports I usually track the ball instead of the players so I can keep up with the action and not get lost in the viewfinder. Here is an example of using too slow a shutter to freeze all the motion (1/30s on a Zeiss 135mm f/2.8 wide open), which shows how accurately I was tracking the rapid movements of the ball (with VF-2 and no magnifier) to the point where I could even pan on it. I doubt I could even accomplish that with AutoFocus...
    the_ball_web.jpg

    I actually have many shots like this where the shutter speed I thought was "fast enough" but it wasn't. The ball is always perfectly clear and crisp in them all, as that was my point of focus. Any blurriness was motion blur.
     
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  14. winnie123

    winnie123 Mu-43 Regular

    95
    Feb 9, 2012
    London, U.K
    Marilyn
    Thanks for the responses guys, some really good advice there that I will try to implement when I get the lens. I will also practise with the MF setting on my camera as it is not something I have used much at all.
    It occurs to me that those of us who have come to photography recently probably spend a lot of time getting to know our equipment without fully understanding the basics of photography. I guess those users who started years ago didn't have such fancy kit so had to learn the basics thoroughly, including MF !
     
  15. avidone

    avidone Mu-43 Top Veteran

    520
    Jun 24, 2011
    Rome, Italy
    well, I STARTED years ago, as a kid in the 60's, but a Pentax MX which I stopped using around 1984 was the last serious camera I had until less than a year ago, so I am really re-learning myself. I guess some reflexes (pun intended) were still buried deep down, though. I had been using an E-PL1 and E-P1 until December when I got the old Canon 20d and for the first few days of using it I would hear the mirror slap and loud shutter and my right thumb would try to find a film-advance lever all by itself.

    I think it is fine to use auto focus and whatever kind of auto exposure, but going a bit more manual can also be a good learning experience and help you better understand what is actually going on and maybe get better results even when you go more automatic. And I LOVE the feel and build quality of these old lenses which can be had for such reasonable prices. Some give really great, sharp pictures, but they nearly all seem to have some microscopic "imperfections" which lend particular character to pictures taken with them.

    If you find yourself enjoying playing around with manual lenses, you might even consider grabbing an old film SLR or Soviet rangefinder for next-to-nothing and shoot a little film... but if you have never had to drag film to be developed and then WAITED for it to come back, etc., it may drive you a little crazy.

    Of course you COULD just take technically perfect pics with modern digital-tuned lenses and then use fancy plugins in Nik or OnOne or whatever to make them look like an old Polaroid or instamatic shot ;-)
     
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  16. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    Its amusing to me to read things like this. I have seen many questions about manual focusing on the µ4/3 cameras. I bought my first Digital, a G1, a year ago. Just the body and 2 legacy mount adapters. So I have always manual focused and only very recently had to deal with the auto-focus lenses, Which are so darn annoying.
    But after seeing some other cameras viewfinders since i got my G1 I'm lucky I went from looking through the viewfinder of my x700 as my primary camera to the G1. Manual focus on anything else would not have been as pleasant.
     
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  17. winnie123

    winnie123 Mu-43 Regular

    95
    Feb 9, 2012
    London, U.K
    Marilyn
    I'm curious that you find AF lens annoying...why.?? I also have the G1 so perhaps I will find MF lenses easy to use also.
     
  18. RSilva

    RSilva Mu-43 Regular

    172
    Oct 24, 2011
    Portugal
    From my experience, the better a lens is, the easier it is to focus manually on the LCD of the E-P1. In focus areas will be also less saturated and develop moiré patterns (you can tell the lens is good just by this). Also, wide angle lens will be easier to focus since the depth of field is bigger. I will only zoom in the magnified view after having the image I want sharp enough. Then I swing my body forward or back to get total sharpness instead of moving the focus ring because it's a much faster process.
     
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  19. winnie123

    winnie123 Mu-43 Regular

    95
    Feb 9, 2012
    London, U.K
    Marilyn
    Thanks again for your help with this. I am going to print this thread so that I have it to refer to, as there are obviously several things I can try if I am struggling. Fascinated by the 'moved yourself instead of the focus ring' advice - I wouldn't have thought of that. :smile:
     
  20. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Hi ..enough about manual focusing and legacy lenses..Please buy my fav lens ..hahaa Olympus 45mm 1.8 .. U won't have to worry about anything and u will love manual focusing on it.
    Cheers
    Bhupinder
     
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