Manual Focusing and Sharpness.....

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Minniesmum, May 10, 2013.

  1. Minniesmum

    Minniesmum Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 2, 2012
    Just to throw another spanner in the works here... I've often thought whilst trying to get accurate focus through the VF-2 on my Oly camera body with an old lens.... How can you possibly judge/gauge the sharpness of a particular lens, when much of the accuracy of manual focusing relies on your eyesight or how well you have adjusted the dioptre on the EVF ?
    Just askin'......;)

  2. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    You have to zoom in on the image so you can see what you're doing. With longer focal length lenses, once you zoom in it's very hard to hold the camera steady enough to see what's going on. (The EM-5 & PL5 can stabilize the lens while you focus, and that makes a big difference.)

    I personally find it more trouble, with lower image quality, than it's worth.
  3. Minniesmum

    Minniesmum Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 2, 2012
    Agree with the zooming in and hard to hold the camera steady enough to get a shot...hit and miss.
  4. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    Good question. It always seems things are sharper in the EVF than the resulting image, especially long telephotos. Even on a tripod w/ remote shudder results vary.
  5. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Like the saying goes, practice makes perfect. :wink:
    If they can do it in the old days, I don't know why it would be more difficult now, especially with advanced focusing aids like zoomed view and focus peaking.
  6. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I've found using shutter shock setting 2x longer than I'd expect do make a difference. Even up to 1 sec in the case of my heavier lenses.
  7. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    If you were to actually try focusing a manual focus SLR, you would answer your own question. Basically, the cameras were designed to manually focused, had large viewfinder images and the image would pop in and out of focus.

    Even with all the focusing aids, these new EVF cameras are rather miserable to manually focus.
  8. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Didn't sharpness back in the SLR days have to fight film grain? Nowadays people pixel peep at 100% to determine sharpness. And speaking for myself, there might also be a tendency to keep the ISO as low as possible which tends to make the focal plane thinner than it perhaps should be.

    I'm getting more relaxed about sharpness. I have a large bunch of Konica's and Nikon SLR lenses that I love to shoot with. In the Konica 28mm f3.5 image thread, a gent recently stated that the Sigma 30mm f2.8 was sharper than the Konica. I personally love the sharpness I get with my 28mm. Plenty good enough for me. And I have stopped zooming to 100% in LR. If it looks sharp on my 24" monitor with no zoom, its good enough for me.

    And I still think we have better aids to focusing to come. I have a suspicion that focus peaking will work better with higher dpi's in the evf's, and I hope the new Epson display in the VF-4 is just another step towards the utopian goal of effectively equaling optical resolution.
  9. heli-mech

    heli-mech Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Mar 9, 2012
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    I actually find it fairly easy to manual focus telephotos on the OM-D with IBIS turned on with half press.

    There is one thing I would like to change (with wider angles especially) , I wish that in magnified view it left a border of the unmagnified image along the edges, this would allow easier composition without having to leave the magnified view.
  10. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Experience- take a lot of photos, and take a lot of photos with different lenses. After you start comparing photos and over a period of time you start to understand your abililtes as well as different lenses capabilities. Today with digital images that process is now very simplified - but many people choose to pixel peep, not giving themsleves a true perspetive of the quality of a lens when viewed through via print.
  11. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    I think whether or not manually focusing is or is not difficult is a very personal matter. Categorical statements that it is "not worth" doing because the results are always "inferior" are simply not true. I find it well worth doing and get very sharp results from my efforts. The stabilized preview of the E-M5 makes it easier, certainly, but I used a lot of old, Leica screw mount glass on my E-P2 and got good results.

    I grew up with film SLR's and rangefinders, so I'm not talking about something I'm not acquainted with. The process of using legacy glass on digital cameras, especially those with EVF, is different, that's all. The fact that the lenses were designed for use with bigger, brighter viewfinders with different sorts of focusing aids (I always got rid of them, changing my focusing screens to plain ground glass) does not mean they cannot be profitably adapted to the new cameras. That one does not like the process is not the same thing as the process being altogether useless.
  12. Minniesmum

    Minniesmum Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 2, 2012
    Thank you. I'm used to manually focusing on rangefinders and split screens, etc on SLR'S and at the end of the day it is all down to practice. And it may be that the number of " keepers" is smaller than with AF, but when you get it right, it feels great :)
  13. Gurin

    Gurin Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 5, 2012
    I have nearly stopped using my modern autofocusing lenses. I find I have more pleasing results with the older manual ones. Focus is where I put it, not where the camera does. Of course I have more frames were nothing is in focus but I have nearly zero where focus is on something I did not intended to be in focus. And I use the old Epl1 with VF-2 and I have a fondness for tele lenses.

    You just have to practice and go get a real manual focus lens to practice on. Lenses with autofocus are not pleasant to manually focus. Not even the exceptional Olympus 75.

    Lately my most used lenses are the Tele-Tessar 200 3.5 and Planar 85 1.4.
  14. Henk

    Henk Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 18, 2010
    the Netherlands
    I disagree.

    The LV2 EVF on the GX1 is a great help when zoomed in, much more accurate than the OVF of my Olympus E-620 and E-3 cameras.
    In fact these OVF cameras AF and MF both less accurate in my experience than m4/3 lenses AF and MF on m4/3 cameras.

    I do focus manually 80-90% of my photos with most of m4/3 AF lenses because I have the impression that this is more accurate than AF.
  15. Minniesmum

    Minniesmum Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 2, 2012
    thanks. The reason I originally got my E-PL1 was because I wanted to be able to use my old Zuiko and Canon 50mm primes. When I look back at my Flickr stream over the past 2 years, my fav images are those I've taken with the mf lenses... so yes manual focus on old :)
  16. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 5, 2012
    Toronto, Ont
    i miss the split screen but you're right, it's all about practice and getting used to it.
  17. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    No I have not shot old manual SLRs, but I've handled DSLRs with manual focusing. I don't find it difficult, but I don't find focusing with EVFs difficult either. And I don't see how having a zoomed in view for that extra focusing precision a bad thing. In fact my DSLR friends are quite envious of this feature.

    I have a collection of Minolta lenses that I use on a very regular basis, with great results. I did a 45mm lens shoot out last year and posted images for people to guess which lenses they were shot on. Nobody could tell the manual shots apart from the AF shots.

    I guess my point is, clearly using adapted manual lenses can achieve good results. However it is probably not for everyone.

    Like I said in my post. Practice.
  18. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    It is for me, which is exactly what I said. Try reading all the words.