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Why would you prefer a manual focus lens?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by parka, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. parka

    parka Mu-43 Regular

    May 12, 2012
    Just curious.

    Why would you prefer a manual focus lens?

    I've the 17.5mm and 25mm Voigtlander and I love them for the photos and videos, and also the external aperture ring.

    I've no problem manual focusing with them on my GH2. The advantage of using manual focus is perhaps, you don't have to press buttons or screen to choose any AF selection points.

    There's also absolutely no way you can focus on the wrong subject. This is especially true in the dark when focusing speed is slower and sometimes there could be focus inaccuracy.

    As for focusing speed, it's basically as fast as your hands can go. There's no need to half-press focus.
  2. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer


    Makes me feel like I'm in charge and I can pretend to be a real photographer.
    • Like Like x 3
  3. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I find physical manual focus much easier to work with precisely for video.
  4. landshark

    landshark Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 27, 2010
    SO CAL
    After years of manually focusing lenses, I much prefer a good AF system
    • Like Like x 1
  5. wlewisiii

    wlewisiii Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 16, 2011
    Hayward, WI
    William B. Lewis
    I've been focusing for about 50 years now. Why are my eyes suddenly wrong? Using them in conjunction with camera lenses leads to the same question for me.
  6. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Price and the E-M5 makes MF a joy with a solid EVF and 5-axis IBIS. If the E-M5 had focus peaking, I'd be a happy camper!
    • Like Like x 4
  7. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I'm much younger than many here and thus was born into a digital and AF era. MF was not a part of my upbringing.
  8. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    I remember when I switched from a point and shoot film camera to my first SLR. It was a disaster at first. Not knowing the first thing about proper exposure didn't help either... :frown:

    As time went by, I learned to appreciate the control I had over proper subject isolation, DOF, etc, and manual focusing became second nature. Panning back and forth between two points of focus in LOS (you know, like the common film technique) was a joy (and MUCH easier to do than any autofocus).

    When I changed again at some point to an autofocusing (still film) camera, technology had improved to the point that it was "almost" better than me, so I adapted easily. For digital cameras I learned to autofocus and recompose, most of the time, so selection of focus point is seldom an issue.

    With :43: I admit I seldom have a mis-focus incident; almost never. With DSLRs and PD-AF I had a lot of back/front focusing problems esp. in low light. Now, with face recognition and similar tech, there is almost no need for manual, although I believe it will always have its place. For example, macro shots, some low light situations, it's almost essential. I'd never buy a system that didn't allow the option of manual and I still enjoy shooting with my manual focusing film cameras (and adapted lenses).

    You can say that again! One of the "must have" features in a future "pro" :43: body IMHO.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Many people these days actually haven't used manual knobs on their radios, 0bdm. These days radios auto-scan for stations and you only need one button. People don't use knobs on their stereos or systems, they just use the remotes.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Then there's me. I want to do everything manually. I would never buy an automatic car, a point-and-shoot camera... In fact, I would rather dissolve society altogether and live off the land again. ;) 
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Kingsfan

    Kingsfan Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 22, 2010
    highland park, CA
    i hate driving automatics!
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Me too. Especially since I live in Canada. Automatics have no control of traction and no frickin' stopping power. I can drive around my ancient manual-drive, short-wheelbase sports car with summer low-profile tires on my 18" rims all winter long and track through the snow like I'm in the Paris Dakar, while people in their long sedans with brand new winter tires, ABS, and advanced All-Wheel Drive are sliding through stops and getting stuck on every road.
    • Like Like x 3
  13. TDP

    TDP Guest

    On my EM5, with the CV 25 and 17.5, I like putting it on P - I dial in the f-stop, set the focus and then use the exposure compensation to adjust what the camera things is right for metering.

    The other evening I was using the 7-14 and it was a bit too dark to focus so I had to go through the menu, set the focus to manual then turn that focus by wire ring to get what I wanted. Total pain.

    I can see why people that haven't used a true manual lens (like the CVs) would think manual focus is crazy. With a proper lens, manual focus is a dream come true. On a lens designed for auto focus, manual focus sucks (on m43).
  14. newbert

    newbert Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 22, 2012
    Glens Falls, NY
    As my vision worsens with age, I agree wholeheartedly! :redface:
  15. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    As long as your subject isn't moving fast. Why would you want to use AF and lose critical focus? Other than lenses don't have distance scales on them anymore making it mf more difficult than it needs to be.
  16. eno789

    eno789 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 5, 2010
    Bay Area, California
    Started a few years ago taking pictures of wildflowers while hiking, the G1 + Nikkor micro 55mm MF combo got me more keepers, than the Nikon D200 DSLR + AF 28-105mm in macro mode.

    So for me it's (1) macro; (2) cheaper way to try various lenses including fast ones; (3) zone focusing in some cases.
  17. mowog6000

    mowog6000 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 2, 2012
    Oregon City Oregon
    Pat bailey
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    Other than the control over focusing, the cost is a major factor the difference between a AF new lens and a quality legacy lens is hundreds of dollars. I went to an air show yesterday and used my 70~210 Tamron $29 goodwill lens and got some excellent shots I would guess as good as the guy next to me with the Nikon SLR with probably a few thousand $$$ lens.
    • Like Like x 2
  18. jayf

    jayf New to Mu-43

    Aug 4, 2012
    i just like the work i have to do, while taking pictures with manual focus. it's quite relaxing for me to take my time to find the right focus. but for casual pictures of family and friends i prefer af!
  19. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Here's another thing...due to the CDAF focusing of mirrorless, I can actually manually focus track faster than the AF system for small adjustments.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Can't answer as its a personal preference.... I guess my best answer would be that it slows down the process and simplifies.

    With kids and family, I've been defaulting to autofocus lenses lately....
    • Like Like x 1
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