I stepped into DSLR waters recently with a D7000. I have lots of great manual focus lenses, some old, some new. I have never been an auto focus lens, although I know it has gotten better. I am able to get wonderful exposures with my manual lenses and I am happy with them. Am I missing out on anything not going auto focus? Akiva S.
#1. "RE: D7000 and manual focus lenses" In response to Reply # 0
I understand the thought process.
I think for the past few generations of auto focus systems they do a better job in 90% of cases than manual because they are faster so off the cuff shots become point and shoot (almost)
There are a lot of things to learn about them however especially when they do not do what you want. Recognizing those situations is the trick and either using the many adjustments you have or switching to manual and only you can determine that.
I think you will have a blast re learning the tech while holding onto he art
#2. "RE: D7000 and manual focus lenses" In response to Reply # 0
Livermore, CA, US
I can think of a few issues you might have, not all related to focus:
- Because the D7000's sensor is smaller than 35mm film, this will give the effect of cropping your images, or causing you to need to reach for a wider lens than your instincts might tell you. The obvious workaround is get a D600 instead but maybe the ship has already sailed on that.
- The aforementioned smaller sensor also means a smaller image in the viewfinder, which will make MF accuracy more difficult.
- The focusing screens in today's AF cameras are optimized for AF and don't have the focus aides like split-prisms that you're accustomed to from your MF film cameras. You can remedy this by installing a Katz Eye focusing screen, however this may affect the camera's meter.
- On the plus side, the camera's LiveView feature allows you to zoom in on the image read directly from the sensor in real time, which allows you to set focus as accurately as using a loupe on the ground glass of a view camera. This is only reasonable to do from a tripod however.
For my shooting, which is mostly fast-moving birds in flight and slow-moving landscapes from a tripod, I'd be lost without good AF for the former, but primarily use MF in conjunction with LiveView for the latter. Depending on what you shoot (if you choose to shoot some fast-moving action) you may find some serious advantage to AF. If you can however take your time, and work from a tripod using LiveView, then MF is actually the most accurate and consistent focus method.
#3. "RE: D7000 and manual focus lenses" In response to Reply # 2
South Florida, US
I have found that manually focusing with the D7000 is a breeze and quite accurate. With 20mm lens (FOV 30mm) hyper focusing means I am in focus from 5 feet all the time without turning the focus ring at all. Instant focus. beat that with auto focus lenses. Akiva S.
#4. "RE: D7000 and manual focus lenses" In response to Reply # 3
With AF, I can do the same with a 300mm lens at F2.8 at 50ft, in -1EV light, and a rapidly moving target.
With AF, I can use face detection, lock onto the closest eye of a moving portrait subject with an 85mm prime at F1.4 in 0EV light.
Beat that with MF.
>I have found that manually focusing with the D7000 is a >breeze and quite accurate. With 20mm lens (FOV 30mm) hyper >focusing means I am in focus from 5 feet all the time without >turning the focus ring at all. Instant focus. beat that with >auto focus lenses. >Akiva S.
#5. "RE: D7000 and manual focus lenses" In response to Reply # 3
Livermore, CA, US
>I have found that manually focusing with the D7000 is a >breeze and quite accurate. With 20mm lens (FOV 30mm) hyper >focusing means I am in focus from 5 feet all the time without >turning the focus ring at all. Instant focus. beat that with >auto focus lenses.
So... You asked a question to which you already had an answer.
#6. "RE: D7000 and manual focus lenses" In response to Reply # 0
St Petersburg, RU
My own take on the subject of AF will get different opinions based on the subject matter. I used to love MF on film cameras because of the focusing aids were so effective like the split D or micro prizm focusing screens but AF works over a wider range of light levels and with moving objects when using wide aperatures. A 1.4 lens wide open, like the 85mm is not very easy to nail focus wide open in low light manually. On the other hand the attraction to MF is certainly there, it requires slowing down and thinking about the shot and focus that results in probably a lower shot count but higher keeper rate. I recently bought a new(yes, Nikon still makes them) 50 1.2 and shooting wide open is the main reason of that lens's existance. It is a snap on tripod but a challenge handheld for portraits without the ground glass focusing screen. I love it however and it has produced some very nice images despite a very low shot count. MF is definitely a tool in the photography skill set that has some benefits. As you mention, a wider lenses set to hyperfocus distance, stopped down is easiest of all. But open the aperature and AF becomes more effective for general casual shooting. I hope your post encourages people who got into photography later, who never attempted MF, to try it, because there are some creative benefits to developing an eye for focus that comes from MF experience. Stan St Petersburg Russia
#7. "RE: D7000 and manual focus lenses" In response to Reply # 6
Sawbridgeworth Hertfordshire, GB
I lack the current and probably past experience of Stan, (see below for current slow shooting rate) but totally agree with him. With the D7000 there is no need to toss the manual focus, quality lenses that you have. I agree that AF does have its role to play, (I recently added one to my collection of glass and it is magic. This is partially because it is now my widest lens, but also because it is an almost 'fit and forget matter' in 'lively' situations. Having said that, my MF bellows and the standard MF lenses have both given me very satisfactory results, especially when good practice, (take time to get it right) and control of ailments come together! Richard
#8. "RE: D7000 and manual focus lenses" In response to Reply # 0
Mount Prospect, US
I agree that the SLR's of old were a bit better than today's DSLR's in dealing with manual focus. They used to all have a split prism or some other manual focus aid, and these days, they don't. I purchased a KatEye focusing screen for one of my D7000's, and I'm glad I did. I have one body I can use when I want to manually focus exclusively. Yet, it still functiosn fully for auto-focus. Kind of the best of both worlds. The D7000 is a great camera. Enjoy!
#9. "RE: D7000 and manual focus lenses" In response to Reply # 8
I bought the F6-J Nikon focusing screen from focusingscreen. They are in Taiwan. They include the tool to take out the spring wire. That tool helps a lot. Very glad I had it. Don't want to risk a screw drive slipping off and scratching the mirror or something else. Also include shims to adjust focus as well as a quality tweezer and some other bits. Also like the fact that is a genuine Nikon focusing screen. Very happy with it.
The split prism drives me nuts, so instead went with their F6-J micro prism. Although is probably easier to focus with split prism than the micro prism. Have on order a DK-21M Magnifier for the view finder. Will see if that helps with manual focus.