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Subject: "Manual focusing help" Previous topic | Next topic
runesat Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Apr 2011Sun 10-Apr-11 11:09 AM
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"Manual focusing help"


NO
          

Hi everybody.

This is my first post here, as I "discovered" Nikonians.com yesterday. The last 24h I've spent reading and reading. I'm really impressed with all the expertise gathered here!

I've been shooting primarily Nikon ever since I bought my first SLR, a Nikon F301, in 1986. Later I also got an FE2, F2 and F3. The F301 and FE2 I retired some years ago, but the F2 and F3 I still use. However, as film processing is getting more and more expensive and three of four labs in my hometown have closed, I finally decided to switch from film to digital. I will still be using my F2 for B/W-shooting, and the F3 for long exposure night shooting, but I just bought a D7000 as my everyday camera. I've been waiting for the FX cameras to come down i price for a while now, but it never happened, so when the D7000 came with the ability to meter with AI lenses I decided to buy one. I'm not totally new to digital as I replaced my old party/pocket camera Rollei 35 for a Lumix LX3 a few years ago.

During my years as a Nikon shooter I've bought some nice glass, that I was planning to use on my D7000, but so far I'm finding it hard to focus properly. The focus confirmation in the viewfinder is not very accurate,. The green dot will be lit over quite a big area.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one having this "problem", so hopefully someone will have some tips for me. I've read about the KatzEye screens, but for now I'm hoping to not have to do any modifications to the camera. Are there any other tips and tricks that will make the manual focusing more accurate?

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Manual focusing help
ericbowles Moderator
10th Apr 2011
1
Reply message RE: Manual focusing help
JohnE Nikon Silver Member
10th Apr 2011
2
Reply message RE: Manual focusing help
runesat Silver Member
12th Apr 2011
3
     Reply message RE: Manual focusing help
JohnE Nikon Silver Member
12th Apr 2011
5
Reply message RE: Manual focusing help
kuzzy Silver Member
12th Apr 2011
4
Reply message RE: Manual focusing help
PROWLER69 Silver Member
12th Apr 2011
6
     Reply message RE: Manual focusing help
runesat Silver Member
12th Apr 2011
7
          Reply message RE: Manual focusing help
RRRoger Silver Member
14th Apr 2011
8

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Sun 10-Apr-11 12:18 PM
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#1. "RE: Manual focusing help"
In response to Reply # 0


Atlanta, US
          

Welcome to Nikonians

Digital cameras have a remarkably good autofocus system. The new digital cameras have much better AF systems than the best Nikon film cameras. You need to trust that it will work pretty well. But automation does have limits. The green dot is most useful for manual focus. If you are using it for AF situations, it is most likely because you have a focus target that is difficult - and neither AF nor the green dot will be perect in those situations.

What makes a good focus target is important. The best focus targets are high contrast areas in the same plane. Think the numbers on a football jersey, the stripes on a zebra, the branch of a tree, or the edge of an eye. Tough focus targets have low contrast - things like the center of an evergreen tree at close range, the center of a group of similar fine objects, or a dandelion. Many of the lenses offer manual override of AF for the infrequent situations where you need to make an adjustment to focus. With tough focus targets or when you must manually override, the green dot is not very reliable either.

You don't neccessarily need an eye screen to obtain in focus images because outside of a few situations, focus is not done manually. Live View is a great tool and you should learn to use it - especially for macro.


Eric Bowles
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Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Sun 10-Apr-11 03:34 PM
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#2. "RE: Manual focusing help"
In response to Reply # 0


New HArtford, US
          

From your post I would assume that you are using older glass without auto focus abilities. Is this correct?

Manual focusing is harder through the viewfinder on DSLR's than camera's with a multiprism viewfinder.

You can try live view. If you do, consider magnifying image to help you get precise focus.

I just read an article on lens testing which describes some of the tolerance issues with auto focus and the difficulties with manual focus.
This article probably won't help you focus better but is helpful in understanding the difficulties with precise auto or manual focus.

http://www.slrgear.com/articles/focus/focus.htm



JohnE Nikon
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"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

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runesat Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Apr 2011Tue 12-Apr-11 05:37 PM
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#3. "RE: Manual focusing help"
In response to Reply # 2


NO
          

Hi, and thanks for the replies.

Been away on a business trip for a few days, and discovered to my surprise when I arrived at the hotel that there was no internet connection there. Probably one of the few "offline hotels" left in Europe.

From your post I would assume that you are using older glass without auto focus abilities. Is this correct?

Manual focusing is harder through the viewfinder on DSLR's than camera's with a multiprism viewfinder.

You can try live view. If you do, consider magnifying image to help you get precise focus.


You are correct, my problems are using my older AIS-lenses. IMHO some of them are excellent, so I was hoping to be able to use at least the 24mm f/2.8, the 105mm f/2.5 and the 200mmf/4. I have tried them in live view, and have no problem getting a sharp image then. The problem is when I use the viewfinder, it's a little too small to focus properly and the focus confirmation is not accurate enough.

I did a test with the 24mm and focused on an object about 50cm from the camera. I first used live view to get precise focus, and then switched off the live view. I could turn the focus ring about 5mm in each direction from the correct focus, and the green dot would still confirm focus.

For tripod shots using live view is no problem, but shooting hand held with MF-lenses was a little harder than I'd thought. I suppose I'll just have to keep practicing.

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Tue 12-Apr-11 06:29 PM
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#5. "RE: Manual focusing help"
In response to Reply # 3


New HArtford, US
          

Good luck. It would be nice to be able to use your old pro glass. In my hands I would have a large number of soft images if I had to rely on manual focusing through viewfinder.
However, this is how pro's shot for many years and got sharp images. I would bet with practice you will improve.

There are a lot of experienced Nikonians who would likely be able to help you and wonder if this post would get more replies in another forum. ? Beginners (nothing implied here) or lens forums.

JohnE Nikon
https://plus.google.com/photos/104310967428146619677/albums?hl=en

https://picasaweb.google.com/104310967428146619677


"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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kuzzy Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Dec 2005Tue 12-Apr-11 05:51 PM
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#4. "RE: Manual focusing help"
In response to Reply # 0


Milford, US
          

One thing you may want to look into is a different focusing screen for the D7000. Here is a link to Katz Eye who make these. I have had no experience with them but I believe other nikonians have.

http://www.katzeyeoptics.com/item--Nikon-D7000-Focusing-Screen--prod_D7000.html

This might be of help. It is something I have thought of doing as I learned on a camera with split prism for manual focusing but have always found something more important to spend my budgeted resources on.

Marc
There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.-Ansel Adams

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PROWLER69 Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006Tue 12-Apr-11 07:34 PM
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#6. "RE: Manual focusing help"
In response to Reply # 4


Wading River, US
          

I use the Eye Piece Magnifier DG-2 and the Eyepiece adapter DK-22 once in a while.
Eddie

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants" Thomas Jefferson

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http://www.pbase.com/tomcat68/root

  

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runesat Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Apr 2011Tue 12-Apr-11 08:01 PM
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#7. "RE: Manual focusing help"
In response to Reply # 6
Tue 12-Apr-11 08:02 PM by runesat

NO
          

>I use the Eye Piece Magnifier DG-2 and the Eyepiece adapter
>DK-22 once in a while.
>Eddie
>

I've never heard of the DG-2 before, but I did some googling after your response. It looks like it's just what I need.

Of course, if the focus confirmation in the D7000 actually worked I wouldn't have needed one.

  

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RRRoger Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit. Charter MemberThu 14-Apr-11 01:58 PM
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#8. "RE: Manual focusing help"
In response to Reply # 7
Thu 14-Apr-11 01:59 PM by RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
          

Sometimes when shooting with my D7000 on a TriPOd,
I will use the LCD screen (LiveView) and magnify the image
(lower left + button). This can really help.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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