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Is a focusing rail with live view contrast based AF redundant?


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kholt Silver Member Nikonian since 01st Oct 2012
Tue 22-Jan-13 11:27 PM | edited Tue 22-Jan-13 11:29 PM by kholt

I'm actually not sure this question makes sense, but I'm going to give it a try anyway.

Is it useful to have a precision focusing rail for macro work if you have a DSLR with live view contrast based autofocus? What advantage is there to making precise mechanical adjustments with a rail if I can just put a marker on the subject in live view for critical focus?

I can see a big advantage to having a coarse slider just to get the camera in the right position to properly frame the subject. However I see some companies making rather impressive looking precision devices that are intended more towards critical focusing tasks rather than just as an aid to composition without the need to move the tripod. I have a lot of support equipment from Really Right Stuff and they make a setup that looks really impressive, but I cant see what the benefit of it would be when I have contrast based live view focusing available with my D800.

I'm new to macro photography so I probably just haven't reached a level where I am able to appreciate this. Any thoughts or advice? I will probably rush out and buy one if I'm missing out on something that would make macro work more fun or improve my results.


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