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Archive 2012 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?
  
 
zhangyue
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p.1 #1 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


I want hear some of opinion about which system is optimized for Manual focus.

I will start with Nikon I know

Good:
1. it has focus confirmation, I did rely on it 25% of time, especially low light, contrast is low, My eyes just can't tell. and 40% I use my eyes and rest 35% by both.

2. I use Canon S-type screen with f1.4-f1.8 DOF, this is really nice especially shooting Nikkor AIS or ZF, as I can focus at f1.2/4 but shoot at any aperture. IT really helps keeper rate once slow down, even with lens with focus shift, it seems still does better job than let my eyes judge or Camera judge at that small aperture.

3. In Nikon, there are focus direction arrow to guild you turning focus. I found I use it a lot as well. As most of the time, I just raise the camera and shoot, I have no idea where i were left. so the direction will quickly guild me to right location.

4. build very good. better than 5d and 5dII I handled for sure. though I have the feeling it is go down hill from my limited D800E and latest 1.4G lens experience.

Bad:

1. There are not many choice for adapter lens on the system due to flange distance. Only Leica R, some Contax MM, and Olympus lens can be used.

2. There are not many choice on focus screen work with it, I use aftermarket Canon type, but my exposure seems erratic some times. Though I can do the compensation with some experience with particular lens.

3. 12M or 36M, jump is huge. though 12M satisfy me most of the time. pix quality seems very high on D700. It is just so clean with pleasing color. 36M sensor is not really for Manual shooting everyday IMO. Unless you want bond with Tripod and LV

4. The focus ring and aperture go the opposite way to any other system for Nikkor and ZF. This is really awkward for me as the way I shoot require speed, so it is not good for multiple system/lens user. This is the main reason I sold off my ZF and start this thread.

I want hear your opinion to choose system and why? I mainly interesting in FF DSLR system, so my choice are limited with Canon, Nikon and Sony.

Lets put EVIL aside for the time being.

I especially interesting in how you shoot use your system.
Something like: I found Canon confirmation noticeable better/worse than Nikon etc...
that would be helpful for all forum user.

My recent Leica R lens purchase make me realize that I have very limited experience on lens and systems. I wonder there might be better system than Nikon for me?






Edited on Oct 30, 2012 at 05:15 PM · View previous versions



Oct 30, 2012 at 07:30 AM
philber
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p.1 #2 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


Canon has a great advantage over Nikon for MF in one area: you can adapt many more different manual lenses to it, because of the EF bayonet. Which is why you see more people shooting Canon than Nikon on the Alt forum


Oct 30, 2012 at 07:40 AM
sebboh
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p.1 #3 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


canon focus confirm on the 5DII is useless with fast (f/1.4 or faster) lenses. the 5DIII is supposed to be much better, but it doesn't have interchangeable focus screens (as anybody tried to do this anyway?).


Oct 30, 2012 at 07:47 AM
ZoneV
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p.1 #4 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


Some years ago there was only Canon offering an affordable 24x36mm sensor camera - the 5D. Back then I decided to buy a Canon crop DSLR. With Canon I could easily use my M42, Contax/Yashica, Nikon F-mount lenses.
Now I have 3 working EOS crop cameras and 2 EOS 5D - I avoid to make a system change.

On Canon I can use these old 135 format lenses with simple mechanical adapters:
- nearly all Nikon F-mount lenses - better without "G"
- most M42
- all T2
- Retina, Voigtlaneder, Schneider DKL
- all (?) Olympus OM
- Exakta - at least without full infinity with 5D
- many Leica R, I think few will not work on normal 5D
- many Rollei QBM
- many Contax/Yashica, some need modification
- Pentax K-mount lenses need a simple modification for 5D
- Praktika B only for Crop
Probably even more!

I made an adapter to use Minolta MD/MC/PF lenses on Canon EOS, but there are some modifcations on the lens needed.

Some lens mount conversions are probably easier for Canon EF mount than for Nikon F mount, because of the register distance.
So a lot lenses are accessible for Canon.

Even with the F-mount converting kits for Contax and Leica lenses these are only for original lenses, not for 3party manufactured lenses with these mounts.

The EOS 5D classic is a cheap camera to get 135 format, with the EE-S screen one has an easy way to optimize the camera for faster lenses. And with such a cheaper camera it is better to make modifications as shaving the mirror - or even to use a 100% reflecting DSLR mirror.



Oct 30, 2012 at 08:36 AM
cputeq
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p.1 #5 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


^ Interesting read on that 100% reflecting mirror. I was always under the impression the AF module was located upward from the mirror, in the Pentaprism / VF assembly? I guess that's Sony's SLT design - I never really knew the AF module for other cameras used transmission from the primary mirror to hit another mirror. Interesting!


And yeah for MF Canon for the variety, though if one can be happy with the AI/AI-S Nikon roster then why not stick Nikon. I've done MF on both and liked it on both cameras -- didn't care about focus confirmation because half the time it is wrong any way.

I also really like MF on the Olympus OMD because of one reason - IBIS. It makes it incredibly easy to quickly zoom into an image and check for critical focus, all with a stabilized image. Too bad about the 2x crop factor though



Oct 30, 2012 at 09:26 AM
OneAnt
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p.1 #6 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


philber wrote:
Canon has a great advantage over Nikon for MF in one area: you can adapt many more different manual lenses to it, because of the EF bayonet. Which is why you see more people shooting Canon than Nikon on the Alt forum


Yea but what lenses are we talking about ....?
I thought I liked the rokkor 58 once upon a time I dont anymore, theres a 30-70 or something zoom that you landscapers like but I dont do landscape. All the cy lenses ...why when I can buy ZF and I get an aperture ring.

The R's can be adapted but I guess their price is going beyond their worth since the Leica users want them back for the adapted M.

I dont know what lenses you are talking about and certainly nothing on a D800E or whatever comes next. The F-mount lenses go all the way back to ai-s and ai and are here in 2127+ pages http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/929565 and can be metered on a Nikon body

Big investment legacy lenses are a problem as well. There are a number of Noct users looking for parts that have rendered their lenses useless.

I'd say there are just as many...and just as many that are undesirable as there are for Canon.



Oct 30, 2012 at 11:43 AM
ISO1600
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p.1 #7 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


depending on how long you've been shooting nikon, switching (back?) to Canon can be very difficult and uncomfortable. I attempted it, and gave up.

For manual focus use, the Canon 1DS-series cameras are great. Far better than a 5D. You can get a 1DS these days for under $1000 easily. If you don't mind low-ISO and slow slow SLOW workflow, the 1DS is nice. Great daylight/tripod/landscape camera.
5Dc(lassic) is getting super duper cheap these days. Saw one at a pawn shop the other day for ~$500 with grip.
I never ENJOYED shooting my 5D's, but they are good cameras. For the money, you can't get a better FF DSLR.



Oct 30, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #8 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


Canon full frame have the advantage, as mentioned by philber and ZoneV.

If you use Nikon and stick with AI/AIS lenses, or the more expensive ZF (and Voigtlander, et. al.), you'll be fine, but that rules out most other Alt lenses without costly conversions, not simple adapters like for Canon bodies.



Oct 30, 2012 at 02:05 PM
ZoneV
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p.1 #9 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


OneAnt wrote:
... All the cy lenses ...why when I can buy ZF and I get an aperture ring....


Most or all ZF lenses cost much more than the C/Y Zeiss counterparts :-) I got 4 Zeiss CY lenses for 400 Euro :-)
Some say the ZF have a different rendering than CY. I have not tested this.

OneAnt wrote:
...
The F-mount lenses go all the way back to ai-s and ai and are here in 2127+ pages http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/929565 and can be metered on a Nikon body
....


Canon useres can adapt these lenses too - and many more.

For example the magic Meyer Goerlitz Trioplan 100mm/2.8. Or nice Steinheil lenses, or Zeiss Jena, or Pentax, or Rollei, or Voigtlaender, or Angenieux or...

For sure there are absolutly great Nikkor lenses, but it is interessting to photograph with very different lenses. There is no need to do this expect human curiosity.



Oct 30, 2012 at 02:09 PM
mco_970
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p.1 #10 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


sebboh wrote:
canon focus confirm on the 5DII is useless with fast (f/1.4 or faster) lenses. the 5DIII is supposed to be much better, but it doesn't have interchangeable focus screens (as anybody tried to do this anyway?).


5D3 confirm is much better (at least with ZE lenses, I guess I should test a Leitaxed lens, too).

However, I did some careful testing with my ZE50MP and found that it will happily give me AF confirm at the wrong place, depending on which way I turn the focusing ring. That is, if you do your MA procedure by turning from infinity to perfect focus, you'd better always focus that direction or else it will give AF confirm too soon.

I tested on a tripod by focusing first in liveview, making a tick with a pencil mark on the lens barrel to see visually where perfect focus is, then MA'd my lens to make sure it gave AF confirm when I turned to exactly that pencil mark... Of course verifiying it through pixel peeping images.

If I turn the lens barrel from MFD toward where it should give AF confirm, it gives it a couple of ticks earlier than it should, and it does this fairly reliably.

If I have time today, I'll give this a try with my Leitaxed OM50/1.2 and see what happens with it. I'm curious now.

OP, for manual focus, I'd pick 5D2 with a focus screen over 5D3 any day. I have mostly chosen to segregate my kit to AF lenses on Canon, MF lenses on NEX for ease of focus and for not having to keep as much overlapping gear.

And the idea is that if A99 turns out to be irresistable, I will trade off my 5D3.



Oct 30, 2012 at 02:09 PM
 

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FlyPenFly
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p.1 #11 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


Sony A99: focus peaking in the evf and magnification. You also get a boost when you manually set aperture up.


Oct 30, 2012 at 02:30 PM
akul
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p.1 #12 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


I am still enjoying D700.
I have converted two CY lenses for F-mount and I have no complaints. Getting a little bug to get some R lenses and play. I am not interested in switching, so next would be one of the F-mount FX camera. Probably not for a while.

Zhangyu - It is probably not your preference, but there is also a 24MP FX cam which should work the same as D700 or 800 ( I think )




Oct 30, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #13 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


I will make an argument for the 5D MKII. It has a replaceable matte focus screen and importantly when you use this screen the camera meters properly. This isn't true when use third party matte focus screen with Nikon cameras or the 5D MKIII. It also has a very good implementation of live view. These two features together for me, means that I can use the viewfinder quite easily and effectively when shooting handheld and live view when shooting from a tripod. This makes for quite effortless manual focussing. In addition, the lenses available for this system are quite extensive. You have the ZE, ZF, Leica R, C/Y mount Zeiss, Contax N Zeiss, Voigtlander SL and SL II, Nikon F, and with a bit of adaptation Minolta MC/MD, and Pentax K. There is also many M42 and others. These are all great, but for me the kicker is a very nice set of Canon TSE lenses, which really are unparalleled in any other system and unavailable for any other system. The 17 f/4 TSE, 24 f/3.5 TSE, 45 f/2.8 TSE, and 90 f/2.8 TSE are wonderful lenses for manual focus.

That said the sensor on this camera is not as good as the Nikon cameras, but the sensor is more than good enough for 13 X 19 prints. Still if you needed to print big the Nikon D800E might be a better choice and the IBIS of the older Sony cameras and the EVF probably with focus peaking of the new Sony camera that is about to come out have their advantages as well. For me, however, it comes down to lenses and to me Canon just has better lenses available for it and that is especially true for the very nice Canon TSEs.



Oct 30, 2012 at 02:52 PM
zhangyue
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p.1 #14 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


So far, all the positive of Canon seems only "Adapt more lens".

I will add another good for Nikon:

you can manual enter CPU data. So, the image you take at least have focal length information. I believe it will also make Matrix Meter work. I have to check if I can also make macro focus adjustment, not sure since I never use it.

As for Focus confirmation accuracy:

I did some test between D800E and D700, there is no noticeable improvement.

So I guess either 5DII must be really bad or 5DIII figure out some way to improve it. (seems even in that thread, some people report no improvement.) How? If you tell me out focus point improved upon 5dII, I will believe, but center also improved? I'd like to know.


For Nikon, I do find go from near to infinity and slightly pass confirmation dot work the best for me. It seems opposite way report by mco_970. Though I feel back DOF always should be more than front DOF, thus, focus from close to infinity seems make more sense, or maybe just the way Canon implemented? (mco_970, have you check if all your manual lens work that way? it might lead some macro adjustment.)

Even though the focus confirmation dot has a some range of solid, I can never say it useless for me. You just need experiment it a little and understand your lens well so that you know how much you need pass that dot depend on focal length and distance. I know it is sound painful, but a lot better than mis-focused images, especially with lens has focus shift.

I have found that once distance get longer, DOF deeper, even though focus confirmation accuracy get worse, it seems still perform better than my eye even with f1.4 screen.

Luka, Yes I forget D600, though I seems slightly prefer Nikon's sensor than Sony's based on my experience with D800 and NEX-7 for portrait. (I might need a better profile, but I feel D700's color very stable over different light condition, I don't need tweak hue, satiation most of the time to my taste.)

Can you tell me which Contax lens you convert to Nikon? I am very interested.

I think I might just stay with Nikon for a while.





Oct 30, 2012 at 05:51 PM
wfrank
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p.1 #15 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


sebboh wrote:
canon focus confirm on the 5DII is useless with fast (f/1.4 or faster) lenses. the 5DIII is supposed to be much better, but it doesn't have interchangeable focus screens (as anybody tried to do this anyway?).


You can do quite good with a 5D2 if you learn the slack on each side of optimal focus. You learn a lens in many ways, this is just one of them. It's far too easy to dismiss AF confirm/5D2 if you havent owned the system and *really* need to try what it can do. But an OVF with fast matte is the way to go. At least for now.

zhangyue wrote:
I want hear some of opinion about which system is optimized for Manual focus.

---
2. I use Canon S-type screen with f1.4-f1.8 DOF, this is really nice especially shooting Nikkor AIS or ZF, as I can focus at f1.2/4 but shoot at any aperture. IT really helps keeper rate once slow down, even with lens with focus shift, it seems still does better job than let my eyes judge or Camera judge at that small aperture.
---


Beware that a fast screen potentially need shims to be in perfect sync with the sensor plane. I've seen this happen with Canons, so I would assume this would be even more needed with a) a Nikon, and b) 36MP.



Oct 30, 2012 at 06:05 PM
wfrank
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p.1 #16 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


zhangyue wrote:
So far, all the positive of Canon seems only "Adapt more lens".



Yes, Canon really lags in critical areas such as the sensor. Flange distance is more or less the only thing left, except for handling for us that are used to Canons.



Oct 30, 2012 at 06:07 PM
deadwolfbones
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p.1 #17 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


I love love love the manual focus confirmation on my D700. Far superior to any other system I've used.


Oct 30, 2012 at 06:12 PM
wfrank
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p.1 #18 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


deadwolfbones wrote:
I love love love the manual focus confirmation on my D700. Far superior to any other system I've used.


12MP isnt exactly pushing that technology to its limits.



Oct 30, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #19 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


zhangyue wrote:
So far, all the positive of Canon seems only "Adapt more lens".



I don't think it is just adapt more lenses--although I think that is the primary advantage. It is also a better live view implementation and a matte focus screen that work well with metering which means I don't have to do focus confirmation at all. Handheld I use the viewfinder and my eye without focus confirmation, and on a tripod I use live view with magnification. Both allow great focussing. Personally, I would not use any system that required focus confirmation as I find it a pain and limiting in terms of composition.



Oct 30, 2012 at 07:01 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #20 · Which DSLR for manual focus, Why?


wfrank wrote:
12MP isnt exactly pushing that technology to its limits.


While this is true, 12MP is a sort of sweet spot, if you don't make large prints. Plenty of resolution for most things, fat pixels, and a very fast and accurate AF system. 16MP is the upper boundary of this, and then come the tradeoffs. I still think I enjoy my D3 more, for its effortless shooting and great results, even though my D800, when pushed to its limits, leaves the D3 in the dust.



Oct 30, 2012 at 07:06 PM
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