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Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?
  
 
warrenjrphotog
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p.1 #1 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


I'm tired of relying on Canons subpar AF system.

I went from the xsi to the 40D and both AF systems are hit or miss in my experience of using primes that have wide apertures.

This has led me to buying the precision focus screen for my 40D a few weeks ago but now that I'm using Manual Focus only I'm starting to seriously consider jumping from Canon to another brand that has a nice manual focus prime lens line up and that also offers more user control as I like to be in full control over everything when it comes to photography. (This means using manual flashes, full manual settings only, manual focus only, etc.)

Using manual everything (for myself at least) creates the most consistent results and even though technology is expanding, I feel as though AF systems a long with automatic settings won't produce nearly as consistent results as someone that has practiced using manual everything for years on end.

It also makes no sense to me that I put out $110 for a 50 1.8 yet it's auto focus is so hit or miss it's basically worthless unless used in MF and I can get a Pentax 135mm F2.5 MF lens for $60 that will have stabilization if used on a Pentax body.

If you managed to read past my protracted tangent I commend you.

However, my real question is which DSLR system and accessories would be best for a manual focus only system?

After doing some research, a lot of photographers seem to suggest Pentax as they have a decent amount of fast manual focus primes available and their DSLR bodies have built in stabilization.

Does anyone have any suggestions when it comes selecting the best DSLR a long with accessories for manual focus lenses a long with some manual focus prime lens suggestions?



Oct 08, 2013 at 03:52 AM
hiepphotog
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p.1 #2 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


Full-time Liveview would be best for manual focus only. And Sony has Full Frame as well. Admittedly, Pentax does better optimization on Sony sensor than Sony itself, but the only Pentax is known for is the good weather sealing and small AF primes. I used to shoot with Pentax, and I wouldn't come back.


Oct 08, 2013 at 03:57 AM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #3 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


The simplest thing for you to do is keep your 40D and use adapted lenses on it. You can adapt almost any lens for your 40D. All the Pentax manual focus lenses (some will require a little surgery, however), but all the Olympus OM ones, the Contax/Yashica mount Zeiss lenses, Nikon manual focus lenses, Leica R mount lenses and a whole bunch more can be mounted with a simple adapter. If you want advise about specific lenses for specific purposes, this is the place to ask. There are a lot of knowledgeable people around hereabout such things.


Oct 08, 2013 at 04:18 AM
helimat
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p.1 #4 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


You're giving up on Canon AF after only trying an 5 year old entry level cam & a 6 year old semi-pro cam? I appreciate your interest in manual focus, but there have been improvements in the AF world as well.

For manual focus, my vote goes out to the Canon 6D, with the EG-S screen installed. Trying to manually focus on a 40D with the tunnel-finder would be difficult with fast glass, even with a precision screen.



Oct 08, 2013 at 04:23 AM
warrenjrphotog
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p.1 #5 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


helimat wrote:
You're giving up on Canon AF after only trying an 5 year old entry level cam & a 6 year old semi-pro cam? I appreciate your interest in manual focus, but there have been improvements in the AF world as well.

For manual focus, my vote goes out to the Canon 6D, with the EG-S screen installed. Trying to manually focus on a 40D with the tunnel-finder would be difficult with fast glass, even with a precision screen.


First I just want to thank those that have responded. I have decided to just sell off my 50 1.8 a long with the kit lens and I'll go from there. Right now the Pentax and Nikkor 135mm F2.8 lenses are looking quite nice.

I actually like the 40D body I just wish that there was a split prism focusing screen available for it (I shoot a lot of portraiture so live view isn't convenient.)

helimat wrote:
You're giving up on Canon AF after only trying an 5 year old entry level cam & a 6 year old semi-pro cam? I appreciate your interest in manual focus, but there have been improvements in the AF world as well.

For manual focus, my vote goes out to the Canon 6D, with the EG-S screen installed. Trying to manually focus on a 40D with the tunnel-finder would be difficult with fast glass, even with a precision screen.


Photography for me is a hobby. I don't see the point in putting out the money for a 6D or any newer body. Even with the 6D I doubt that it's AF is as accurate as a good eye and a lot of practice using manual focus only. I like to be in full control when it comes to taking photos.



Oct 08, 2013 at 05:00 AM
garyvot
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p.1 #6 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


Canon is the best system for manual focus.



Oct 08, 2013 at 05:03 AM
warrenjrphotog
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p.1 #7 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


garyvot wrote:
Canon is the best system for manual focus.


Could you give me some reasons of why it's the best system for manual focus?



Oct 08, 2013 at 05:09 AM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #8 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


If you are thinking of DSLRs and not mirrorless cameras, Canon has an advantage in that it has a mount that is closer to the sensor than most other systems. This means that by adding and adapter most manual focus lenses can be adapted to Canon. Think of it this way if a lens is designed to focus further from the sensor than the camera you can add a hunk of metal so that it focuses right. If it is designed to focus closer to the camera, you have to modify the lens or the camera which is harder to do. So it is easier to use other lenses on Canon than most other systems. It also has replaceable screens for many of its cameras which aid in focussing manually like you have on the 40D. Hellimat is right that a full frame (FF) camera will provide a bigger viewfinder which makes manual focus a lot easier, but I had a 50D for quite awhile which has a viewfinder just like your 40D and I could focus pretty well with it. I do find a FF camera a lot easier to use, however. The Pentax 135 will be quite long for a portrait lens on your 40D, but there are a lot of nice lenses for portraits you could adapt. Look for a 50, 55, or 58 millimetre to start. You might want to begin by reading the frequently asked questions at the top of the forum as well.


Oct 08, 2013 at 05:28 AM
Mirek Elsner
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p.1 #9 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


- Besides Nikon, it is the only system for which manual focus lenses are made by Zeiss and Voigtlander in native mount
- Can use more third party legacy lenses (Leica R, Zeiss, Olympus...) than other systems
- Has good implementation of live view
- Makes replacement screens for manual focusing



Oct 08, 2013 at 05:28 AM
AhamB
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p.1 #10 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


warrenjrphotog wrote:
Could you give me some reasons of why it's the best system for manual focus?


I think he just means that some of the Canons have the option to use the S-type focusing screen and the live-view implementation used to be better than most other DSLR brands. When I had the 40D I didn't see much benefit from the Ef-S focusing screen, but on my 5D the Ee-S screen it helps more.

If you want the best manual focusing experience with an optical viewfinder, the Sony A900 or A850 should be the best option and it also has an "M" screen that is similar to the Canon screen. These Sonys have the biggest and brightest viewfinders, but they offer no live view, which a rather big loss.

Live view based focusing is the only way you're going to get really accurate and consistent manual focus and it can be done in two ways:

1) Use a DSLR with live view and something like a Zacuto Z-finder or Hoodman viewfinder loupe (attaches to the rear LCD). This won't work well with your 40D because it has a low resolution LCD. The 50D or 60D would be better.

2) Use a mirrorless camera. This should be the easiest for manual focus because it gives you full-time live view (without a mirror to flip up and down). Maybe you'll like something like the Sony NEX-6. With manual lenses you'll get the bonus of having more accurate exposure metering too, because DSLRs tend to get less accurate metering with stop down metering.


Edited on Oct 08, 2013 at 05:32 AM · View previous versions



Oct 08, 2013 at 05:29 AM
 

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helimat
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p.1 #11 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


warrenjrphotog wrote:
First I just want to thank those that have responded. I have decided to just sell off my 50 1.8 a long with the kit lens and I'll go from there. Right now the Pentax and Nikkor 135mm F2.8 lenses are looking quite nice.

I actually like the 40D body I just wish that there was a split prism focusing screen available for it (I shoot a lot of portraiture so live view isn't convenient.)

Photography for me is a hobby. I don't see the point in putting out the money for a 6D or any newer body. Even with
...Show more

I suggested the 6D for manual focus photography. That is what I use for manual focus lenses, of which I am heavily invested in, and I use the 5D3 for AF.

I appreciate your desire to be in control. That is why I use mostly manual focus lenses.



Oct 08, 2013 at 05:31 AM
warrenjrphotog
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p.1 #12 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


Thanks for the advice everyone and input.

+1 to everyone that posted.

I read the FAQ at the top and it all makes sense now. I'm excited to try out some of these fast yet very....very, inexpensive prime lenses on my 40D with an adapter .

I'll stick with the 40D until I can get a 5Dc but as of right now I can focus just fine using the EF-S precision focusing screen shooting wide open (I have around a 90% accuracy rate of tack sharp photos with it wide open in most conditions using MF only....using AF it's around 40% or less) but that is probably because I practiced with it so much using my 50 1.8 and because I have practically perfect vision.



Oct 08, 2013 at 05:54 AM
carstenw
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p.1 #13 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


warrenjrphotog wrote:
Photography for me is a hobby. I don't see the point in putting out the money for a 6D or any newer body.


Well, you have a specific problem which you want to solve, hence the suggestion. The 40D has a small, dark viewfinder, and focusing fast glass will be a challenge and a half. If you want to stay on a budget, then pick up a 5D.



Oct 08, 2013 at 07:05 AM
carstenw
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p.1 #14 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


garyvot wrote:
Canon is the best system for manual focus.


Minor correction: Canon is the best DSLR system for adapting lenses.



Oct 08, 2013 at 07:06 AM
kewlcanon
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p.1 #15 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


Minor correction: Canon is the best DSLR system .. take that!!!

carstenw wrote:
Minor correction: Canon is the best DSLR system for adapting lenses.




Oct 08, 2013 at 09:11 AM
carstenw
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p.1 #16 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


Well, that is just plain wrong A quick glance at the sensor performance at DxO will prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. The main reason to buy Canon is if you already own Canon. Number two would be if you need one of the few lenses which Canon has and Nikon not. After that, there is only personal preference left.


Oct 08, 2013 at 10:30 AM
Guari
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p.1 #17 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


carstenw wrote:
Well, that is just plain wrong A quick glance at the sensor performance at DxO will prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. The main reason to buy Canon is if you already own Canon. Number two would be if you need one of the few lenses which Canon has and Nikon not. After that, there is only personal preference left.


^^
+1

(Both are great, to be fair)


Edited on Oct 08, 2013 at 11:11 AM · View previous versions



Oct 08, 2013 at 11:05 AM
LightShow
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p.1 #18 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


I started with the 30D, I had dust and AF issues, bought the 40D for the dust and that was indeed much better, though the AF was still hit and miss, so I said Fk it and went pro to see if that will help, and indeed buying a 1DIII did improve AF accuracy, having AF micro adjust was a great help in that area, and manual focus was quite good with an 'S' & 'B' focus screens, I have since become a manual junky, AF was rarely used, I then moved to the NEX-7 and have had a great manual focus experience, you could even say fun, so much my canon gear is being sold and reinvested into Leica M glass.

My hit rate is a bit less than the 1DIII AF, but it's better than both the 30D & 40D, I had excuses for missing shots before, AF sucked, then, focus screen calibration, I have no excuse with my NEX-7, it's all me, the only thing that effects my hit rate is how much time I have to get the shot.



Oct 08, 2013 at 11:11 AM
SoulNibbler
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p.1 #19 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


I went with an a99 for mf. It is full time live view with a full frame sensor. It works well for m42 and my medium format lenses. I can also use Leica r with mountswaps.


Oct 08, 2013 at 11:53 AM
kewlcanon
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p.1 #20 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


Oh I agree about sensor...Sony sensor is better.

carstenw wrote:
Well, that is just plain wrong A quick glance at the sensor performance at DxO will prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. The main reason to buy Canon is if you already own Canon. Number two would be if you need one of the few lenses which Canon has and Nikon not. After that, there is only personal preference left.




Oct 08, 2013 at 12:25 PM
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