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Archive 2013 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?
  
 
JonPB
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


For someone who mostly does portraiture recreationally, and sets the camera manually, I think it necessary to consider using live view with a tilting screen. While I don't use it as my primary camera (because I mostly shoot film with a camera designed for manual operation), the NEX-3 works very well to help me connect with camera-shy subjects--and its price is a bargain. Focus peaking gets the focus close enough for snapshots, and magnification is easy to use for better accuracy.

With several Pentax cameras, over several years, I wasn't able to manually focus fast lenses without using an aftermarket screen. The best I found was cut from a Canon; I think it was the EE-S screen. That probably applies to all DSLRs--that they aren't designed with manual focus as a priority.

So, in the end, if what you want is a DSLR for manual focus work, make sure you get a screen designed for that...and a camera that can switch them out. But I haven't regretted trading my large Pentax kit for a Leica R system with a NEX digital back for straight-to-digital situations, and I am surprised how often I prefer the flexibility of the NEX viewfinder.



Oct 09, 2013 at 12:44 AM
cordellwillis
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


jcolwell wrote:
Sports photographers usually don't use ,.....


Not correct.



Oct 09, 2013 at 12:45 AM
cordellwillis
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


OP, have you seen this option?

new lens



Oct 09, 2013 at 12:46 AM
Steve Spencer
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


I don't think the last poster was being serious at all. To the OP, I could add some more specificity to what it might take using Canon to get a good manual focus system. A good starter kit might like: 1) Canon 5D classic with the Ee-S screen; 2) an Olympus OM 28mm f/3.5; 3) a Pentax SMC 50mm f/1.4 in M42 mount; and 4) a Nikon 105mm f/2.5 in Ai or AiS mount. You would also need an adapter for each of the lenses but these are readily available either on eBay or from a place like Fotodiox. Here is how the cost would break down. If you are patient you should be able to get all of them from the buy and sell board here. The 5D should cost about $500. The Olympus OM 28 f/3.5 $50 or less. The Pentax 50 f/1.4 about $75, and the Nikon 105 f/2.5 about $125. The Olympus OM adapter would be about $20, the M42 adapter about $10, and the Nikon F adapter about $25. So all together it would cost about $800 for this starter MF kit. You could sell your 40D and your AF 50 f/1.8 for about half that, so for about $400 or $450 you could move to a very good MF kit.


Oct 09, 2013 at 03:11 AM
mogud
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


carstenw wrote:
As far as I understand, the 5DIII and 1D-X actually do focus well. I am surprised to hear your problems with the 5DIII, Michelle.


In fairness to the 5D III, I used the 5D III only briefly with the 21/2.8 and more indepth testing with the 1Dx.

As a result of my great experiences with the ZE 21/2.8, I will be purchasing the lens on the weekend and giving the 5D III a chance to shine. I did notice that the 1Dx/ZE 21/2.8 combination did meter very differntly because of it's metering system than the ZE 21/2.8/5D III.

I'm looking forward to the fall colors with the this lens and either camera.



Oct 09, 2013 at 04:40 AM
warrenjrphotog
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


mco_970 wrote:
OP, once you try a 5D viewfinder for MF, you will love it. It's soo much easier to manually focus on FF than on crop.

I moved out of Canon and into Nikon because I find the AF much, much more reliable and repeatable. I finally got the Nikon 50/1.8 and have been pretty much blown away by how good it is over the Canon. Not that Canon is bad optically, but the focus system just didn't work well for me (5D3 did the best, but even there I didn't have good results with fast primes using the outer points). I
...Show more

Good to know. Funny thing is that I made up my mind that I'm switching over to Nikon.

I feel like Nikons lens lineup is better (a lot will disagree but I could care less) as their current AF lenses are actually updated lenses that have excellent AF from what I've read.

My 50 1.8 is garbage. It's even less accurate than my 18-55. You can actually hear it front focusing (when using AI-Servo via back button focus) and it will only lock into tack sharp focus every 2-3 out of 10 shots in my experience with no recompose technique used whatsoever.

I also like the fact that Nikon systems generally allow more user control than Canons and their sensors have better dynamic range and they're renowned for their low noise high iso capabilitys.

I'm going to be going with the D700 (12MP is perfect for me especially with high iso low noise capability's) and I'll be going with all Nikkor MF lenses.

I came to the decision of getting the D700 since for me video on a camera is useless, 12MP is more than enough for me on a FF body, it supposedly is excellent for manual focusing lenses with it's big and bright viewfinder, and can be had for less than a 5Dmkii.

I don't ever think that I could go back to auto focus lenses or systems.

Manual focus a long with fast prime lenses really slows me down and forces me to think about my aperture used and the reason why, my focus point and why, my composition, and I rely on my own mechanical ability's (that come from good old practice) vs an automated computer controlled system (autofocus).

The fast apertures also allow more creative choices to be made when taking a photograph than with a slower lens.

If the pro's 20+ years ago shot all without auto focus (including any type of photography) than I don't see why I can't teach myself to shoot just as fast (but even more accurately) than most photographers today that use the set AF on a set point and than recompose technique.

Not to mention the idea of being able to get vintage fast manual focus lenses on full frame with excellent optics for crazy low prices is extremely appealing.

So unless someone can convince me why another system or camera would be a better choice for the money than a D700 that's the system and camera that I'm going with.

All the best guys and thanks for the advice.



Oct 09, 2013 at 05:04 AM
zhangyue
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


Enjoy the process is more important and enjoyable than any technology can bring you. If you rely on tool bring you pleasure, it will be a never ending update cycle



Oct 09, 2013 at 05:12 AM
warrenjrphotog
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


Steve Spencer wrote:
I don't think the last poster was being serious at all. To the OP, I could add some more specificity to what it might take using Canon to get a good manual focus system. A good starter kit might like: 1) Canon 5D classic with the Ee-S screen; 2) an Olympus OM 28mm f/3.5; 3) a Pentax SMC 50mm f/1.4 in M42 mount; and 4) a Nikon 105mm f/2.5 in Ai or AiS mount. You would also need an adapter for each of the lenses but these are readily available either on eBay or from a place like Fotodiox.
...Show more

I really appreciate your input and your help. Your posts are also making me second guess my initial decisions though haha.

Could you weigh in your inputs on why a 5Dc might be a better choice or at least as good as the Nikon when it comes to manual focus (basically the ability to judge focus through the viewfinder)?

Do you have any (or rather, does any one posting in here?) experience with the D700 and how it's MF compares with the 5Dc with the precision focusing screen?

The main benefits that I see the D700 having is much better dynamic range, much better low light performance, and more customization.......unless I'm mistaken of course.

If the 5Dc can MF close to as good as the D700 reportedly does and the difference in dynamic range or low light performance isn't as big as I read it to be, than I'll just go with the 5Dc as Canon will have more MF lens choices and I really like that lens line up that you mentioned but instead of the 105 F2.5 I'd get the Pentax 135 F2.5 instead as I love the 135mm focal length (85mm lens used on my 40D).

Also, does anyone have any input on how well the 1Ds series of cameras manual focus compares to the 5Dc with the precision focusing screen possibly also compared to the Nikon D700?


Edited on Oct 09, 2013 at 05:27 AM · View previous versions



Oct 09, 2013 at 05:23 AM
sebboh
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


warrenjrphotog wrote:
So unless someone can convince me why another system or camera would be a better choice for the money than a D700 that's the system and camera that I'm going with.


sounds reasonable to me, the only caveat i would mention is that there aren't as many legacy manual focus lenses that can be used on nikon cameras as with sony, pentax, and especially canon, and some of the ones you miss out on are my favorites.




Oct 09, 2013 at 05:27 AM
warrenjrphotog
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


sebboh wrote:
sounds reasonable to me, the only caveat i would mention is that there aren't as many legacy manual focus lenses that can be used on nikon cameras as with sony, pentax, and especially canon, and some of the ones you miss out on are my favorites.



Which is why I just made that post above yours haha.

I'd love to be able to use all of those older lenses and I know that with Nikon I'd be much more limited.

I basically just want a camera that has a viewfinder that makes it as easily as possible to see whether you're in focus or not when using manual focus.

The 5Dc also seems to be a stop better than the 40D when it comes to low light performance (at least from what I've read) so that would be an additional bonus as well if it's viewfinder is really nice for MF.

I find anything above iso 640 on the 40D basically unusable in most cases so high iso performance is also slightly important for shots taken close to night when combining OCF with ambient.



Oct 09, 2013 at 05:34 AM
 

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AhamB
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


kewlcanon wrote:
Design is not the same as make. Ford designs and makes cars. NVIDIA does make reference graphics cards and the graphic chip...Nikon just designs (maybe...) .


They make wafer steppers/scanners though, just like Canon, and from what I've heard they do better business than Canon. They should have plenty of knowledge about making microchips, probably just not enough resources for mass production. Canon just has an outdated production process (resulting in sensor DR 2.5 stops behind the competition) that will be expensive to upgrade.


@Warren: The sensor in the D700 is quite a bit better than the 5D's though, and the D700 has live view, so you'll have to trade those things for adaptability if you go for Canon.



Oct 09, 2013 at 05:34 AM
carstenw
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


warrenjrphotog wrote:
Could you weigh in your inputs on why a 5Dc might be a better choice or at least as good as the Nikon when it comes to manual focus (basically the ability to judge focus through the viewfinder)?

Do you have any (or rather, does any one posting in here?) experience with the D700 and how it's MF compares with the 5Dc with the precision focusing screen?

The main benefits that I see the D700 having is much better dynamic range, much better low light performance, and more customization.......unless I'm mistaken of course.


I have owned the 5D (with Ee-S and some Leica lenses) and D3 (D700 is very similar, same sensor), and I preferred the D3 for manual focus. The 5D was fine, but I wasn't that fond of the camera and ended up selling it after less than a year of ownership. The D3 was the best camera I have ever owned, and I still miss it (moved to a D800). I sometimes toy with the idea of getting a D700 as backup.

The 1D series should MF very well, their viewfinders are even larger, and they have higher quality focusing screens. They are huge though, which was one big reason for me eventually selling the D3.



Oct 09, 2013 at 07:44 AM
kewlcanon
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


True, until they finish milking the old technology, their sensor will never be better. Having a real plant is very costy to upgrade.

AhamB wrote:
Canon just has an outdated production process (resulting in sensor DR 2.5 stops behind the competition) that will be expensive to upgrade.




Oct 09, 2013 at 08:12 AM
jcolwell
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


cordellwillis wrote:
Not correct.


OK, point taken. OTOH, the most common setup is probably 16-35/2.8L, (some version of) 70-200/2.8L, and a fast, long prime, or two. The OP specifically mentioned the 50/1.8 and 135/2L, so I was thinking of shorter focal lengths. I also said, "usually".



Oct 09, 2013 at 11:55 AM
retrofocus
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


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


Even the OP specifically asked for DSLR model, Canon is by far not the "best" system for manual focus in general. The best is Leica in my opinion. Try any of the M rangefinder cameras and you will be surprised how bright the viewfinder is in comparison to any Canon camera and how quickly and well you can focus manually with this system. Unfortunately this comes with a high price tag as we all know. But this is more or less where I can see the advantage of using a Leica rangefinder camera.



Oct 09, 2013 at 12:57 PM
Scott Stoness
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · 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.


I have the same reaction. Either the 6d or the 5diii or the 70d have live view focussing. The 40d does not. The 40d is a good crop camera but the 70d or 7d is much better.

Usually for precise focus, I go to live view and zoom x5 or x10 and focus. I do this whether the lens is autofocus or manual focus. It works well. Focussing with live view and zoomed gets maximum focus.




Oct 09, 2013 at 01:04 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


warrenjrphotog wrote:
I really appreciate your input and your help. Your posts are also making me second guess my initial decisions though haha.

Could you weigh in your inputs on why a 5Dc might be a better choice or at least as good as the Nikon when it comes to manual focus (basically the ability to judge focus through the viewfinder)?

Do you have any (or rather, does any one posting in here?) experience with the D700 and how it's MF compares with the 5Dc with the precision focusing screen?

The main benefits that I see the D700 having is much better dynamic range, much
...Show more

The 5Dc should have a very similar MF experience to the D700 if they both have matte focussing screens. An Ee-S for the 5Dc and an aftermarket one on the D700. The 5Dc has the advantage that the metering will be unaffected by the focussing screen, which I think is useful (because Canon makes the camera and the focussing screen you just change a setting in the menus so that it meters properly). The D700 on the other hand you will have to use exposure compensation (and often a fair bit) so that you get proper exposure. It is true the D700 has a better sensor, but it is a much more expensive camera. If you are thinking D700, then I think the camera to compare it to is the 5D MKII. That to me is a harder choice. The D700 has better dynamic range and particularly less shadow noise, but the 5D MKII has a lot more resolution. Both good dynamic range and higher resolution are good things and it depends on what you shoot as to what is more important. Again the 5D MKII has a menu setting so that the camera meters properly with the matte screen. It also has an excellent implementation of live view. If you are willing to spend the money for a D700 with aftermarket screen. I would consider the 5D MKII as well. Personally, I would rather have the 5D MKII (in fact that is what I have). The 1Ds series cameras are in another league yet. A used 1DS II would be in the same price range that you are considering. It has an older sensor, but it still has a lot of resolution and detail at low ISO, just not as good at high ISO. It has an excellent viewfinder and you can get an excellent matte screen from Canon. It would be an excellent choice as well. Good luck.




Oct 09, 2013 at 01:05 PM
Joe Garner
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


warrenjrphotog wrote:
My 50 1.8 is garbage.


You are wrong. Every 50/1.8 is garbage.

Not to mention the idea of being able to get vintage fast manual focus lenses on full frame with excellent optics for crazy low prices is extremely appealing.

You realize of course that with D700 you will be limited to Nikkors and they are probably the most expensive MF lenses out there?



Oct 09, 2013 at 02:29 PM
carstenw
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


Can you give some examples of these expensive lenses? There are loads of awesome old Nikkors on the market for very nice prices, and they are supported natively on a Nikon camera, i.e. with auto-aperture. This is very different than adapted lenses on other cameras. There are of course also the ZF and ZF.2 lenses, which are awesome.

By the way, I believe the Nikkor 50/1.8G to be quite good. Can you show some images or reports which say it is garbage?



Oct 09, 2013 at 02:42 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · Tired of Canon's AF System, Which DSLR is best for MF?


Joe Garner wrote:
You are wrong. Every 50/1.8 is garbage.

You realize of course that with D700 you will be limited to Nikkors and they are probably the most expensive MF lenses out there?


Not quite true. With a Leitax mount conversion he could use Olympus OM lenses, most Leica R lenses, and some Contax/Yashica mount Zeiss lenses. Of course the Leitax mount conversion costs about $100 per lens and the Leica R and most C/Y Zeiss lenses don't come cheap. Still even with the Leitax mount conversion some of the Olympus OM lenses and one or two of the C/Y Zeiss lenses would still be good values.



Oct 09, 2013 at 02:44 PM
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