Beginner Manual focus

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Gary
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#1
to be blunt I am really bad at using manual focus my eyes just aren’t up to it BUT as with all settings there’s a time and a place it’s needed is there any aid to help with manual focus I.e a magnifying glass for the view finder would be good lol
 
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#2
What camera ?
I know Nikon do eye peices for certain, maybe all that magnify or you can buy ones tailored to your prescription.

Most I believe will use live view for critical focus, again if possible.

What camera and what are you shooting on manual.
 
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gazguildford1
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Gary
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#3
It’s a Nikon d3400 so very basic but it does me I just find the view finder rubbish esp when I’m comparing a landscape or focusing on something any distance away
 
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Andrew
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#5
Try liveview. It gets rid of the potential for a focus difference between the camera focus sensor and the actual camera sensor. You can zoom in on the plus and minus buttons on the left and scroll about using the pad on the right. The standard AF-P kit lens is nice to use on manual as it is not over sensitive. I switch back once the lens is in focus.
 
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john
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#6
I did try manual focus on my D3300. I also tried activating the rangefinder setting, and check focus, by looking at the focus scale. <llII 0 llll> At the bottom right, in the viewfinder. I had no luck with this method myself, I found it pretty difficult.
 
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droj
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#7
You've adjusted the eyepiece? If the range of adjustment isn't enough, you can get add-on eyepiece lenses too (Nikon DK-something) but it's not always easy to guess the power wanted.

Live view's more use on a tripod really, more than if you're working hand-held on the fly.

A dslr with a glass prism should have a brighter finder. If it was full-frame even more so. A camera with an electronic vf could show focus peaking.
 
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#8
nikon camera manual focus
should be a small green light comes on bottom left hand corner in the viewfinder
when the subject is in focus

ps read camera manual
 
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john
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#9
I have just been trying manual focus again ( this morning) , on my D3300 and old lenses that don't have the focus motor. I did use both the green dot, and also getting the reading on the bottom right at I0I. Taking time, I did get a bit better results, and most photos are now in focus. It is a little time consuming, plus you miss what is going on around you. But I suppose this does not apply to landscape photography, as you can take more time to set things up.
 
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Richard
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#10
Don't know if this is the same on Nikon cameras, but if I set my Canon to One-Shot AF mode, but put the lens in manual focus mode, I still get the focus confirmation beep when I manage to manually focus on my subject.
 
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Phil
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#15
as with all settings there’s a time and a place it’s needed
You appear to be looking for a problem to solve.

AF cameras aren’t really designed to Manually focus, if youre trying to manually focus on a distant object for Landscape photography, you’ll probably be better served using hyperfocal focussing.

If your eyes are crap, your camera is way more reliable than you.
 
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#16
You appear to be looking for a problem to solve.

AF cameras aren’t really designed to Manually focus, if youre trying to manually focus on a distant object for Landscape photography, you’ll probably be better served using hyperfocal focussing.

If your eyes are crap, your camera is way more reliable than you.
Probably why I have such a hard time using my old lenses on my D3300. It can be done, but such a time consuming pain.
 
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Tom
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#17
If you switch to Live View when you've composed then zoom in on where you want to focus then you can really fine-tune it. But like others have said - AF will be fine 90% of the time. I only find it awkward of there isn't an AF point where I need to focus. You can even leave it zoomed for taking the photo. The added benefit of doing this is you can see if there's any motion from wind etc.
 
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Russell
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#19
Hi, Trouble with live view outside is sometimes hard to see the screen never mind if you have focus!! I bought one of these as you can attach it to the back of the camera and makes seeing the LCD a lot easier, the model on Ebay is just an example there are many more makes out there.
eBay item number:
153144061401
Russ.
LCD Cover.JPG
 
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Paul
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#20
When I use my olypus digital I use focus lock.
select the focus point keep button held down and pan the camera to select your image
this keeps the point of focus correct?
 
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#21
When I use my olypus digital I use focus lock.
select the focus point keep button held down and pan the camera to select your image
this keeps the point of focus correct?
I use the same on my Canon, also using zoom to select the focus point before choosing the final composition
 
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#22
When I use my olypus digital I use focus lock.
select the focus point keep button held down and pan the camera to select your image
this keeps the point of focus correct?
I use the same on my Canon, also using zoom to select the focus point before choosing the final composition
It sounds like you describing the "method" called Focus & Recompose, if so this needs IMO to be used with caution because it is prone to losing what you seek i.e. sharp/critical focus on the subject.

And @Hemsworths - Matt, in the last part of your sentence re zooming in to select the point of focus.....are you saying that once zoomed in and focused you then zoom out to get a composition you like...then you fire the shutter? If so do please tell us what lens you are using because a zoom lens to maintain focus when the focal length is changed requires what is referred to as a Parfocal lens and there are darned few of those made and I thought they were all premium priced lenses.
 
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#23
It sounds like you describing the "method" called Focus & Recompose, if so this needs IMO to be used with caution because it is prone to losing what you seek i.e. sharp/critical focus on the subject.

And @Hemsworths - Matt, in the last part of your sentence re zooming in to select the point of focus.....are you saying that once zoomed in and focused you then zoom out to get a composition you like...then you fire the shutter? If so do please tell us what lens you are using because a zoom lens to maintain focus when the focal length is changed requires what is referred to as a Parfocal lens and there are darned few of those made and I thought they were all premium priced lenses.
Yes I use this technique but no I don't have a parfocal lens (maybe some day!) The majority of my work is for home use and I'll be the first one to hold my hand up and say I'm still learning! I've never seen a difference in focus when doing this but maybe I'm not looking close enough :D
 
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#26
Yes I use this technique but no I don't have a parfocal lens (maybe some day!) The majority of my work is for home use and I'll be the first one to hold my hand up and say I'm still learning! I've never seen a difference in focus when doing this but maybe I'm not looking close enough :D
When using technology any methodology you use will throw up pros & cons......in broad terms "it" will work or not i.e. you will see the results and learn 'which works best (for you)'.

But as mentioned in my post above, with focus & recompose and the zoom>focus>zoom both are prone to introducing focusing errors. You may in many situations not see the erroneous results without self critical examination of the images but they will still likely/would be present.

IMO it is best to understand, learn and realise the limitations of the technique(s) and the technology and by understanding how they can introduce errors and go wrong, you avoid getting into a habit of "well it's ok for me........" because in future it may come back and bite you in the proverbial a*se.

If I read your introduction post and indeed your website correctly, you have said your aim and indeed your website talks about selling a retouching service to social photography professionals. If you don't appreciate the need to start with as good an image as possible for yourself how can you expect to offer that service to paying customers with the professionalism that those (potential) customers exercise themselves and would expect from you or any other service provider!
 
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droj
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#27
Generally, to use manual focus these days you have to be a dinosaur, or maybe just eccentric?

However that's all I do myself, since I only have mf lenses & hardly use them to photograph anything in motion (not strictly true).

But since you mentioned landscape, I can't see what the issue is. Except that if your eyesight's bad, then that's surely a time to cue in autofocus?

Or are you using lenses that can't? I don't think that it's been explained.
 
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KIPAX
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#28
Generally, to use manual focus these days you have to be a dinosaur, or maybe just eccentric?.
Or you have a bird in a tree with lots of branches in front and autofocus just doesn't lock onto what you want.. just off the top of my head like :)

the OP said it perfectly in his first post..

as with all settings there’s a time and a place it’s needed
 
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#29
When using technology any methodology you use will throw up pros & cons......in broad terms "it" will work or not i.e. you will see the results and learn 'which works best (for you)'.

But as mentioned in my post above, with focus & recompose and the zoom>focus>zoom both are prone to introducing focusing errors. You may in many situations not see the erroneous results without self critical examination of the images but they will still likely/would be present.

IMO it is best to understand, learn and realise the limitations of the technique(s) and the technology and by understanding how they can introduce errors and go wrong, you avoid getting into a habit of "well it's ok for me........" because in future it may come back and bite you in the proverbial a*se.

If I read your introduction post and indeed your website correctly, you have said your aim and indeed your website talks about selling a retouching service to social photography professionals. If you don't appreciate the need to start with as good an image as possible for yourself how can you expect to offer that service to paying customers with the professionalism that those (potential) customers exercise themselves and would expect from you or any other service provider!
Good advice thank you
 

MartynK

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#30
From a personal perspective, I used MF SLRs for donkey's years and it was quite straightforward. Of course, the cameras and lenses were designed for MF which makes a big difference. Crop DSLRs are miserable in this context, with small, rather dim, viewfinders compared with the big, bright, ones in the SLRs. Full frame makes things a bit easier, but it's not the same as using a MF SLR.

Another point to bear in mind is the lenses. Most of the 'standard' lenses for the old SLRs were quite fast (f1.4, f1.8 and f2.0), fixed focal length and had a long, smooth, focus throw. The 'standard' lens for consumer DSLRs tends to be a short, comparatively slow, zoom which doesn't have the same ability to transmit light. Couple this with a small viewfinder and the result isn't great...

Fortunately, the F2 and its lenses don't suffer from any of these shortcomings!
 

TheBigYin

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#31
From a personal perspective, I used MF SLRs for donkey's years and it was quite straightforward. Of course, the cameras and lenses were designed for MF which makes a big difference. Crop DSLRs are miserable in this context, with small, rather dim, viewfinders compared with the big, bright, ones in the SLRs. Full frame makes things a bit easier, but it's not the same as using a MF SLR.

Another point to bear in mind is the lenses. Most of the 'standard' lenses for the old SLRs were quite fast (f1.4, f1.8 and f2.0), fixed focal length and had a long, smooth, focus throw. The 'standard' lens for consumer DSLRs tends to be a short, comparatively slow, zoom which doesn't have the same ability to transmit light. Couple this with a small viewfinder and the result isn't great...

Fortunately, the F2 and its lenses don't suffer from any of these shortcomings!
the other big thing with older manual focus film cameras is that they had focusing aids like split prisms on the focusing screen, this really made a big difference.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=86&v=rnkib7FZ8S8
 

MartynK

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#32
the other big thing with older manual focus film cameras is that they had focusing aids like split prisms on the focusing screen, this really made a big difference.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=86&v=rnkib7FZ8S8
Absolutely. Fresnel screen, split image and microprisms. Some SLRs had user interchangeable screens too, and Nikon offered a wide choice including plain ground glass at one time. I should have mentioned this, so thanks for the additional clarification.

We took all of this for granted back in the MF era, but I suppose that's true for a lot of things, and many people who have grown up with AF probably see it as a completely obsolete way of doing things!
 
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#33
the other big thing with older manual focus film cameras is that they had focusing aids like split prisms on the focusing screen, this really made a big difference.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=86&v=rnkib7FZ8S8
Absolutely. Fresnel screen, split image and microprisms. Some SLRs had user interchangeable screens too, and Nikon offered a wide choice including plain ground glass at one time. I should have mentioned this, so thanks for the additional clarification.

We took all of this for granted back in the MF era, but I suppose that's true for a lot of things, and many people who have grown up with AF probably see it as a completely obsolete way of doing things!
Back in the late 80's when I had a Pentax P30 it had a poor version of a split image focusing screen......I missed all too many shots due lack of speed on my part :(

I then bought a Canon EOS650 and it all changed for me, Canon all the way since then until this year when I switched to Olympus as my main kit :)
 
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droj
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#34
When my eyes were younger, & I was using a 35mm slr, I always preferred a plain focus screen - I found that having focus-aid clutter centre-screen was a distraction that interfered with composing a picture. My focus was very good unaided.

Using the same camera today, I use a split-image screen - even with prescription specs, my eyes are older.

With a dslr, focus confirmation is quite handy for mf. If I had in-viewfinder focus peaking, that might be even handier, as long as I coud turn it off quickly because it would get in the way just as the old split image / microprisms did.
 
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