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Thread: Manual Focus w/MFT

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    Manual Focus w/MFT

    I have a full frame Nikon body (D3) and enjoy manual focus, especially with the large bright viewfinder.
    I'm considering a MFT body, most likely the GF1, but I have no idea how difficult it is to manually focus with the lcd or optional viewfinder. I can turn on live view on my D3 to focus with the lcd, but I'm not sure that it is the same. It is certainly heavier than the GF1 would be. How is manual focus with the EVF ?

    Any impressions or user opinions would be greatly appreciated.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT

    Not sure about the others, but it's pretty easy on the GF1 if you set it up correctly via some special options, like manual focus assist. As you turn the MF ring on the lens, the image magnifies in the VF so it's very easy to determine proper focus.
    Jack
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    Senior Member Brian Mosley's Avatar
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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT

    Jack, that only works for m4/3rds and 4/3rds standard lenses - where the camera can sense you're turning the focusing wheel.

    For manual legacy lenses, you have to press the left arrow/enter button (making sure you've got the option to shoot without lens fitted to allow for MF legacy lenses not communicating with the body) - to enter zoom assist view.

    I can focus manually with the E-P1 quite easily, and the stabilisation is a godsend for legacy lenses... but the G1/GH1 have better grips and a better EVF display for manual focus assist zoom.

    Cheers

    Brian

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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT

    To add a bit, if you choose to use MF lenses with an adaptor, you do a 2 button (left button, OK) to bring up the MF assist (magnified version). You can move the focus area at that point or before you magnify to any area on subject, simply turn your focus ring and to record, push the shutter button. Someone on another forum says that he does the double click as he brings it to his eye and he's ready to MF.

    As Jack says, if you are using native lenses, you simply set it to MF and then when you touch/turn the focusing ring, the magnified image comes up immediately with no button press. I find it very easy to shoot MF--in fact, shoot more with MF lenses on G1 than AF (though shoot mostly with 20 f/1.7 on GF1).

    Diane

  5. #5
    ChrisJ
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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT

    Jacks method only works on lenses that communicate with the camera, if you want to use your high quality Nikon lenses with an adapter on the GF1, it's a slightly different approach. First you will need to activate the very last item in the Custom Menu (Page 5) 'Shoot W/O Lens' to On.

    It can be left in this setting as it doesn't seem to alter anything else. Then with your manual lens on the camera (with an adapter) just press the < (left) button aoround the OK button which will bring up the selection box which can be moved around using the up/down and left/right keys, usually you don't need to bother moving it, it's there for if your camera is fixed on a tripod really. Then press the OK button and you have a 7 times magnified view on the screen which makes manual focus easy. Half press the shutter and your back in the full screen, framing view again.

    When in magnified view by clicking the front control wheel one click will give you a 10 times view should you need it.

    By altering the aperture on the lens the camera will compensate for the change in light level so you can see exactly the DOF you're going to get.

    All in all a very good MF function with any lens.

    Chris

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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT

    Manual focus (G1) with the EVF or the LCD is far superior to any SLR/DSLR out there.

    It is so much better than the liveview in D3/D300.

    The newer Nikon cams do not have the mirror flap while using the liveview unlike the D3/D300. That is how it is with the G1.

    GF-1 is similar to a Nikon D90 while the G1 is like the D300. In short, the GF-1 is a truncated version of the G1.

    Unlike the Nikon gradation (price/features), the GF-1 is expensive compared to the G1.

    In that respect Panasonic differs from Nikon.

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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT

    I recently sold my D700, so I am familiar with what you have while focusing with live view. It is much, much easier to focus my G1 and GF1. I have found that when you are shooting a series, you usually only have to do the press and move of the focus point for the first frame. After that, I usually just rock my finger over the first and second button press. It is very, very easy to obtain really accurate focus. Pressing the shutter button half way brings you back to regular focus so a last minute framing adjustment can be made if needed. (The lack of that feature is one of my gripes with the E-P1).
    If you do a lot of tripod work, the G1's articulating lcd is really useful. When the tripod is low to ground or very high or at an odd angle, it makes focusing a breeze.

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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT

    Just wanted to add (as others have already), the EVF on the G1 and GH1 are great for manual focusing. If you are working with fast lenses with small DOF, holding the camera up against your eye using the EVF helps stabilize the camera vs. using LCD.

    The GF1 has the optional EVF of course, although it has a lower resolution.

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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT

    It is very good to hear that manual focus isn't too difficult. Thanks for the replies everyone.

    Another question is regarding viewfinders I see people attaching. For example the 35mm Voigtlander viewfinder. Is this strictly for framing the subject or will you see the focus change when you manually focus a lens ?
    If the question seems silly, it is only because I have no experience with them.

    I ended up buying a GF1 as I'm curious as to the form factor and the image quality. Even though I've looked at hundreds of photos online, I still feel the need to give it a shot myself.
    Chris

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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT

    The add on optical viewfinders such as the Voigtlander are for framing only. No communication with the camera.

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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    The add on optical viewfinders such as the Voigtlander are for framing only. No communication with the camera.
    I'm using the Voigtlander 35 with the GF1/20 and while its better than nothing, its useless with MF lenses--just simple composition. I have an EVF on order. With AF lenses you can work with the external VF, but its still not a good solution IMO--esp. if you want to use the 20 wide open with more shallow DOF--you can guesstimate the AF point, but that's about it .

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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT

    I have the E-P1 and I find manual focus reasonably easy with older lenses that have a mechanical focus ring. With these you can quicky set the approximate focus using the scale and then fine tune.

    With the E-P1 you have the option of 2 focus assist zoom settings of 7x and 10x and this works a treat with shorter lenses. With longer lenses, which have less depth of field and a larger image it isn't necessary.

    With all lenses you focus at widest aperture and then stop down to take the photo.

    With most 2 ring zooms, zoom in and focus and then zoom to the setting you want.

    With single ring zooms and especially varifocus lenses, you need to focus at the intended zoom setting.

    Lenses with firm focus rings are preferred so you don't accidently knock the lens off focus once set.

    Lenses with apertures of f/2.8 or more are easier to focus in poor light.

    Cheers

    Peter

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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT

    Quote Originally Posted by Diane B View Post
    Someone on another forum says that he does the double click as he brings it to his eye and he's ready to MF.
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisJ View Post
    When in magnified view by clicking the front control wheel one click will give you a 10 times view should you need it.
    Best two sentences I've read this month!

    (And I thought I was rather a dab hand at using MF lenses on the G1.)

    Many thanks, Diane and Chris.

    I also use MF lenses on a D700 and, as other members have said, focusing MF lenses with the G1's EVF or LCD is much easier.

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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT

    The G1 is the best camera for manual focusing I've used. And I have used, for example, the Nikon F3 with DW5 5x finder. Yep. It's that good!

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    Member hodad66's Avatar
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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT

    Just purchased a G1 body from Ebay and have three FD legacy
    lenses on order as a starting point.

    50mm 1.4
    35-70mm
    200mm f4 macro

    I'm excited about trying these old Canon lenses out while
    I wait for better m4/3 lens choices. Currently waiting for
    the FD adapter to arrive.

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT

    Hi

    Quote Originally Posted by ibcj View Post
    I have a full frame Nikon body (D3) and enjoy manual focus, especially with the large bright viewfinder.
    I'm considering a MFT body, most likely the GF1, but I have no idea how difficult it is to manually focus with the lcd or optional viewfinder. I can turn on live view on my D3 to focus with the lcd, but I'm not sure that it is the same. It is certainly heavier than the GF1 would be. How is manual focus with the EVF ?

    Any impressions or user opinions would be greatly appreciated.
    ok first, a background: I come from using 35mm from the 70's using SLR's since the 80's large format since the 90's (while not dropping 35mm) and picking up digital more and more since 2001. I have always prefered SLR's with big bright viewfinders and found many of the budget models in the 90's dreadful. When I first picked up APS SLR I thought it was quite pathetic and when I picked up my first 4/3 SLR I fell about laughing

    I have a G1 and think that using the EVF is by far the best photographic tool I have ever used for careful manual focus. This was particularly emphasized to me recently when I was trying to side by side test an OM 50mm f1.8 lens on my 10D, EOS 630 and G1 ... I could only get the focus precisely on the target (at f1.8) when using my G1 ... it took me back to work I did checking focus difference between focusing screen and ground glass against the rails with a microscope when I was first concerned about AF quality in the early 90s

    The EVF is nearly good enough itself, and the zoom tool only completes that picture.

    When doing some copy stand work recently I was very pleased with the swivel screen allowing me to simply check focus and document alignment while copying some thousand pages. (all done on one battery charge btw)

    it is what it is with respect to every spec you may read but don't under estimate the screens and EVF on the G1 ... from what I read the Oly E-P-2 has a similar high quality EVF which adds swivel and can be removed when not needed ... for some tripod or microscope work that may be better than the G1 ... depends.

    HTH

    for further info and more of my thoughts on the G1 sus out my blog here.


    :-)

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    Member hodad66's Avatar
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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT



    the G1, 50 & 35-70 waiting for their adapter.......

  18. #18
    Member hodad66's Avatar
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    Re: Manual Focus w/MFT

    Update



    still waiting.....

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