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Thread: How to grip for manual focus??

  1. #1
    curious80
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    How to grip for manual focus??

    I have been enjoying my G1 + 20mm 1.7 combination but recently started thinking about adding a couple of manual focus lenses. To test how well I can live with manual focus I decided to shoot my 20mm in manual focus mode for a few days. Surprisingly the biggest issue that I have faced is the strain on my hand when doing manual focus.

    The way I normally hold my G1 is like I do with DSLRs: the camera + lens rest on my left hand while my right hand holds the grip. It is very stable and comfortable. Now when I try to use manual focus, my left hand still remains under the camera but now since the left hand has to operate the focusing ring, it doesn't provide much support to the camera. So the grip becomes rather awkward where the right hand starts getting a lot of strain specially since the grip is not really that deep or big.

    Focusing accuracy itself has not been a huge problem so far. Using the EVF I am typically able to judge focus pretty well without using magnification. It is slow right now but I am hoping it will improve. However the biggest deterrent is the awkward grip. Is this a problem which others face as well or am I just doing things wrong?

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    Re: How to grip for manual focus??

    Since most of the legacy lenses (except many C-Mount) are quite big, compared to the pancake, they provide a stable grip.
    My Flickr

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    Re: How to grip for manual focus??

    I also find the 20/1.7 a bit too thin for easy manual focusing ... like other so-called "pancake" lenses, it's just not particularly ergonomic for that use.

    In this focal length range, I prefer the Olympus ZD 25/2.8 on the DMW-MA1 adapter: it puts the focusing ring in just about the ideal location for manual focus while not being particularly large or heavy. It also puts the ring at about the same position as the adapted Konica Hexanon 40mm or Nikkor 20mm ... very hand-holdable and comfortable to focus with.

    Some pictures:


    with Konica 40mm f/1.8 fitted and ZD 25mm f/2.8 aligned to show position


    with Cosmicar 12.5mm f/1.4


    with Olympus Pen 70mm f/2

    Notice how with all of these the focusing ring is positioned to allow the classic, very stable grip "holding the camera resting on left hand and focusing with thumb and forefinger" that the 20/1.7 is too short to do well.

    The 20/1.7 I tend to use more by using AF and the AEL/AFL button set to AF-only lock. I only lock and focus it manually on occasion.

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    Re: How to grip for manual focus??

    Quote Originally Posted by curious80 View Post
    .. the camera + lens rest on my left hand while my right hand holds the grip. It is very stable and comfortable. Now when I try to use manual focus, my left hand still remains under the camera but now since the left hand has to operate the focusing ring, it doesn't provide much support to the camera.

    Curious80: I use the part of my palm to support the left side of the cam and use the thumb and the index fingers to focus. The fingers do not grip or support the set-up. My fingers are not thick and have full dexterity. Though I do not use the 20/1.7 focusing with it manually, I use even smaller (flatter, narrower, lighter in weight) manual focus lenses (otherwise what is the point of "micro"?) that I do not find problems with.

    If all else fail......

    Try a Sony NEX for manual focus and you will find that the G1 is not an ergonomics disaster.

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    Lightbulb Re: How to grip for manual focus??

    I use the heel of my left hand to support the camera, freeing the fingers for focusing.

    This provides adequate support without straining the right hand.

    - Leigh

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: How to grip for manual focus??

    Hi

    Quote Originally Posted by curious80 View Post
    The way I normally hold my G1 is like I do with DSLRs: the camera + lens rest on my left hand while my right hand holds the grip. It is very stable and comfortable. Now when I try to use manual focus, my left hand still remains under the camera but now since the left hand has to operate the focusing ring, it doesn't provide much support to the camera. So the grip becomes rather awkward where the right hand starts getting a lot of strain specially since the grip is not really that deep or big.
    ...
    Is this a problem which others face as well or am I just doing things wrong?
    what I do is quite similar, but depending may I may support the lens more at the adaptor and perhaps support at the focus ring itself.

    This is lens dependent and I use a different style with:
    • 50mm
    • 200mm
    • 300mm

    lenses. I sort of cradle my hand around the lens and allow my fingers access to the focus.

    I'll try to get time to do a blog post on this, but its good enough to allow hand holding in low light long exposures such as this;


    noisy pitta by obakesan, on Flickr

  7. #7
    curious80
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    Re: How to grip for manual focus??

    Thanks everyone for the responses!

    I think what I am hearing is that I should not get this problem with adapted lenses as the focusing ring would be further out.

    @ vivek, leigh and pellicle: I will try using these techniques to see if it helps more. I don't need the fingers to support the camera - its just that when I use the thumb and index fingers to rotate the focusing ring, my hand gets to a positions where it is no longer giving much support to the camera even through the palm.

    @vivek: Wouldn't those smaller and flatter lenses still be a little further out than the 20mm 1.7 due to adapter thickness?

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    Re: How to grip for manual focus??

    Quote Originally Posted by curious80 View Post
    Wouldn't those smaller and flatter lenses still be a little further out than the 20mm 1.7 due to adapter thickness?
    No. Less than 1cm thick including the mount.

    Naturally, there are no "off the shelf" lens that can do this. They are custom made.

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