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Thread: G1 manual focusing in tele range

  1. #1
    pac72
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    G1 manual focusing in tele range

    Hello,

    Can I'm considering the G1 for shooting in the longer focal range (200-300mm, giving 400-600 equiv. with the half frame sensor), using MF lens.

    Using viewfinder with center micro-prism like on old Nikon F3, I have not much problem to get relatively quick accurate focus. But I have tried on a Canon 350D, and it just doesn't cut it (at least for me). Looking at all the people getting great shots with the G1 and MF lens, I'm wondering how effective it could be in the longer focal range, tracking moving targets. From what I read, there is a magnified view ("MF assist" feature).
    - is it effective at longer focal range, when panning ?
    - is it possible to quickly switch from normal/magnified view back and forth ?
    - how is comfortable the viewfinder in bright sunlight ? it is necessary to use some kind of hood or is it ok ?

    It would be great to hear the experience of from those of you who have used long manual lens with the G1

  2. #2
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    Re: G1 manual focusing in tele range

    Focus assist zoom is very effective but not particularly quick. Activating the focus assist is a two button process, with practice you can do it fairly quickly though there is always a risk of bringing up the menu ot ISO control instead accidntally. I have used the G1 with a 50-200mm for motor racing photography and it is fine but requires prefocusing. I certainly could not pan and focus at the same time. You just have to pick a mark, pan round with the car and fire at the right time. The 200mm is about the absolute maximum I can use handheld for sharp pictures.

    I have also used it with 300mm tele and 500mm mirror lenses for wildlife. Focusing is quite slow and a lot of shots get missed. On a static subject focus can be critically precise. It's a bit like using a telescope on such focal lengths I think, and I certainly need to use a tripod.

    Others may, of course, be more adept than me.

    The viewfinder is OK in bright sunlight (that's English bright sunlight - haven't tried in really bright areas yet) though the colours are a bit inaccurate.

  3. #3
    pac72
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    Re: G1 manual focusing in tele range

    Thanks for the feedback Cap'n ...

    Too bad the focus assist zoomed view isn't "instant access"
    It is strange that Panasonic had not implement in the same way AF confirm usually works on SLR (just half press to check AF confirm). As I understand on the G1 it works the opposite way: you have to activate focus assist ("zoomed view") with a button, and half pressing revert back to "normal" view .

  4. #4
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    Re: G1 manual focusing in tele range

    I know people don't like the two button press but I haven't heard of a dslr that works any better. I have the focus confirm light on the D700 and you can move the focus ring enough that the image in the viewfinder doesn't look quite as sharp but the camera still confirms focus. With the G1 and magnified view, I can get dead on even at F1 and a close distance. When I was shooting at 400mm (45-200 lens) I could precisely focus on the city buildings from a couple of miles away across the Golden Gate bridge.

    Close focus example posted in Canon forum under the current travel kit thread.
    San Francisco shots in the fun with 4/3 image thread.

  5. #5
    pac72
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    Re: G1 manual focusing in tele range

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    I know people don't like the two button press but I haven't heard of a dslr that works any better. I have the focus confirm light on the D700 and you can move the focus ring enough that the image in the viewfinder doesn't look quite as sharp but the camera still confirms focus.
    I mean, in terms of ergonomy, triggering the "assistance mode" (whether it be zoomed view or AF confirm) using half press seems more logical to me than how it is implemented currently on the G1. Moreover, how does it work on the G1 after the first shot to get back to the magnified view if you happen to need another shot in the same action?
    I agree that a DSLR "AF confirm" may not always be "dead on" (or always be what we want to actually focus), but when going fast it can be helpful. For example, after shooting a surfer, I usually quickly get back to the "surfers pack" waiting outside and AF confirm is nice when manual focusing in hurry a telelens to quickly get a good enough "starting point" from which to tune up.

    My point was that checking focus is sometimes needed often, and in rapid sequences (even without considering burst mode, lets say to shoot 3-4 shots in a 20 seconds lapse)

    With the G1 and magnified view, I can get dead on even at F1 and a close distance. When I was shooting at 400mm (45-200 lens) I could precisely focus on the city buildings from a couple of miles away across the Golden Gate bridge.
    I saw your shot of the Golden Gate bridge, beautiful and original perspective! I have no doubt that the EVF and zoomed view on the G1 enable ultra accurate manual focus. My concern is this ergonomic issue regarding repeated activation of focus assistance while tracking an action.

  6. #6
    Senior Member petermcwerner's Avatar
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    Re: G1 manual focusing in tele range

    Quote Originally Posted by cap'n bill View Post
    Focus assist zoom is very effective but not particularly quick. I have also used it with 300mm tele and 500mm mirror lenses for wildlife. ... On a static subject focus can be critically precise
    A shoulder brace can be helpful, although it does not help to activate the magnified view. With a long tele like in the following example I find that precise focus can be achieved without the magnifier




    Tair 300mm/4.5 with Shoulder Brace on the G1 - 1/500 @ f/4.5 ISO = 100 - Developed in Raw Therapee





    Same view with the 18mm Speed Panchro



    Photosnaiper with Tair 300mm/4.5 on the G1



    The distance is set with the round knob below the front end of the lens and makes focusing on the shoulder brace quite comfortable. The aperture is set in a windown at the near end of the lens, close to the red focus preview button. The loose cable end on the bottom right is for the electrical connection between the lens and the Zenit camera to automatically close the diaphragm before activating the shutter. This feature is of course not operational on the G1, nor is the trigger release of the Photosnaiper. On the G1 the shutter must be released with the camera shutter release.
    Peter Werner
    Leica M8, R9+DMR & Digilux 2; Nikon D700; Panasonic FX01, FX150 & G1; Samsung TL350 (WB 2000)

  7. #7
    ekso
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    Re: G1 manual focusing in tele range

    Wow. Love the FotoSnaiper....just wondering how come I've not seen it in a 007 movie as yet.
    Is it comfortable ?

  8. #8
    Ranger 9
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    Re: G1 manual focusing in tele range

    Quote Originally Posted by pac72 View Post
    I mean, in terms of ergonomy, triggering the "assistance mode" (whether it be zoomed view or AF confirm) using half press seems more logical to me than how it is implemented currently on the G1.
    The way Panasonic implemented it is very convenient when you're using lenses designed for the camera. Assuming you've enabled the MF-assist custom function, all you have to do is start to turn the manual focus ring on the lens, and the magnified view appears immediately. Half-press the shutter button when you want to return to full view for composing. Slick.

    The inconvenient two-button process (or the "Trollhunter thumb roll" if you have sufficient dexterity) that we all complain about mostly affects the use of third-party adapters and non-Micro Four Thirds lenses.

    Yeah, I wish this process were more convenient -- but in all fairness, it's hard to blame Panasonic for emphasizing ease-of-use for their supported lenses at the expense of unsupported ones, rather than vice-versa.

  9. #9
    Ranger 9
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    Re: G1 manual focusing in tele range

    Quote Originally Posted by petermcwerner View Post
    The loose cable end on the bottom right is for the electrical connection between the lens and the Zenit camera to automatically close the diaphragm before activating the shutter. This feature is of course not operational on the G1, nor is the trigger release of the Photosnaiper. On the G1 the shutter must be released with the camera shutter release.
    If it's an electrical connection, surely there must be a way to adapt that cable so it would connect to the G1's remote control terminal, which is conveniently located on the camera's left "shoulder" just above it...? That would be pretty darn cool!

  10. #10
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    Re: G1 manual focusing in tele range

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post
    The way Panasonic implemented it is very convenient when you're using lenses designed for the camera. Assuming you've enabled the MF-assist custom function, all you have to do is start to turn the manual focus ring on the lens, and the magnified view appears immediately. Half-press the shutter button when you want to return to full view for composing. Slick..
    I'm sorry to disagree but I find it infuriating and have turned it off. The slightest touch on the focus ring and you are in high mag focus mode, have lost sight of the prime focus point of your picture and by the time you have sorted things out and recomposed he moment has passed.

    I like my cameras to do what I tell them, when I tell them. No more - no less.

    Like a Leica M6

  11. #11
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    Re: G1 manual focusing in tele range

    Quote Originally Posted by pac72 View Post
    Can I'm considering the G1 for shooting in the longer focal range (200-300mm, giving 400-600 equiv. with the half frame sensor), using MF lens.
    My longest lens setup is a Nikkor 180/2.8 AI fitted in front of an Olympus EC14 (1.4x teleconverter) for a 252 mm f/4 lens. EFL=504mm given a 2x crop factor approximation.

    Looking at all the people getting great shots with the G1 and MF lens, I'm wondering how effective it could be in the longer focal range, tracking moving targets. From what I read, there is a magnified view ("MF assist" feature).
    - is it effective at longer focal range, when panning ?
    - is it possible to quickly switch from normal/magnified view back and forth ?
    - how is comfortable the viewfinder in bright sunlight ? it is necessary to use some kind of hood or is it ok ?
    - effectiveness:
    A lot depends on the specific lens you're using. The 180/2.8AI has a relatively quick focusing helicoid but *any* EFL 500mm lens really really needs to be on a monopod at least ... and the 180/2.8 does NOT have a tripod mount. This renders it fairly limited in terms of being able to be handled effectively as it is a heavy and longish setup.

    The Oly 50-200 is a better lens to use at 200mm hand held or with monopod because of its sturdy tripod mount.

    - assist magnification
    Frankly, the assist magnification is almost useless at such high magnification views, hand-held, anyway. Consider: at 5x magnification, you're looking at an image which is simulated as being from an EFL 2,500mm lens ... even the *slightest* jiggling of your hands causes the view to jump around uncontrollably. Anchor the beast on a sturdy tripod and the two-button-push to enable magnification is easy, and with very delicate moves you can get superbly critical focus.

    I rarely use assist magnification with focal lengths over 100mm hand held, and have no trouble focusing the G1 manually with such lenses. With my Oly 50-200 lens, I turn off the auto-zooming as it's too easy to jump back and forth with it, gets in the way, unless I'm working on a tripod.

    - The eye level viewfinder is fine in bright sunlight. I occasionally need to shade my eyes just like I do with the optical viewfinder on my SLR cameras since I wear glasses.

  12. #12
    pac72
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    Re: G1 manual focusing in tele range

    Many thanks for sharing your experience!
    - I think I will go G1 (or maybe G1H, if it happen to be available "body only" without the 14-140) along with Zeiss Y/C and Canon FD adapters...

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