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Manual focusing and the D850 viewfinder - is it better?

Howdo,

After a little while fruitlessly trying to locate a D850 near me to find out for myself, I will humbly ask here.

My experience with focusing manual lenses (i.e., Zeiss ZFs) on Nikon DSLR's has not been pleasant due to the dreadfully dark, diffuse, AF oriented viewfinder. However, I have heard that the D850 has been improved in this regard. So, how easy is it to focus manual lenses with the D850 viewfinder when it's not bright and sunny?

(Back screen focus peaking ignored, cos' reasons).

Many thanks.
Duff
 

Jack

Sr. Administrator
Staff member
Focus peaking through the EVF of the Z7 is a Godsend for manual-focus lenses. Even has a magnified view option for really precise lock, and then 3 different base sensitivities that allow for fast to more accurate manual focus at full frame view. Also has multiple peaking color choices, I prefer yellow, but YMMV. Your F-mount lenses will also work superbly through the FTZ adapter. The downside is regular AF mode may be slower, especially with longer glass, than directly mounting to the D850.

Just sayin...
 
I am happy with the D850. I shoot often in low light usng Leica R and Zeiss lenses and have never found it to be an issue.
Thanks Jeff. That's good to know. :)

I'd hate to lose the autofocus ability of the D850 when using AF lenses, as that's an important factor when I'm photographing wildlife (birds in particuar).


Focus peaking through the EVF of the Z7 is a Godsend for manual-focus lenses. Even has a magnified view option for really precise lock, and then 3 different base sensitivities that allow for fast to more accurate manual focus at full frame view. Also has multiple peaking color choices, I prefer yellow, but YMMV. Your F-mount lenses will also work superbly through the FTZ adapter. The downside is regular AF mode may be slower, especially with longer glass, than directly mounting to the D850.

Just sayin...
Thanks Jack. :)

Hah! You've touched upon my dilemma. Do I go for the Z7 with EVF and focus peaking (great for my ZFs), but slower and less reliable autofocus (not so great for my Nikon long lenses for wildlife), or the D850 without EVF focus peaking, but with the more reliable autofocus. :unsure: . The alternative thread title could have been "Autofocus and the Z7 - is it better?", but I know the answer to this one :giggle:

So far the D850 has the edge. Very tempted by the Z7 though.


Cheers,
Duff (who, if he had the funds, would have a D850, D6, D500, Z7, and a S3, with a S [typ 007] for back-up, or maybe for when he needs smaller file sizes)
 

Jack

Sr. Administrator
Staff member
Duff,

Totally get it. In a perfect world, I'd have a D850 and a couple fast teles, the Z7 and the lenses I have, and then probably a Fuji GFX100 with a trio of primes. But for my needs, the Z7 actually covers the other 2 "wants" pretty well -- not as perfectly, but being honest with myself, certainly good enough for the amount I'd actually use the others :)
 
Duff,

Totally get it. In a perfect world, I'd have a D850 and a couple fast teles, the Z7 and the lenses I have, and then probably a Fuji GFX100 with a trio of primes. But for my needs, the Z7 actually covers the other 2 "wants" pretty well -- not as perfectly, but being honest with myself, certainly good enough for the amount I'd actually use the others :)
Exactly :). It's a matter of making the best of what's available, for what you need, for as little outlay as possible. That, in itself, is an art form (or something akin to it). ;)

Cheers,
Duff.
 

glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
II have tried and used most of these combinations . For several years I used the D800/D810 and finally the D850 with both manual Leica R /Zeiss And AF Nikkors . The worst thing about the D8xx bodies was my ability to see a sharp focus point . I have excellent eye site but nailing focus with an 80/1.45 wide open is really difficult . If you can stop down to F2.8 its much more workable . I often used the 100/2.8 APO in good light and it worked great . Wide angles were pretty impossible because of the larger DOF makes focusing much harder . I would just shoot at f5.6 and that was OK for most .

With AF lenses like the Nikkor 105/1.4 AF its hard to beat having one of the very best AF systems available (close to the D5 which is the best I ve used ). If I wanted /needed to use lenses longer than 200MM ..I would go with the AF Nikkors every time .

Now I use a Leica SL2 for all but over 300MM . The ability to use both manual focus R lenses and the new Leica L lenses is the very best . With manual focus /magnified view I could focus on an eye lash at 10 feet with a 50/1.4 R and could nearly match the hit ratio of an SL AF lens.

Sticking with Nikon gear I would go with a Z7 as the all around choice for both manual and AF lenses.
 
II have tried and used most of these combinations . For several years I used the D800/D810 and finally the D850 with both manual Leica R /Zeiss And AF Nikkors . The worst thing about the D8xx bodies was my ability to see a sharp focus point . I have excellent eye site but nailing focus with an 80/1.45 wide open is really difficult . If you can stop down to F2.8 its much more workable . I often used the 100/2.8 APO in good light and it worked great . Wide angles were pretty impossible because of the larger DOF makes focusing much harder . I would just shoot at f5.6 and that was OK for most .

With AF lenses like the Nikkor 105/1.4 AF its hard to beat having one of the very best AF systems available (close to the D5 which is the best I ve used ). If I wanted /needed to use lenses longer than 200MM ..I would go with the AF Nikkors every time .

Now I use a Leica SL2 for all but over 300MM . The ability to use both manual focus R lenses and the new Leica L lenses is the very best . With manual focus /magnified view I could focus on an eye lash at 10 feet with a 50/1.4 R and could nearly match the hit ratio of an SL AF lens.

Sticking with Nikon gear I would go with a Z7 as the all around choice for both manual and AF lenses.
Thanks for the feedback Roger :)

I certainly found nailing focus with older (Nikon) DX bodies a nightmare in certain light conditions, and I think that's the worst scenario. I have used the full-frame D700, but it wasn't much better. Talking to others off-site, there's seems to be a 50/50 concensus - some have no problem focusing with the D850, others do. I think it will be a case of waiting a while until I can get to borrow one. Sadly, that's not going to be any time soon :(

Maybe a Sony A7R II (plus high-end adapter) for the Zeiss, and a D500 for the AF Nikons (both together are the same price as a D850 or Z7). Erff..., the joy of going around in circles weighing up options 😉

Cheers,
Duff.
 
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