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Thread: At last! Successful Manual Focus!

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    At last! Successful Manual Focus!

    I've been working with my 5D ever since the body came out trying to get correct focus with Zeiss, Oly and Leica lenses. Hey, it's easy with wide angle and f/8 or f/11, but I could NOT get accurate focus on longer lenses shooting wide or near-wide open which is most of what I do. I also tried different screens, magnifiers, and focus confirm adapters which only lead to more disappointment. After selling all my lenses that were frustrating me, I've gone to MF with the Contax system and Phase One back. Son Minh Pham insisted I try the Hassy 110mm, insisting that I could do it. So today I tried. And it worked! I have used the MF equipment only a little bit so far, but it's like the first time I drove a Corvette--it's hard to stop giggling with pleasure. Let me know if this is too big, I'll downsize it.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: At last! Successful Manual Focus!

    Gorgeous!

  3. #3
    DougDolde
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    Re: At last! Successful Manual Focus!

    But why shoot a Hassy 110mm on a Contax 645 when you can use the legendary Contax 120mm Macro Planar?

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    Re: At last! Successful Manual Focus!

    Quote Originally Posted by DougDolde View Post
    But why shoot a Hassy 110mm on a Contax 645 when you can use the legendary Contax 120mm Macro Planar?
    f/2.0 vs f/4. Plus I'm told that the Contax requires lots of turning to focus, whereas the hassy focuses very quickly.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: At last! Successful Manual Focus!

    Quote Originally Posted by DougDolde View Post
    But why shoot a Hassy 110mm on a Contax 645 when you can use the legendary Contax 120mm Macro Planar?
    Totally different lenses Doug. The beauty of the 110 is using it wide open --- kind of like using a Cooke portrait at f5.6 on 4x5 versus using a 210 APO L at f22...
    Jack
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    Senior Member PSon's Avatar
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    Re: At last! Successful Manual Focus!

    Quote Originally Posted by DougDolde View Post
    But why shoot a Hassy 110mm on a Contax 645 when you can use the legendary Contax 120mm Macro Planar?
    There are several reasons as to why a macro lens were not built for portrait lens. I will go into detail if necessary. In addition, here are the other points to consider:

    1. The strong background light lead to flares and this is common to the following well known macro lens (Contax 645 Carl Zeiss Planar T* 4.0/120, Hasselblad Makro-Planar T* 4.0/120, Rollei Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar 4.0/120)

    2. Digital sensor is quite sensitive to flare prone lens. Keep in mind some of these lens were performing well in film day but on digital it is a different medium.

    3. Medium format digital back are best when used in low ISO. Thus, the fast lens are alternative way to keep the balance between high ISO signal/noise ratio and shutter speed especially when doing hand held photography.

    4. Finally it has to do with speed, and in medium format F2.0 is significantly faster than F4.0. It is like asking yourself why do people buy F1.0, F1.2, F1.4 lens and not F2.8 lens in the 135 mm format system? One of the essential reason why folks may choose a faster lens over a slower lens is to facilitate the focusing mechanics whether in auto focus or manual focus mode. In low light condition, F2.0 is significantly easier to focus than F4.0. The other significant reason as to why folks choose a faster lens over a slower lens is due to the image characteristic of a fast aperature lens and especially from lens that are capable of wide open sharpness. I believe this is one of the reason why Leica optics are so great and this Carl Zeiss Planar T* 2.0/110 FE is analogous in the medium format system.

    -Son
    Last edited by PSon; 1st January 2008 at 15:54.
    ALPA (MAX, STC, TC) | CAMBO (Actus DB2, WRS-AE) | CONTAX | HASSELBLAD | LEICA | DB (CFV-16, CFV-39, IQ180, IQ360, IQ3100, P45+) | Lens (Canon, Fujinon, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Rodenstock, Schneider, Zeiss)

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    Senior Member EH21's Avatar
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    Re: At last! Successful Manual Focus!

    Hi Tom,
    Nice image and I share your MF focusing challenges. I had a harder time with certain lenses than others. I shoot with the Rollei 6008 and have the 110mm f/2.0 in rollei mount. It's a great lens and is easier to hit focus than say my 80mm f/2.8 but surprisingly my 90mm apo macro f/4 is nearly as easy to focus even with two full stops less light. My experience tells me the macro lenses are easier to MF than others (with equal aperture) and this is still true with the Rollei. Perhaps others will chime in with their own experiences but I'll put forth two reasons why macro lenses are easier to focus - first they have more travel in the focus ring - especially for closer up subjects like your cat. Secondly they typically are optimized for closer subjects and are very sharp with good contrast at their widest aperture. So I wouldn't rule out that 120mm macro! But of course keep the 110mm, that's a beauty and already my favorite lens for the Rollei.
    Regards,
    Eric

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    Re: At last! Successful Manual Focus!

    hi tom, nice. are you using the standard screen on your contax or a different one made for manual focusing? i find it pretty ify with the normal screen when shooting a kid for example...

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    Re: At last! Successful Manual Focus!

    Quote Originally Posted by kipling View Post
    hi tom, nice. are you using the standard screen on your contax or a different one made for manual focusing? i find it pretty ify with the normal screen when shooting a kid for example...
    I may have been lucky, but both pets and children present the same problem as my cats are unlikely to sit still when I ask them.

    I'm using the standard screen. I made only a few shots but was pleased with my success rate.

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    Re: At last! Successful Manual Focus!

    Tom,
    That's a beautiful capture and congratulations on your new kit. Nailing the focus with the Hassy 110 wide open is not an easy thing given the razor thin DOF, but when you do the results (as here) are spectacular. Are you using the WLF with your Contax... if not you really should consider getting one.

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    Re: At last! Successful Manual Focus!

    Yes, indeed, I did use the WLF. There is no doubt in my mind that the magnifier makes this precise focusing possible.

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    Re: At last! Successful Manual Focus!

    Can't resist. Taken today, she only gave me one shot before jumping down from the window.

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