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Thread: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

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    Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    I have a 35 ASPH Cron on my A7RII and I am really, really struggling with nailing focus. If I'm on a tripod I am totally fine but I am struggling with handheld images.

    I have peaking set to low, yellow, and use the C2 to zoom and zoom again. I feel like the throw of the Leica glass is so short I just cant dial that exact focus into complete sharpness. I find focusing the Cron close to be a breeze, but from say 20ft to infinity, its a low percentage of keepers.

    Anyone else finding manual focus on Leica glass tough, any suggestions / tips would be greatly appreciated.

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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    I just realized, as the camera is fairly new to me, that I did not have the stabilization set to my focal length. I've added that as a custom button feature.

    I'll have to post some images to show what I am seeing.

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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    I can't say that I can relate but also make sure you have the EVF resolution set to high. I think it's set to normal as a default but that will help greatly I believe. In either case I found that it was pretty easy to manually focus and I'm as quick with it as I was with my M's.
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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    It happens to me too. Most of my work is on a tripod and I use focus magnification which I have assigned to a button. In handheld situation I rather use an autofocus lens, in my case I have 2 canon lenses with autofocus adapter.
    Having a Cron lens I guess you just want to use that beauty. Try assigning focus magnification to an easy to access button and try getting use to it.

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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Another trick is to change to B&W - the raws will be in color. The red/yellow peaking will now be more discernible.
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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by ken_vs_ryu View Post
    Another trick is to change to B&W - the raws will be in color. The red/yellow peaking will now be more discernible.

    First, best username on any photo forum I've ever been a part of.

    Secondly, I'll set it to Bw today and continue testing.

    I'm starting to realize the Cron probably isn't the best lens for this sensor.

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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by ken_vs_ryu View Post
    Another trick is to change to B&W - the raws will be in color. The red/yellow peaking will now be more discernible.
    And dial up sharpness/contrast as well.

    I find focus peaking works better at medium level.

    But I don't trust focus peaking with most lenses (some go in/out of focus rapidly and i can be fairly accurate with focus peaking by going back and forth to find the actual peak).

    I punch in via magnification to verify focus on most shots.

    I wish the Sonys had a touchscreen. MF is so, so easy on Panasonic bodies. You select a focus point, double tap and you're zoomed in exactly where you want to be. Much, much faster MF workflow than Sony.

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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by DanielDuarte View Post

    I'm starting to realize the Cron probably isn't the best lens for this sensor.
    The Summarit (Asph) 35/2.5 is better.

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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    There is a simple solution, the TechArt Pro LM-EA7 autofocus adapter.
    Works very well for me - although I consider it to be in alpha or beta development stage!


    A7r2 + LM-EA7 adapter + 50f1.4 Summilux-M ASPH. in autofocus mode @ f/1.4.




    100% resolution crop




    Right now there seems to be a several months waiting period when ordering the adapter. It seems in high demand - and rightly so!


    Here is a heavily cropped shot with the WATE.

    With best regards, K-H.
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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    A couple shots with AA 75/2, also with AF handheld @ f/2.



    With best regards, K-H.

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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Where this lens works for me... I like this image.


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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    I think I've found part of the problem... expectations.

    For the past 7-8 years I shot film exclusively. Mainly 8x10 and 4x5.

    It's only recently I came to digital and I just have to stop zooming in and peeping. I've set myself up to fail simply based on what was 'normal' resolutions for my workflow.

    I've had a storm of systems and testing, it's been stressful.

    I went A7RII to a D810 to a 645Z. The Z broke 21 days into ownership, sent it back. Picked up an H5D-50C but as amazing as it was I couldn't sleep at night with a 20K tool next to my bed. It ate at me.

    Now I'm back at the A7RII after a nice discount through school.

    I set the EVF to BW, contrast and sharpness +3, peaking medium and yellow. It works, the peaking actually comes in a little when I'm magnified in. Uploaded and reviewed the files, sharp, but not like when I'm scanning sheet film, which makes complete sense.

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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Sharpness at +3 √, Contrast -3, no?
    With best regards, K-H.
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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Have you tried turning off peaking?

    I set my display to standard (not high resolution) and turn-off peaking. Look for the moire shimmer in the EVF. That little shimmer is deadly accurate - much more so than peaking. The more micro contrast the lens resolves, the easier the shimmer is to see.

    With most lenses, even something like the C-Sonnar 1.5, I can get accurate focus.
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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by DanielDuarte View Post
    I have a 35 ASPH Cron on my A7RII and I am really, really struggling with nailing focus. If I'm on a tripod I am totally fine but I am struggling with handheld images.

    I have peaking set to low, yellow, and use the C2 to zoom and zoom again. I feel like the throw of the Leica glass is so short I just cant dial that exact focus into complete sharpness. I find focusing the Cron close to be a breeze, but from say 20ft to infinity, its a low percentage of keepers.

    Anyone else finding manual focus on Leica glass tough, any suggestions / tips would be greatly appreciated.
    My main lens, the one I use for probably 85% of my personal as well as paid work, is a Leica 35mm pre ASPH type III 'Cron on my a7R & a7S Sony bodies. Mine was made in 1974 or 1975 as I recall. I wouldn't trade my 'Cron for a whole kit of new autofocus Sony glass. Not that there is anything wrong with the Sony glass, I own the 55 f/1.8 myself, but my tiny 'Cron has positively stunning resolving power and such a wonderful drawing signature I couldn't possibly bring myself to replace it with a new autofocus lens.

    My observation would be you're so used to working with a tripod shooting those large format view cams, you haven't developed a good hand held focus technique yet

    I'd suggest you may want to learn to lean. Here is how I do it. First I set a reasonably close hyper-focal distance for the f stop I am using and the distance to my subject. Next, I can lean in or out about a foot to either direction until I see perfect focus OR the yellow dancing ants of focus assist. Once I set my hyper focus distance, I take my hand away from the focus tab on the lens so I don't inadvertently move it, but I do still use both hands on the camera. I know, it sounds so simplistic but I rarely miss nailing focus using this technique, and I shoot mostly people moving around and about

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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by k-hawinkler View Post
    There is a simple solution, the TechArt Pro LM-EA7 autofocus adapter.
    Works very well for me - although I consider it to be in alpha or beta development stage!


    A7r2 + LM-EA7 adapter + 50f1.4 Summilux-M ASPH. in autofocus mode @ f/1.4.




    100% resolution crop




    Right now there seems to be a several months waiting period when ordering the adapter. It seems in high demand - and rightly so!


    Here is a heavily cropped shot with the WATE.

    K-H, how fast is the autofocus speed? I mean, say in comparison to one of your autofocus Sony lenses? I've heard from another friend this adapter works but is pretty slow and very expensive. Love to hear your thoughts on it.
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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Jones View Post
    K-H, how fast is the autofocus speed? I mean, say in comparison to one of your autofocus Sony lenses? I've heard from another friend this adapter works but is pretty slow and very expensive. Love to hear your thoughts on it.
    Look at this thread entitled "autofocus with anything" where the performance of this adapter is discussed, including by Karl : http://www.getdpi.com/forum/sony/573...-anything.html
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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Jones View Post
    K-H, how fast is the autofocus speed? I mean, say in comparison to one of your autofocus Sony lenses? I've heard from another friend this adapter works but is pretty slow and very expensive. Love to hear your thoughts on it.
    Thanks Chuck. Great question with a complex answer.

    In post #15 above you state using your a7R & a7S cameras.
    Well this adapter is really built and optimized for the A7 II and A7r II (A7r2 is my short form).
    Frankly, as expected, it sucks on my A7r but shines on my A7r2.
    It really requires a camera with PDAF not just CDAF.

    I have PDAF enabled on my A7r2 and use the TechArt PRO LM-EA7 autofocus adapter primarily on fast lenses wide open and with AF-C.
    If the camera is properly set up one can easily switch from AF to MF and back.
    One also can focus wide open and then stop down with proper metering.

    Focus works best with contrasty subjects, even in available light or aperture stopped down a bit.
    Then focusing can be exceedingly fast.
    For non-contrasty subjects even plenty of light may not work in my experience.
    Then the focusing is prone to hunt and may not achieve focus at all.
    All my cameras are set to fire only when focus is achieved, whether in AF-S or AF-C.

    It also depends on the lenses one uses.
    Typical standard to WA lenses do not require manual pre-focusing as the reach of the adapter motor (helicoid function) is large enough.
    Simply set the M lens focus to infinity.
    Tele lenses may require rough manual pre-focusing so that the AF adapter can finish focusing within its reach.
    Special lenses like a Summilux with a floating element FLE also need manual pre-focusing so that the FLE is in the correct position.
    The 35 mm lens should have no problems at all.

    In my experience, if the adapter achieves focus at all, it really nails it.

    In the above Hummingbird picture, taken with an FLE lens, I had manually pre-focused on the feeder containing the sugar water.
    When the Hummingbird hovered I put Flexible Spot S focus on the bird and fired.
    Focus had to happen very fast before the bird moved on or I would not have gotten a picture.

    All in all, considering the price of a Sony camera and a Leica lens, the $349 for the adapter seems justified IMHO.

    Let me finish with an AF shot with the Voigtländer 15/4.5 III VM mount.

    With best regards, K-H.
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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by DanielDuarte View Post
    I think I've found part of the problem... expectations.

    For the past 7-8 years I shot film exclusively. Mainly 8x10 and 4x5.

    It's only recently I came to digital and I just have to stop zooming in and peeping. I've set myself up to fail simply based on what was 'normal' resolutions for my workflow.

    I've had a storm of systems and testing, it's been stressful.

    I went A7RII to a D810 to a 645Z. The Z broke 21 days into ownership, sent it back. Picked up an H5D-50C but as amazing as it was I couldn't sleep at night with a 20K tool next to my bed. It ate at me.

    Now I'm back at the A7RII after a nice discount through school.

    I set the EVF to BW, contrast and sharpness +3, peaking medium and yellow. It works, the peaking actually comes in a little when I'm magnified in. Uploaded and reviewed the files, sharp, but not like when I'm scanning sheet film, which makes complete sense.
    Most here already know, but you may or may not: Stock A7x (all of them) have unusually thick cover glass over the sensor. They shoot native lenses well (assuming you have a good copy-not a given), but many RF lenses do not shoot as designed. 35 cron ASPH is basically terrible as is ZM 35/2 and many others. Only three I know are "OK" on the stock A7x: Leica FLE, CV 35/1.4 and CV 35/1.2.

    For about 400USD you can have the thick covers removed and the camera will shoot RF glass nearly or totally as well as the M240 (depending on the lens). Kolari is the outfit with the most experience with "thin filters". V2 is the best, I think.

    As to MF with the Sonys: I use a combo of peaking and mag. The wider you go the harder it is, despite increased DOF, because under mag the noise gets to be an issue. Longer lenses this is not such an issue: 50 +. Peaking works once you practice alot, but it is very ugly and effects the comp. I often turn it off and one for that reason. Worst is the lack of an accurate infinity stop, which means you need a very fine focus ALWAYS. A real pain for any landscape work, if you have used a system, like the M, which has very good infinity stops.

    My Leica M9 is more reliable to MF than my A7.mod is all conditions. Obviously it loves all those RF lenses too But the A7 gets plenty of work beside it.

    I would recommend you do not use image stabilization anywhere you are trying to get "ultimate sharpness". If you can use appropriate shutter for your FL, you are better off.

    If you are looking for film-like handling, the Leica Ms are much, MUCH, closer than any of the machines you mention. For film like output (kodachrome), the M9 is unequalled, though many files can be edited from the other models to appear similar, often.

    All that said, in the right hands with a good lens, the A7r2 is very impressive.

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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post

    I would recommend you do not use image stabilization anywhere you are trying to get "ultimate sharpness". If you can use appropriate shutter for your FL, you are better off.
    AFAIK, he sold the camera.

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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
    Stock A7x (all of them) have unusually thick cover glass over the sensor.
    Really? I think it's the other way around.
    Leica was forced to use unusually thin cover glass to make their "film" M lenses work on digital.
    With best regards, K-H.
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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by k-hawinkler View Post
    Really? I think it's the other way around.
    Leica was forced to use unusually thin cover glass to make their "film" M lenses work on digital.
    Sorry wrong. Nikon and Canon both have covers almost the same as the M240, very close. 1.0-1.2 mm. Sony is 1.9.

    All of them are trying to make sure the "film" lenses work well, why on earth not?

    No FF digital camera has sensor covers so thick as Sony.

    Now, the M43 cameras, most all of them do

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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
    Sorry wrong. Nikon and Canon both have covers almost the same as the M240, very close. 1.0-1.2 mm. Sony is 1.9.

    All of them are trying to make sure the "film" lenses work well, why on earth not?

    No FF digital camera has sensor covers so thick as Sony.
    You are wrong!

    I still have the sensors and their toppings from D70, D200, D40X, D80. It is way more than 2.5mm!

    Sony's including the cover glass is 2.5mm (real physical measures) or less (NEX-5N).
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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    You are wrong!

    I still have the sensors and their toppings from D70, D200, D40X, D80. It is way more than 2.5mm!

    Sony's including the cover glass is 2.5mm (real physical measures) or less (NEX-5N).
    Yeah... Vivek you are correct and you were the first that I know of that measured the sensor thickness.

    The sensor cover glass thickness is really only an "issue" with SOME rangefinder glass. SLR lenses generally doesn't suffer from "corner smearing" or CA to the level of RF lenses (if at all)...

    This subject has been beat to death and there's a sticky thread for using M-mount lenses on FE cameras though.
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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Tre, Canon and Nikon have dust shakers that do not break that easily. They themselves are at least 1mm thick. Then there is the UV-IR cut and AA filter stack in addition to the permanent cover glass on the sensor.

    It plain ridiculous to be claiming 1.2mm thick glass for Canikon.
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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Tre, Canon and Nikon have dust shakers that do not break that easily. They themselves are at least 1mm thick. Then there is the UV-IR cut and AA filter stack in addition to the permanent cover glass on the sensor.

    It plain ridiculous to be claiming 1.2mm thick glass for Canikon.
    Yeah... I know. Micro 4/3 does as well... At least the Panasonic bodies have dust shakers.
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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    I never have to clean the E-M1/5/5.2 sensors.
    So there must be a sensor cleaning mechanism as well, no?
    With best regards, K-H.
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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by k-hawinkler View Post
    I never have to clean the E-M1/5/5.2 sensors.
    So there must be a sensor cleaning mechanism as well, no?
    Possibly. I don't own any Olympus cameras. One bad experience was enough for me to not buy another despite other people's admiration of them.
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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    Possibly. I don't own any Olympus cameras. One bad experience was enough for me to not buy another despite other people's admiration of them.
    I've had bad experiences with M9, Chrom, and 240. But it is hard to resist the M11 which hopefully with Panasonic collaboration, Leica can give us the least quirky M.

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    Re: Really, Really Struggling with Focusing Manually - A7RII

    Quote Originally Posted by teeraash View Post
    I've had bad experiences with M9, Chrom, and 240. But it is hard to resist the M11 which hopefully with Panasonic collaboration, Leica can give us the least quirky M.
    I actually had great experiences with both M9's that I owned but I sold them and the lenses about 6 months after buying the first A7 and A7R bodies. I'm pretty firmly settled into the FE system until or unless I go into Medium Format someday. No need to invest into a different 35mm based system as it'll only give the possibility of marginal improvements.

    The SL seems pretty nice and 3 or 4 years ago I would've bought one and maybe never looked very hard at Sony cameras. Alas, reality can be harder or at least more challenging than speculation.
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