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Manual focus is the direct control of a camera/lens's focus by the photographer. This is generally accomplished by turning a focus ring which is mechanically coupled to the lens's focus, but some cameras without focus rings allow manual control over the autofocus motor.

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35
votes
5answers
10k views

Why don't DSLRs come equipped with “classic” focusing screens (split prism, etc)?

I have a hard time manual focusing my Canon EOS 350D. Compared to the few higher spec DSLRs that I played with, and that have a pentaprism, my Rebel's (pentamirror) viewfinder feels crammed and ...
34
votes
7answers
7k views

How can I get sharp manual focus despite poor eyesight?

I suffer from astigmatism. It's only mild, though I feel it's affecting what I'm seeing when looking through the viewfinder. Frequently, after shooting a photo with my Canon EOS 7D, I'll load it into ...
29
votes
6answers
1k views

When is manual focus better than autofocus?

We all know that autofocus is very convenient for everyday shooting, especially on cameras with tiny viewfinders that make manual focus difficult (like my Nikon d3000). However, just like the ...
26
votes
13answers
8k views

How does one get manual focus right with a fast-aperture lens?

I have got an old lens (f1.4) that I have to use only with manual focus on a DSLR. Well, it is difficult for me to get the subject on focus. Although on focus according to the viewfinder, the actual ...
21
votes
4answers
1k views

Disadvantages of split-prism focusing screens?

I'm considering getting a microprism focusing screen for my Nikon d3000 (specifically, the KatzEye). Hopefully this will help tremendously with manual focusing, but I suspect there must be some ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

Can manual focus be faster than autofocus?

Recently I've gotten into street photography, and I've noticed there are some situations where it is technically impossible to autofocus, to be precise, when you have moving objects and don't want to ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Why am I allowed to turn my focusing ring beyond infinity?

Is there a good reason why I can turn the focusing ring on my lenses beyond infinity mark on focusing scale? Following recent questions here and here, it sounds like a real usability issue. ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

When would one need manual focus override?

In lens reviews, ability to override auto-focus manually is often referred to as a good (and important) feature. I have rarely, if ever used that feature, so I feel I might be missing out on an ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I get better focus when a subject is moving towards or away from the camera?

When shooting events or action photos, engaging people, I often find that frontal (or rear) perspective may be very expressive, but my problem is focusing when the subject moves towards the camera (or ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Why buy an expensive manual focus lens?

What are the benefits of (expensive brand new) manual focus lenses? Why did you, for example, buy a manual focus Carl Zeiss 85/1.4 rather than an auto-focus Nikon 85/1.4? I'm not concerned with ...
13
votes
7answers
1k views

How can I improve focus using both manual and auto on a candle flame?

I got my new tripod and 50mm F/1.4 sigma on my Nikon D7000 and was testing it out doing some shots of a flame on a candle. The below image is the sharpest i was able to produce. In review of my 50+ ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

How do you manually focus accurately without a focusing screen?

I have a Canon 1000D and it doesn't come with a focusing screen. Sometimes my camera cannot focus in low-light. I'd like to manually focus, but without a focusing screen I haven't been able to do it ...
11
votes
6answers
7k views

How can I get everything in focus?

I have a Canon 550D with 70-200 f4 and 50mm prime lenses. Although the camera has built-in 9 focal points, I sometimes face a strange problem. Here's a sample photo: In reference to the above pic, ...
11
votes
4answers
5k views

How will old M42 lenses work on a Nikon camera?

I wanted to get some cheap old lenses to use on my Nikon DX DSLR (D3100). However, Nikon has one of the greatest flange distances of all manufacturers, which means that most lenses I can buy (M42 ...
9
votes
7answers
437 views

Focusing an entry-level DSLR

I like really really sharp photos. Even with a prime lens, I seem to be able to do noticeably better with my 450D by manually focusing using live view at maximum zoom than by using auto focus (even ...
9
votes
7answers
2k views

Is using live view for accurate manual focusing really better?

Commonly I hear of landscape photographer who rely on live view to focus now. The process I use is: Tripod mount the camera Switch lens to manual focus Enter Live View Live View zoom to maximum ...
9
votes
2answers
782 views

What is manual-priority autofocus?

I have been looking at the Nikon AF-S 35mm f1.8 lens and it has two focus settings: Manual Focus Manual-Priority Autofocus What is "manual-priority autofocus"?
8
votes
4answers
760 views

Which is better - autofocus and recompose vs. manual focus?

In some occasions autofocus doesn't focus what I intend it to. What is the better option - to use autofocus, focus what I want and recompose, or use manual focus in that situation?
8
votes
5answers
426 views

Are there DSLR lenses that don't allow for manual focus?

I am looking into getting a Nikon soon (either a D3100 or a D5100). One of the reasons that I am upgrading from a point and shoot is because I want to have more control over the camera's functions. In ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the best auto-focus mode to use for bird photography?

Consider the image below: How would the shot be focused here? Using Auto-focus or manual? If there was a cluttered background, will auto focus detect the small bird and sharply focus on it?If manual ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Easier ways to pre focus a distance on a lens without manual focusing meter?

In applying zone focus(focusing at particular distance in advance, before the subject comes in) to shoot a bike that will come into frame, how do I correctly focus at a particular distance with a lens ...
8
votes
3answers
325 views

Which setup should I choose for taking pictures of Trick-or-Treaters tonight?

I've dug up my dad's old Pentax K1000 SE, along with his old lenses, and picked up some 400 film. I'm wondering which of these lenses I should go with to get the best shots tonight (outdoors, no ...
7
votes
5answers
417 views

In which situation should you not use the manual focus?

Couple of weeks back, I discovered the power of manual focus, and now for each and every shot, I use manual focus! Are there some situations where manual focus doesn't make much sense and we should ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does Zeiss manufacture only manual focus lenses?

I've heard that Zeiss's quality is very good/great but I'm also curious if it has anything to do with the "manual focus only". I have read this question but it only partly addresses my question. Is ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I accurately focus manually on an APS-C DSLR?

My favorite portrait lens is the Nikon 50mm 1.4G. I love the light and what it is capable of. My problem with it is that on my D90 the AF is sometimes horribly slow, and in many cases (mainly low ...
7
votes
4answers
343 views

How much does a drop in temperature affect focus?

In an answer to question "What lens characteristics are important in astrophotography?" there was mentioned "If the temperature changes drastically, you may need to refocus as different materials in ...
7
votes
5answers
506 views

Precise focus in self-portraiture

I've been trying to take some self-portraits, but I often have to struggle with the auto/manual focus. I don't miss by a lot, but I really want sharp focus in the eyes. I'm using a 50mm/1.8 around ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

How should I chose a manual focusing screen for my Pentax K10D?

I am considering buying a split focusing screen, replacing the original one. I would like to use some split/microprism screen to ease the focusing of the manual lenses. I own both kit lenses (18-55, ...
6
votes
3answers
499 views

Do still photographers use follow focus, as filmmakers do?

Is a follow focus system beneficial to photographers in low light or other situations? Almost all professional filmmakers use a similar system to manually focus lenses, but I am not aware of ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How does a fly-by-wire focusing lens work?

I have learnt that fly-by-wire focusing is an electrical manual focusing system. But how does this focusing method work? How do you manually focus with fly-by-wire? What is the scope of this ...
6
votes
3answers
872 views

Nikon D50 and Nikkor AI manual focus lens

I have a D50 and I would like to use my manual focus lens (a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AI) from my analog SLR. It fits on the mount and all seems to be good, but the status on the LED display blinks F - - ...
6
votes
2answers
937 views

What is the relation between shutter speed and exposure compensation in aperture priority?

I was using a manual focus lens with canon 600D and notice something in aperture priority mode. When I was applying the exposure compensation of -2EV, I had a shutter speed of 1/20 sec and when the ...
6
votes
1answer
460 views

Nikon focus confirmation with manual lenses

I've recently purchased a Nikon D600 and would like to use my old Minolta Rokkor 50mm f/1.4 on it. However I am quite confused as to the functions of a "chipped adapter". While I know that with Canon ...
6
votes
1answer
454 views

Is there a way to turn off the focus point display on a D7000 when a manual lens is mounted?

I recently got a Katzeye focusing screen for my D7000. Since my favorite lenses are all manual focus, I'm really enjoying this. Unfortunately, my D7000 helpfully puts a focus point on the focusing ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Should I buy a adapter ring with or without AF confirm?

I would like to use my grandfather’s Voigtländer Bessamatic lenses (DKL mount) on my Canon EOS 600D. I looked for adapter rings and basically found two different types: Simple ones without any ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I find infinity focus on a kit lens with no markers?

I have a kit lens which has no markers. What would be a recommended way to find infinity focus on this lens? I plan to shoot objects at night -- not necessarily stars or the moon. So, adjusting the ...
5
votes
3answers
479 views

In film cameras with film advance levers, what happens if I don't crank the lever all the way?

In film cameras with film advance levers, what happens if I don't crank the lever all the way? Will the lever 'remember' the last position it was at and keep the shutter button locked until I crank it ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How to I enable focus indication when focusing manually?

I've read that it is possible to have a lamp lit up when your picture is in focus when you are focussing manually. How do I enable this feature on a Canon 5D MkII?
4
votes
1answer
582 views

Why do I keep getting out of focus shots on manual focus?

I have a Nikon D3300. I recently switched over into complete manual mode (on the camera) with manual focus (on the lens). I find that the camera does not focus at all. All I get is out-of-focus shots. ...
4
votes
2answers
176 views

Is it possible to DIY adjust the focus ring distance scale of a lens?

I have a particular lens in mind, but is it generally possible to do this adjustment? Of course there are a lot of lenses that don't have any distance scale to begin with. Many lenses have the scale ...
4
votes
1answer
230 views

Image blurry when split image is aligned in the focusing screen

I just bought a used Vivitar V3800N with a Vivitar 50mm 1.7 lens for an intro photography course. I'm coming from a fully-automatic D60, so this fully-manual camera feels really alien to me. I'm ...
4
votes
1answer
728 views

How to manual focus Nikon Coolscan 4000 using Vuescan?

How to be sure that the scanner (Nikon Coolscan 4000) focuses correctly and if not, how can I manually focus it using Vuescan?
4
votes
1answer
712 views

What might cause stuck focus on a manual lens?

So, today I dropped my ME Super. When I picked it up I realized that the focus ring of the 50mm f2 lens attached didnt turn. My question is, what could cause this? Could it be that the threads inside ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Does my SLR have an indicator to help me use manual focus quickly and accurately?

I have Nikon D5000 which lacks in-body focus motor. I also have imperfect vision. When trying to manual-focus, results are not perfect. I could save a fortune by buying AF rather than AF-S lenses. ...
3
votes
3answers
171 views

Is there any difference between using a full manual lens for Nikon F-mount or using lens for another mount (say m42) with an F-mount adapter?

I'm looking for a very cheap (~$50), fast (large aperture), full manual (non-CPU) lens for my Nikon D7000. After searching on eBay, I found that the same lenses (e.g. Vivitar 135mm f/2.8) are cheaper ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What happens to a lens when you turn the focus ring during AF mode?

What happens to a lens when you turn the focus ring during AF mode? I have read that this causes damage, or can cause damage. But what is actually happening? I've done this recently with my Canon EF ...
3
votes
3answers
932 views

Can I use a Fuji HS30 as a training camera before buying a real dslr camera?

I am thinking about buying a Fuji HS30 to my wife, so she can start shooting on full manual, before investing in a dslr and some lenses. Do focus ring and zoom ring in Fuji HS30 behave like a dslr ...
3
votes
4answers
903 views

Can different metering modes affect sharpness for a m42 prime lens?

Recently, I got some old m42 prime lens from Ebay and started playing with them with my Canon T3i/600d. However, it's difficult to get sharp pictures with these manual focus lens as there is no AF ...
3
votes
6answers
6k views

How to manually focus Nikon d5100 at very low light conditions?

Suppose I have to short in very low light so I have to set up shoter speed to 10-20 sec. Live view and autofocus doesn't work in this case and view finder give you a little help since it is to dark. ...
3
votes
1answer
374 views

How can a teleconverter allow manual focus lenses to autofocus?

I've found that some discontinued teleconverters, such as the Pentax F 1.7x AF Adapter and Nikon TC16A, enable autofocus with manual focus lenses. How is this possible? Does this system have any ...