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I've just a Voigtlaender 35 mm / F 1.4 for my Olympus E-PL3 (using M-mount converter for Micro 4/3)

Since this lens only support manual focus, so I need to zoom 5x every time to check if my focus is correct with the LCD.

Are there any better tricks?

Or any settings I should use by default if I am using manual focus?

  • Different brands — and even models — have different tools for focus assist. I think this might work better as a more specific question about the actual camera you have rather than just being generic. – mattdm May 28 '14 at 22:10
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The Voigtländer Nokton 35/1.4 has a DoF scale on it, which you could also consider using. It's slide-rule technology to quickly set the hyperfocal distance. :) Set the aperture you're using to be under the infinity (∞) symbol and everything from the distance at the symmetric f-number to the one you're using to infinity will be focus [basically it's a fast and easy way to set hyperfocal distance]. It may be a little off for four-thirds vs. 135-format (full frame), but should be close enough for jazz so long as you're not using a very wide aperture or very near distances.

You can also scale focus by measuring or estimating the distance of your subject, and then using the scale to focus to that distance.

Most street shooters using manual lenses stop down to f/8, and then scale focus/pre-focus, rather than trying to focus on a moving subject.

There are reasons to get autofocusing native-mount lenses. :D

  • > It's slide-rule technology to quickly set the hyperfocal distance...Q: Are there any more information on how to use? > Most street shooters using manual lenses stop down to f/8 ... Q: do you mean they set to f/8 first, done the focus and adjust the aperture again as needed? – Ryan May 30 '14 at 3:05
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    For DoF scale usage, see this link. For scale focusing, not the shooter sets f/8 first, and then guesstimates the distance and uses the distance scale to set focus, without looking through the viewfinder. – inkista May 30 '14 at 19:07
  • Thanks, I voted as correct answer. Just additional followup, why use f/8 for street shooters? Also, are there any tricks when guess the distance? seems so difficult – Ryan May 31 '14 at 3:07
  • f/8 is just a good default giving enough DoF so there's margin for error in focusing. Street shooters will use scale focusing so they don't look like they're taking a photo when they are (i.e., shooting without the camera to their face). – inkista May 31 '14 at 17:50
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Focus peaking is a very useful technology to assist manual focus - unfortunately, I don't think the E-PL3 implements it. The Olympus EM1 does, as does Sony's NEX line.

Otherwise (and I'm not sure whether that's what you're already doing when you say "zoom 5x") there is a focus assist functionality that lets you see the focus point at 1:1 pixel size with the press of a single button.

That's all you can do, except of course to use a small aperture to increase DOF...

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There is no easy way. That's why it's called manual focus. what I did was buy a few manual lenses on ebay and first practice focusing on still subjects manually and find yourself a good smooth ring that doesn't creep. Ebay has a large selection. Next, you must learn the marked scales and what they mean for your lens. The focus ring is usually marked with two units of measurement. One in meters and the other in feet. Use the one you are most familiar with. Get to know your lens and eventually you shouldn't need to use the magnifier more than once at least until your subject changes their distance from you. Also, using a tripod or monopod can help too. There is one more option. Buy an E-M1 and use focus peaking instead of the magnifier tool with your manual focus lenses.

  • More than just one other option :) The Panasonic GM1, GM5, GH4, and GX-7 also do focus peaking. – inkista Oct 1 '14 at 20:10

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