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I purchased the Samyang 24mm f1.4 for my 6D for specifically night photography. I won't go into how amazing this lens is at night... I've since discovered that this lens produces fabulous images in other situations and I've been using it to capture interesting and closeup shots of my kids, flowers, etc. I simply just love the "feel" of the photos captured with this lens. The only downfall is the total absence of focus confirmation and I've been investigating some ways to remedy this problem.

Currently, I am having to shoot in live-view which, although this is what I do with all may lenses when mounted on a tripod for landscape work, I am finding very cumbersome and slow and difficult to frame when shooting handheld.

I have another vintage lens for which I have a chipped adapter and I get a reasonable focus confirm when wide open and/or in bright conditions but focus confirmation becomes flaky stopped down to f11 and beyond or in darker conditions. I did not program the chip, nor do I know if its possible for this chip. I don't think it's a genuine Euro Dandelion.

I can see me using the Samyang a lot more than I do now if I had a fairly accurate focus confirmation (or a better focusing screen?)

I am not sure if I should get a good chip and program it or a focusing screen. There is a lot of incomplete and unreliable information about using both approaches on the web; When programmed, the chip will work well at a one focal length (OK, my lens is a prime) but also at a single, most used aperture?? (Not so good) Programming seems like a complex task that requires taking the lens off multiple times setting nobs and dials and firing of shots in specific patterns. (does not sound intuitive) I don't think I want to go trough all that every time I want to shoot handheld using a different aperture. (is this what I need to do or will programming it once be sufficient)
Focusing screen seems like a another possibility but; I don't know how this even works (why would this be better for manual lenses? Is it a split prism type of thing that comes together with focus?), viewer will be much darker with slower lenses, installation seems OK on the 6D but tricky on 5D bodies, 24mm may be too wide...

What other alternatives are available?

This long winded question basically boils down to: programmable focus confirm chip or focusing screen or something else.

  • I have since reconsidered the "without Live-Wiew" part and installed magic lantern on my backup body. I decided that the ML options are quite fantastic especially the half press button 10x magnification, picture in picture with 10x magnification, focus confirm and focus peaking. Amazing. No need for chips or focusing screens anymore. – Jakub Sisak GeoGraphics Oct 29 '15 at 19:16
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This is probably opinion-based, but in my personal experience, hands-down, the focus screen is the way to go. I've used AF-confirm chipped adapter rings with manual lenses, and I've also swapped out my 5DMkII's focus screen for the Super-Precision matte focus screen (Eg-s) and swapped out my 50D's focus screen for a KatzEye. In my humble estimation, the super-precision matte screen works as well as the KatzEye, and better than AF confirmation in terms of accuracy and ease-of-use.

This surprised me. I was used to shooting with an Olympus OM-1, and assumed the split-circle and prism collar would help me out the most, but the precision matte screen's greater DoF accuracy was just as useful--particularly with fast lenses. I use an Olympus OM Zuiko 50/1.2 with my 5DMkII and it's bang on even wide open. Also, weirdly, the split circle and prism collar of the KatzEye was less use than I thought, and also required me to swap out the Katzeye on my 50D whenever I wanted to go birding with my EF 400/5.6L if I didn't want the prism collar to turn into a black donut in my viewfinder. Given how much cheaper the Canon alternative is (and that Katzeye's apparently going out of business), I think it becomes a no-brainer.

But again, this is just my experience. Others' may differ.

  • Thanks! Exactly the kind of feedback i was hoping for. I guess i just don't understand how does the Eg-s work? How does it achieve accurate focus? Sorry, only started considering this as an option yesterday. When using the standard focusing screen for example,I feel that without magnifying the image, there is just no way to focus accurately. How does one work with the Eg-s? – Jakub Sisak GeoGraphics Sep 24 '15 at 17:32
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    It's simply a little darker, so it gives you more accurate feedback on DoF. With the standard matte screen, the DoF is inaccurate, which is why you'll have trouble with it and faster lenses used wide open. The Eg-s is designed to be used with f/1.8-f/2.8 lenses. – inkista Sep 24 '15 at 19:51

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