The joy of manual focus

Started Oct 10, 2011 | Discussions thread
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DRode
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The joy of manual focus
Oct 10, 2011

I recently acquired a MF Tokina 90mm micro. I've mostly relied on AF in the past and only used MF on rare occasions.

Using a D300s, there are no focus arrows and the green dot can be hard to see. In portrait orientation, it's especially tough as it's off to the right side. It seems like I can watch the green dot or I can concentrate on my framing. It's a bit easier with the camera horizontal.

However, I seem to be getting good results focusing by eye. I rotate the focus ring in smaller and smaller arcs until the area I want in focus is the most sharp visually. The Tokina 90 Micro has a long focus travel which is stiff compared to my other lenses. At first it felt awkward but now it just feels smooth and precise.

What I'm finding that I enjoy most is the pace. It slows me down and I feel like I spend more time thinking about composition and lighting as well as reviewing the frame more before pressing the shutter button. Having to manually focus means I have to give conscious thought to exactly what I want in focus. Focusing by eye means I can ignore the focus points and also experiment with where the focus should be.

I can see how the larger viewfinder and focus indicators in the Fx bodies would make MF easier.

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