Nikon D600 with manual focus lenses

Started Oct 13, 2012 | Discussions
Bob Kuo
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Nikon D600 with manual focus lenses
Oct 13, 2012

I have a Nikon fm2n, and I'm planning to buy a nikon d600 soon. I also have a manual focus nikon 50mm f1.4 lens. I have a few questions about how to manual focus on dslrs:

1. How easy is manual focus on nikon dslrs without a focus screen?

2. Are there focus screens for the D600?

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Nikon D600
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JasonED
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Re: Nikon D600 with manual focus lenses
In reply to Bob Kuo, Oct 13, 2012

The D600 has a very accurate focus indicator dot accompanied with left/right indicators when you are close to optimal focus.    I have had no problems getting accurate focus with AI lenses using the dot.   With the D300 the focus dot was only a broad guide and as such I installed Katz Eye focus screen.  I don't think I need one for the D600.

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ekeroil
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Re: Nikon D600 with manual focus lenses
In reply to JasonED, Oct 13, 2012

You also have the live view that gives you the magnification required for precise manual focusing.

I have quite a few manual lenses (50/1.8, 55/1.2, 135/2.8, Distagon 25/2.8) and they all work very well with the D600.

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Astrophotographer 10
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Re: Nikon D600 with manual focus lenses
In reply to ekeroil, Oct 13, 2012

I have D800E and manual focus is easy with live view or the focus dot. I think it would be a tad easier on D600 as it has a better implementation of Live View.

There are some great deals on these older Nikon lenses and I think it is a great reason all by itself to buy Nikon over Canon. Older Canon lenses (FD) use a different mount. You can get adapters but you've got to wonder about the optical quality of the lens they use for a $15 adapter.

Greg.

Greg.

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CalBoy87
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Re: Nikon D600 with manual focus lenses
In reply to Astrophotographer 10, Oct 14, 2012

Astrophotographer 10 wrote:

There are some great deals on these older Nikon lenses and I think it is a great reason all by itself to buy Nikon over Canon. Older Canon lenses (FD) use a different mount. You can get adapters but you've got to wonder about the optical quality of the lens they use for a $15 adapter.

Not to go off topic, but you can mount any lens on Canon FF. I am using OM and AiS lenses on 5DMKII. As it has focusing screens and Magic Lantern, is actually easier to use it with MF lenses than  Nikon. Here is the one from 5DMKII and Nikkor 50.2 AIS. I was surprised, as apart from AF Nikkor is as good as 1K more expensive EF 50L lens. Sorry if this is too far off subject.

Nikkor 50 F/1.2 AiS mounted on 5DMk II, 1/640 sec at f/1.2, ISO 100

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leighton w
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Re: Nikon D600 with manual focus lenses
In reply to CalBoy87, Oct 14, 2012

Manual focus lenses work extremely well with the D600, even the much maligned MF zooms, such as this 28-50mm f3.5 AI-s used here. As said in an earlier post, the green dot indicator works very well. But you almost don't even need that because of that great big and bright viewfinder!

And this one with the wonderful 105 f2.5 AI-s.

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SergeyGreen
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Yes and no
In reply to Bob Kuo, Oct 14, 2012

Bob Kuo wrote:

I have a Nikon fm2n, and I'm planning to buy a nikon d600 soon. I also have a manual focus nikon 50mm f1.4 lens. I have a few questions about how to manual focus on dslrs:

1. How easy is manual focus on nikon dslrs without a focus screen?

2. Are there focus screens for the D600?

It has a green dot indicator, so if you get used to it you may get along quite fine. But for 50/1.4 I would much rather get an AF version. They are not that expensive, and if you get a used one you can sell it back for the same price just as well.

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SergeyGreen
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Man ..
In reply to leighton w, Oct 14, 2012

leighton w wrote:

Manual focus lenses work extremely well with the D600, even the much maligned MF zooms, such as this 28-50mm f3.5 AI-s used here. As said in an earlier post, the green dot indicator works very well. But you almost don't even need that because of that great big and bright viewfinder!

..

And these are excellent images you post, sure wow for the old lenses.

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-sergey

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Harry Lime
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Re: Yes and no
In reply to SergeyGreen, Oct 15, 2012

I primarily have manual focus lenses for my D600.

The factory focusing screen is far from ideal, but works as long as there is enough light. It is very fine grained, so it lacks the 'snap' you get on something like a film F or FM camera. I can focus the 50 reasonably accurate, if there is enough light, but find 35mm ia a little more difficult to dial in.

Obviously the D600 lacks the split prism and Nikon doesn't seem to offer one, which is a real pity. The focus confirmation dot in the viewfinder is helpful.

Katzeye makes very good replacement screens, but they have not yet announced one for the D600.

I would suggest sending them an email. The more people prod them, the more likely they are to produce one.

Custom Focusing Screens - KatzEye Optics

So, yes it works, as long as there is enough light. But compared to a nice coarse or split prism screen it's less than ideal. Zone focusing is your friend.

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WillemB
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Re: Yes and no
In reply to Harry Lime, Oct 15, 2012

I find the split prism and surrounding microprism ring quite distracting when composing the picture. I nowadays am focussing coming from infinity till the dot appears. From the opposite side I get more misfocussed shots. The lens probably must have its fine focus adjusted a bit...

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bonjovi18
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Re: Nikon D600 with manual focus lenses
In reply to leighton w, Oct 30, 2013

Please advise how to activate the manual focus green dot, as I have never been able to figure it out on my D600 and the instruction manual does not say.  Thanks!

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leighton w
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Re: Nikon D600 with manual focus lenses
In reply to bonjovi18, Oct 30, 2013

bonjovi18 wrote:

Please advise how to activate the manual focus green dot, as I have never been able to figure it out on my D600 and the instruction manual does not say. Thanks!

You shouldn't have to activate it, it should work no matter what. Just turn the focus ring slowly until you see it. You should see arrows to either side of it indicating which way to turn the ring. Make sure you register the MF lens you're using in the non-cpu registry as well.

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m87501
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Re: Nikon D600 with manual focus lenses
In reply to bonjovi18, Oct 30, 2013

I returned my d600 but I think it was in the menu under "rangefinder" setting.

With my unit, the manual focus was correct with mf lenses when the arrow on the right side of the electronic viewfinder just touched the center dot while flickering (not solid), but not when both arrows showed what should have been focus.

In other words the arrow pointing to the left (on the right side).  One of the reasons I returned the camera was my vision is no longer good close-up like it used to be, and I needed to get a camera with focus peaking to use my Nikkor 55.  Changing into reading glasses every time and using live view was a total hassle. But otherwise the camera was great.

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Island Golfer
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Re: Nikon D600 with manual focus lenses
In reply to Bob Kuo, Oct 30, 2013

While you are waiting for a screen to be offered for the D600, you might want to try a Nikon DK-17M Magnifying Eyepiece. I found one on ebay for $30, shipped. It adds 1.4x magnification on my D800 body, barely protruding much more than the normal eyepiece. Granted it's not much magnification; but when I mount my Zeiss 21mm MF Distagon, it sure helps with more accurate center focus.

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truview

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Anfy
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Re: Nikon D600 with manual focus lenses
In reply to Island Golfer, Oct 30, 2013

Island Golfer wrote:

While you are waiting for a screen to be offered for the D600, you might want to try a Nikon DK-17M Magnifying Eyepiece. I found one on ebay for $30, shipped. It adds 1.4x magnification on my D800 body, barely protruding much more than the normal eyepiece. Granted it's not much magnification; but when I mount my Zeiss 21mm MF Distagon, it sure helps with more accurate center focus.

The DK-17M does not fit directly the D600, it can be mounted with a workaround (google the two terms, there are discussions on DPReview too) or it can be bought a Tenpa magnifying eyepiece, there are either in the 1.36x and 1.22x formats, and the Tenpa by the way adds a plain support for mounting the DK-17M (I bought the 1.36x for my DX dSLR but the view was too much enlarged).

Ciao!

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B Aldrich
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Tenpa model number...GOT IT!
In reply to Anfy, 6 months ago

What model number Tenpa eyepiece fits the D600? I didn't see one listed for it.

I didn't quite understand, do you have to use it with the Nikon eyepiece, too?

GOT IT: TENPA 1.22x MEA-NM ViewFinder Eyepiece For Nikon D80 D90 D200 D600 D610 D7100

The 1.22x is recommended for glasses wearers...as I am.

Thanks!

bart

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PK24X36NOW
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Re: Nikon D600 with manual focus lenses
In reply to Anfy, 6 months ago

Anfy wrote:

Island Golfer wrote:

While you are waiting for a screen to be offered for the D600, you might want to try a Nikon DK-17M Magnifying Eyepiece. I found one on ebay for $30, shipped. It adds 1.4x magnification on my D800 body, barely protruding much more than the normal eyepiece. Granted it's not much magnification; but when I mount my Zeiss 21mm MF Distagon, it sure helps with more accurate center focus.

FYI, the DK17M provides 1.2x magnification, not 1.4x.

http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Product/Eyepieces/DK-17M-Magnifying-Eyepiece.html

The DK-17M does not fit directly the D600, it can be mounted with a workaround (google the two terms, there are discussions on DPReview too) or it can be bought a Tenpa magnifying eyepiece, there are either in the 1.36x and 1.22x formats, and the Tenpa by the way adds a plain support for mounting the DK-17M (I bought the 1.36x for my DX dSLR but the view was too much enlarged).

Nikon makes a magnifier eyepiece that fits the D610/D600. It's the DK21M, providing 1.17x magnification.

http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Product/Eyepieces/DK-21M-Magnifying-Eyepiece.html

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Phillip S
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Re: Nikon D600 with manual focus lenses
In reply to Bob Kuo, 6 months ago

Bob Kuo wrote:

I have a Nikon fm2n, and I'm planning to buy a nikon d600 soon. I also have a manual focus nikon 50mm f1.4 lens. I have a few questions about how to manual focus on dslrs:

1. How easy is manual focus on nikon dslrs without a focus screen?

2. Are there focus screens for the D600?

I owned both the Nikon FE2 and the FM2 (originally had the FM, but was able to trade up) --

Do not expect to be able to manually focus as well with a DSLR

(at least, without an aftermarket focus screen, which I do not have nor have I ever used one, so I cannot comment on how well they work).

Generally, I find it easier to manually focus with the FX D600 viewfinder than with Nikon's DX cameras, but it is not easy.

I have the 50mm f/1.4 Ai-s, and I'm much happier with the inexpensive 50mm f/1.8G (which is an excellent lens).

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B Aldrich
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Also found the Tenpa 1.22 x for Nikon D600
In reply to PK24X36NOW, 6 months ago

TENPA 1.22x MEA-NM ViewFinder Eyepiece For Nikon D80 D90 D200 D600 D610 D7100

Thnx!

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sd40
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Re: Yes and no
In reply to Harry Lime, 6 months ago

A split prism screen is practically the only thing I want from the D600 that I cannot have.  Last time I checked the KatzEye web site, there was some intimation that a Nikon design change made it impossible to provide a split prism screen for the D600.  Let's hope KatzEye can overcome that.

The green dot works, but only with some trial and error.  I found this out when I bought the Samyang 14mm.  I get some shots that are sharp enough to make we want to do it consistently.  And then I get some ordinary ones.  I haven't found a better way than to seesaw back and forth between the two poles where the green dot comes on or goes out, and that;s not precise or predictable enough.

There was one time when I thought I could see the sharpest area in the image in the viewfinder, but it's just not that easy.  My eyesight is still decent at short distances, and I take my glasses off to use the camera.

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