Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?

Started 9 months ago | Discussions
moimoi
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Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
9 months ago

Now that the Df is out, I really wonder how easy for the Df to focus manually without the focus confirmation dot?

So far I have not found any very useful information about the ability to focus. Yes some people have said it was easier, but I would like to get some thorough details about the Ovf.

Any insights would be more than welcome.

Cheers,

Moimoi
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Photography is about time, space, expression, and - ultimately - capturing light. This formula may sound easy, but actually capturing the "ideal" photograph is far more complex to accomplish as our own perceptions and responses vary according to each individual. Photography is inherently driven by human subjectivity, but the general feeling is that a superb photograph is widely appreciated, as it commonly depicts a striking and universal concept. I believe this process should be sought by many of us, who deeply enjoy capturing and sharing photographs that embrace life and depict what we are.

reginalddwight
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to moimoi, 9 months ago

No takers. My educated guess is that it is similar to the D4 and D800/E.

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Thoughts R Us
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to moimoi, 9 months ago

moimoi wrote:

Now that the Df is out, I really wonder how easy for the Df to focus manually without the focus confirmation dot?

Bjorn Roslett, a known Nikon expert and someone very demanding about his gear, has noted that he finds the Df to be far superior using MF.

There are some publicly available comments, as well as some paid material behind a firewall, on his website, nikongear.com.

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moimoi
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to reginalddwight, 9 months ago

reginalddwight wrote:

No takers. My educated guess is that it is similar to the D4 and D800/E.

Silence indeed.  I wish we will know more about this, but assuming the OVF of the Df is similar to D4/D800(e) is most likely right.

To me, the OVF is a dealbreaker.  I hope more Df users comment on this.

Cheers,

moimoi

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Photography is about time, space, expression, and - ultimately - capturing light. This formula may sound easy, but actually capturing the "ideal" photograph is far more complex to accomplish as our own perceptions and responses vary according to each individual. Photography is inherently driven by human subjectivity, but the general feeling is that a superb photograph is widely appreciated, as it commonly depicts a striking and universal concept. I believe this process should be sought by many of us, who deeply enjoy capturing and sharing photographs that embrace life and depict what we are.

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Patrick McMahon
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to reginalddwight, 9 months ago

reginalddwight wrote:

No takers. My educated guess is that it is similar to the D4 and D800/E.

good post

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moimoi
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to Thoughts R Us, 9 months ago

Thoughts R Us wrote:

moimoi wrote:

Now that the Df is out, I really wonder how easy for the Df to focus manually without the focus confirmation dot?

Bjorn Roslett, a known Nikon expert and someone very demanding about his gear, has noted that he finds the Df to be far superior using MF.

Sure, but I want more substantial proof.

There are some publicly available comments, as well as some paid material behind a firewall, on his website, nikongear.com.

Publicly, I have seen very little, and the litte I saw was not very convincing (at least to me).

As for the paid material, I can't support that.

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Photography is about time, space, expression, and - ultimately - capturing light. This formula may sound easy, but actually capturing the "ideal" photograph is far more complex to accomplish as our own perceptions and responses vary according to each individual. Photography is inherently driven by human subjectivity, but the general feeling is that a superb photograph is widely appreciated, as it commonly depicts a striking and universal concept. I believe this process should be sought by many of us, who deeply enjoy capturing and sharing photographs that embrace life and depict what we are.

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reginalddwight
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to Patrick McMahon, 9 months ago

Thanks, Patrick. Some interesting findings.

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moimoi
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to Patrick McMahon, 9 months ago

reginalddwight wrote:

No takers. My educated guess is that it is similar to the D4 and D800/E.

good post

Only technical, but not very informative about focusing abilities at short, medium and long distances?

No samples either.

How does the OVF can distinguish the in-focus and out-of-focus areas from each other.

Somebody will dismantle the Df. At that point, we will know what the OVF of the Df is made of.

At the moment the main benefit of the Df is its sensor.

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Photography is about time, space, expression, and - ultimately - capturing light. This formula may sound easy, but actually capturing the "ideal" photograph is far more complex to accomplish as our own perceptions and responses vary according to each individual. Photography is inherently driven by human subjectivity, but the general feeling is that a superb photograph is widely appreciated, as it commonly depicts a striking and universal concept. I believe this process should be sought by many of us, who deeply enjoy capturing and sharing photographs that embrace life and depict what we are.

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Horshack
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to moimoi, 9 months ago

I tried it myself today. I should warn I'm not someone who has ever relied on "stock" focus screen for manual focusing, although I have used super-precision screens on other bodies with very good results. I was unable to reliably MF with the Df using a 50G f/1.4 at about a distance of 10' with indoor lighting conditions. I couldn't even get the MF to be within the coarse rangefinder/dot threshold (ie, the rangerfinder worked better than my eyes in every one of my attempts).

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NTNphoto
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to moimoi, 9 months ago

Honestly the best thing to do would be to try to find a store to try one. I have one and I do find it a little bit Better for MF than my D600, but it's not a revelation or anything.

I find that I'm a little more sure of my focus on the Df than I am on the D600 but I wouldn't say focusing on the Df is like focusing on the ground glass of my Rollei TLR or anything like that.

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moimoi
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to NTNphoto, 9 months ago

NTNphoto wrote:

Honestly the best thing to do would be to try to find a store to try one. I have one and I do find it a little bit Better for MF than my D600, but it's not a revelation or anything.

Are you sure this is not a placebo effect?

I find that I'm a little more sure of my focus on the Df than I am on the D600 but I wouldn't say focusing on the Df is like focusing on the ground glass of my Rollei TLR or anything like that.

Ok, that's good to know.  Thanks for your input.

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Photography is about time, space, expression, and - ultimately - capturing light. This formula may sound easy, but actually capturing the "ideal" photograph is far more complex to accomplish as our own perceptions and responses vary according to each individual. Photography is inherently driven by human subjectivity, but the general feeling is that a superb photograph is widely appreciated, as it commonly depicts a striking and universal concept. I believe this process should be sought by many of us, who deeply enjoy capturing and sharing photographs that embrace life and depict what we are.

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southwest aero
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to moimoi, 9 months ago

I find the DF easier to manually focus than my D7000, and even a buddies D600. Being a relative beginner, I'm confident enough to start ordering Zeiss lenses.....

Take this with a grain of salt, I don't own the D600, and the DF is my first FF camera.

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NTNphoto
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to moimoi, 9 months ago

NTNphoto wrote:

Honestly the best thing to do would be to try to find a store to try one. I have one and I do find it a little bit Better for MF than my D600, but it's not a revelation or anything.

Are you sure this is not a placebo effect?

I find that I'm a little more sure of my focus on the Df than I am on the D600 but I wouldn't say focusing on the Df is like focusing on the ground glass of my Rollei TLR or anything like that.

Ok, that's good to know.  Thanks for your input.

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Photography is about time, space, expression, and - ultimately - capturing light. This formula may sound easy, but actually capturing the "ideal" photograph is far more complex to accomplish as our own perceptions and responses vary according to each individual. Photography is inherently driven by human subjectivity, but the general feeling is that a superb photograph is widely appreciated, as it commonly depicts a striking and universal concept. I believe this process should be sought by many of us, who deeply enjoy capturing and sharing photographs that embrace life and depict what we are.

To be honest I actually couldn't say if it was a placebo effect or not. I "feel" like it's easier, but it's very subjective and I wouldn't swear by it really. If you do get to try one at the store I'm curious to hear what you think.

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moimoi
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to NTNphoto, 9 months ago

NTNphoto wrote:

To be honest I actually couldn't say if it was a placebo effect or not. I "feel" like it's easier, but it's very subjective and I wouldn't swear by it really. If you do get to try one at the store I'm curious to hear what you think.

I think I will, I am very curious how good the OVF of the Df is.  Problem is that there are not many shops nearby.

I do have a Sony a900, and the OVF is brighter and bigger than any Nikon FF cameras, and manual focus remains challenging.  For manual focus, I am afraid that focus peaking + focus magnification remains the best digital option as today.

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Photography is about time, space, expression, and - ultimately - capturing light. This formula may sound easy, but actually capturing the "ideal" photograph is far more complex to accomplish as our own perceptions and responses vary according to each individual. Photography is inherently driven by human subjectivity, but the general feeling is that a superb photograph is widely appreciated, as it commonly depicts a striking and universal concept. I believe this process should be sought by many of us, who deeply enjoy capturing and sharing photographs that embrace life and depict what we are.

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chooflaki
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to moimoi, 9 months ago

Bjorn Rorslett's views on the Df are now well in 16 pages. His thoughts and his contributors so far indicate that MF is excellent for a DSLR.

As for myself I find the Df is the best pure Mf focusing digital camera that I have used. I currently also use a Fuji S5 pro with Katz Eye and the Df is far better. Where it shines it at normal focusing conditions with medium fast and slower apertures. Focus snaps in and out easily making for fast shot turnover and fewer misses. Some people seem to be expecting that focus should be a snap with ultra fast lenses wide open. Focusing these extreme lenses. always has been tough even with the best SLR split prism, matte screens etc. The DF is no different but an improvement for sure over recent offerings.

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philharris
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to moimoi, 9 months ago

I Just unpacked my Df and have had a quick look at the MF characteristics, totally unscientific of course but I think it certainly appears easier than my D800.

It maybe some difference in the viewfinder optics, but if pushed I would say that the screen seems to have a slightly different texture which seems to make the in focus areas a little clearer.

I should warn you that this could well be total cobblers, but it's my first impression.

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brony etr
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to moimoi, 9 months ago

Now that the Df is out, I really wonder how easy for the Df to focus manually without the focus confirmation dot?

So far I have not found any very useful information about the ability to focus. Yes some people have said it was easier, but I would like to get some thorough details about the Ovf.

Any insights would be more than welcome.

Cheers,

Moimoi
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Photography is about time, space, expression, and - ultimately - capturing light. This formula may sound easy, but actually capturing the "ideal" photograph is far more complex to accomplish as our own perceptions and responses vary according to each individual. Photography is inherently driven by human subjectivity, but the general feeling is that a superb photograph is widely appreciated, as it commonly depicts a striking and universal concept. I believe this process should be sought by many of us, who deeply enjoy capturing and sharing photographs that embrace life and depict what we are.

Focusing manually is super easy, I have a df with zeiss 50mm 1.4, I've had little trouble focusing on my nephew running around doing his thing at f3.2.

IMO manual focusing is a not a problem at all with the df and it performs very well

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ravduc
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I can only compare it to my Sony A850
In reply to moimoi, 9 months ago

The Df is easier to manually focus than the Sony, I am positive about this. I use manual lenses on the Sony and it's more difficult to focus. There isn't a huge difference but it's there. I also find that the green dot in the DF is more accurate than the dot in the Sony. The DF screen is a bit darker than the A850 screen. I stlll use a lot manual film cameras from the 60's and 70's and they did use a coarser focusing screen as an aid for focusing but they were not 100% perfect either. Focusing on any camera including film cameras will be challenged to some extent by an 85mm f1.4 lens.

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MisterHairy
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to moimoi, 9 months ago

Had a play with a Df today, side by side with one of our D800Es and using my ZF.2 35/1.4. Focusing was no better on the Df; safe to say that both are poor for fast lenses. Same story with my 100/2 MP.

Df felt quite nice but a bit light and I don't think that it'll be long before we start seeing reports of the dials getting knocked off or coming loose. It's not built for action. I kept wishing for an EC button on the right where it should be. Having to take your hand off the lens (not always possible with a heavy lens) or lower the camera to change that is a real PITA.

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lolopasstrail
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Re: Nikon Df, how easy to focus manually?
In reply to moimoi, 9 months ago

moimoi wrote:

Now that the Df is out, I really wonder how easy for the Df to focus manually without the focus confirmation dot?

So far I have not found any very useful information about the ability to focus. Yes some people have said it was easier, but I would like to get some thorough details about the Ovf

The questions kind of generic.  Traditionally the bete noir of SLRs has been fast wide angles.  Focusing may be fine for 'normal' and teles, but it's the fast wides that I want to find out about.  Your old school photojournalists might wear an FTn with a 105/2.5 and a Leica M4 with a 35/2 simply because of the focusing differences.

PS- funny that we consider the Df to have an OVF (Optical viewfinder).  An SLR would have been considered night and day different from a plain optical viewfinder camera, or even a viewfinder with a coupled rangefinder.  The viewfinder was basically a window with very nice glass and maybe some size reduction.  An SLR looks not through a viewfinder window but through the lens itself via a prism and mirrors and the light path goes through all kinds of twists and turns and reflections and size corrections and left and right corrections and upside down corrections before meeting your pupil.

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