If I prefer to manually focus, should I still get the FE 55?

Started Nov 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
Jefenator Senior Member • Posts: 2,430
Re: If I prefer to manually focus, should I still get the FE 55?

djp58 wrote:

I have several AF lenses to complement my many MF only lenses. I keep my NEX 7 in MF and have the AF/MF button on the back set to "hold" vice toggle. That way, when I want to use AF, I push and hold the back button. if I want to switch back or fine-tune manually, I just release the button. Works well for the few times I use AF and focus-by-wire lenses. Will set my A7R up the same way when it arrives.

I'm glad you mentioned using the AF/MF button in "hold" mode - I've been using it in "toggle" but I think for my purposes "hold" would be better. (I have my EOS-M set up more like that - hold a button down to acquire focus then release it and shoot away without having to have the camera reacquire focus each and every shot. Much better way to go IME with slower AF systems for many types of shots…)

When I'm using mostly old manual lenses, I change the AF/MF button function to engage MF Assist. I find that to be super handy and pretty much indispensable for really nailing critical focus.

Like some others, I find myself torn between the two worlds. I know for sure that I love handling and working with old manual lenses. I will probably never give that up. That's what got me into the NEX system in the first place.

OTOH I also "get" the appeal of dedicated AF lenses. It's a whole different experience, having the camera and lens work together as a system, more like the engineers intended. For the focal lengths I currently use e-mount for (19mm, 24mm and 30mm) the blend of price, size and performance is very hard to beat. (Oh, right, I almost forgot: the AF comes in handy from time to time as well.)

IME juggling the two during one shoot can add confusion. On the NEX-7 I have settled in to using mostly e-mount for landscapes (occasionally slapping on an old manual 50mm for a telephoto shot) and manual lenses for home studio product shots.

When I step up to the A7, I will probably start with all legacy glass, but I know the temptation of the native lenses will probably be too strong to resist. If you want to make the very most of the capabilities of the sensor, with that crispy modern micro-contrast, in as small and light a form as possible, at a small fraction of the price of Leica glass, there's not going to be much getting around the FE lineup.

Another thing to consider: apparently Zeiss might be coming out with some manual focus e-mount lenses soon. If the rumor is true, that could be a groovy way to combine the best of both worlds (though I doubt their 50mm 1.4 will be $15, like the MC-Rokkor PG I found at a second hand store this spring).

Exciting times, indeed.

I didn't answer the OP's question, did I?

 Jefenator's gear list:Jefenator's gear list
Sony Alpha a7 Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Sony Alpha NEX-7 +7 more
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