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DSLR focus screens

 
 
Stacey
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      08-27-2004
I'm looking at getting a DSLR, maybe the D20 when they hit the streets, as
my first -real- digital camera. I shot with a friends D10 last weekend and
found that it, like most autofocus cameras I've used, didn't agree with me
where the focus plane should be most of the time.

No biggie there but when I was trying to manually focus the lenses, the
focus screen seems to be optimized for brightness, not for manual focusing
and it was hard for me to see the exact plane of focus quickly, at least
not as well as I can with the Maxwell focus screens I'm used to in my
medium format cameras. My question is can the focus screen be fairly easily
changed by the user (like my OM cameras) on any of these DSLRs or is it
"built in" to the camera such that this isn't possible? Is the nikon the
same in this focus screen respect as the canon?

I'm sure people brought up on auto focus cameras don't understand what I'm
talking about! And no need to reply with a "I never have any problems
with using auto focus"...

TIA for any help as this was the main issue I had using one of these.
--

Stacey
 
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usenet@imagenoir.com
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      08-27-2004
Kibo informs me that Stacey <(E-Mail Removed)> stated that:

[crappy focus screen on DSLRs]
>No biggie there but when I was trying to manually focus the lenses, the
>focus screen seems to be optimized for brightness, not for manual focusing
>and it was hard for me to see the exact plane of focus quickly, at least
>not as well as I can with the Maxwell focus screens I'm used to in my
>medium format cameras.


I'm right with you on this one. I grew up with manual focus, & the fact
that my beloved 10D has a non-interchangable focus screen is possibly my
biggest beef with that model. The fact that I mostly shoot in poor
available light makes that lack particularly annoying.

Speaking of which, are there any 1DMkII users here who can comment on
what it's like for manual focussing? And are the screens interchangable?

--
W
. | ,. w , "Some people are alive only because
\|/ \|/ it is illegal to kill them." Perna condita delenda est
---^----^---------------------------------------------------------------
 
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David J. Littleboy
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      08-27-2004

"Stacey" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> No biggie there but when I was trying to manually focus the lenses, the
> focus screen seems to be optimized for brightness, not for manual focusing
> and it was hard for me to see the exact plane of focus quickly, at least
> not as well as I can with the Maxwell focus screens I'm used to in my
> medium format cameras.


FWIW, the 300D + 50/1.4 is easier to focus than my Maxwell-equipped
Rolleiflex, and a _lot_ easier to focus than my Mamiya 645 + 35/3.5.

I suspect that the speed of the lens has a lot to do with it<g>. Also, I
suspect that the 300D is a better screen for manual focus than the 10D
screen, and the 20D may be equal or better to the 300D.

> My question is can the focus screen be fairly easily
> changed by the user (like my OM cameras) on any of these DSLRs or is it
> "built in" to the camera such that this isn't possible? Is the nikon the
> same in this focus screen respect as the canon?


The focus screens are not interchangeable in the low-end dSLRs. The 1D2 and
1Ds have interchangeable screens.

> I'm sure people brought up on auto focus cameras don't understand what

I'm
> talking about! And no need to reply with a "I never have any problems
> with using auto focus"...


I screwed myself the other day. Crawled out of bed at 4:00am and dragged
cameras and tripod to catch the sunrise over Ohnishi Port (a tiny port on an
island in Japan's Inland Sea), and completely forgot that 35mm lenses focus
past infinity.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarg!

It's too dark for AF, and too dark to see the focus scale, and too dark to
focus manually with the f/2.8 lens on the camera. (Exposures were in the 15
second range.)

The MF film shots came out fine.

David J. Littleboy
Tokyo, Japan



 
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dylan
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      08-27-2004
Big problem with AF systems when you can't rely on them to focus, resorting
to MF is limited by lack of a decent screen. Interchangable screens are
useful, as per EOS 3 but I've seen no mention of one on the D20.

Depth of Field scales on lens are also sadly missed....

"Stacey" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> I'm looking at getting a DSLR, maybe the D20 when they hit the streets, as
> my first -real- digital camera. I shot with a friends D10 last weekend and
> found that it, like most autofocus cameras I've used, didn't agree with me
> where the focus plane should be most of the time.
>
> No biggie there but when I was trying to manually focus the lenses, the
> focus screen seems to be optimized for brightness, not for manual focusing
> and it was hard for me to see the exact plane of focus quickly, at least
> not as well as I can with the Maxwell focus screens I'm used to in my
> medium format cameras. My question is can the focus screen be fairly

easily
> changed by the user (like my OM cameras) on any of these DSLRs or is it
> "built in" to the camera such that this isn't possible? Is the nikon the
> same in this focus screen respect as the canon?
>
> I'm sure people brought up on auto focus cameras don't understand what

I'm
> talking about! And no need to reply with a "I never have any problems
> with using auto focus"...
>
> TIA for any help as this was the main issue I had using one of these.
> --
>
> Stacey



 
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Chris Brown
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      08-27-2004
In article <cgmlh0$qn4$(E-Mail Removed)>,
David J. Littleboy <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>I screwed myself the other day. Crawled out of bed at 4:00am and dragged
>cameras and tripod to catch the sunrise over Ohnishi Port (a tiny port on an
>island in Japan's Inland Sea), and completely forgot that 35mm lenses focus
>past infinity.


Well, most EF lenses anyway. In total darkness, that gets to be a serious
pain in the arse.

>Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarg!
>
>It's too dark for AF, and too dark to see the focus scale, and too dark to
>focus manually with the f/2.8 lens on the camera. (Exposures were in the 15
>second range.)


This one's half an hour (f/2.:

http://www.fastfoto.co.uk/Chris/LakeStars.jpg

Took it whilst on holiday in the US a couple of weeks ago. It doesn't get
that dark here in southern England. For that, I set the focus to infinity
whilst still indoors, and then very carefully took the camera outside.
Didn't want to risk using torchlight to set it in place, or I might have
destroyed my night vision and fallen in the lake.
 
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Gene Palmiter
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-27-2004
I use the Oly E-10 and the manual focus awful. It uses fly-by-wire to
adjust....and the focus ring just spins...there are no stops. How can you
feel where you are? With my 35mm I could see a situation developing and
measure the distance with my eyes. Look down at the lens and set the
focus....raise the camera and shoot before the subject is spooked. What I
want is a digital OM2


"dylan" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:QHCXc.35$(E-Mail Removed)...
> Big problem with AF systems when you can't rely on them to focus,

resorting
> to MF is limited by lack of a decent screen. Interchangable screens are
> useful, as per EOS 3 but I've seen no mention of one on the D20.
>
> Depth of Field scales on lens are also sadly missed....
>
> "Stacey" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> > I'm looking at getting a DSLR, maybe the D20 when they hit the streets,

as
> > my first -real- digital camera. I shot with a friends D10 last weekend

and
> > found that it, like most autofocus cameras I've used, didn't agree with

me
> > where the focus plane should be most of the time.
> >
> > No biggie there but when I was trying to manually focus the lenses, the
> > focus screen seems to be optimized for brightness, not for manual

focusing
> > and it was hard for me to see the exact plane of focus quickly, at least
> > not as well as I can with the Maxwell focus screens I'm used to in my
> > medium format cameras. My question is can the focus screen be fairly

> easily
> > changed by the user (like my OM cameras) on any of these DSLRs or is it
> > "built in" to the camera such that this isn't possible? Is the nikon the
> > same in this focus screen respect as the canon?
> >
> > I'm sure people brought up on auto focus cameras don't understand what

> I'm
> > talking about! And no need to reply with a "I never have any

problems
> > with using auto focus"...
> >
> > TIA for any help as this was the main issue I had using one of these.
> > --
> >
> > Stacey

>
>



 
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Gary Eickmeier
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-27-2004


Gene Palmiter wrote:
> I use the Oly E-10 and the manual focus awful. It uses fly-by-wire to
> adjust....and the focus ring just spins...there are no stops. How can you
> feel where you are? With my 35mm I could see a situation developing and
> measure the distance with my eyes. Look down at the lens and set the
> focus....raise the camera and shoot before the subject is spooked. What I
> want is a digital OM2


That's the price we pay for autofocus, I suppose. You can, of course,
pre-focus on an object, then be ready for your exposure. But I wonder if
they don't sell manual lenses for all these DSLRs -

Gary Eickmeier

 
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Stacey
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-28-2004
Gene Palmiter wrote:

> I use the Oly E-10 and the manual focus awful. It uses fly-by-wire to
> adjust....and the focus ring just spins...there are no stops. How can you
> feel where you are? With my 35mm I could see a situation developing and
> measure the distance with my eyes. Look down at the lens and set the
> focus....raise the camera and shoot before the subject is spooked. What I
> want is a digital OM2
>


I'd pay $2000+ for a digital OM-2 but they aren't going to make anything
like that....

--

Stacey
 
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Stacey
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-28-2004
David J. Littleboy wrote:

>
> "Stacey" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>> No biggie there but when I was trying to manually focus the lenses, the
>> focus screen seems to be optimized for brightness, not for manual
>> focusing and it was hard for me to see the exact plane of focus quickly,
>> at least not as well as I can with the Maxwell focus screens I'm used to
>> in my medium format cameras.

>
> FWIW, the 300D + 50/1.4 is easier to focus than my Maxwell-equipped
> Rolleiflex, and a _lot_ easier to focus than my Mamiya 645 + 35/3.5.
>
> I suspect that the speed of the lens has a lot to do with it<g>. Also, I
> suspect that the 300D is a better screen for manual focus than the 10D
> screen, and the 20D may be equal or better to the 300D.
>



I need to go compare the different screens. I know I'd never be happy with
the focus screen in the 10D. Also does anyone else find all the "focus
spots" distracting when composing? Maybe it's just me and being used to
plain ground focus screens? I did like the lack of shutter lag and the
images looked nice, just too many didn't hit the focus point I would have
picked. I doubt anyone is ever going to make a -manual focus- DSLR, sigh..

--

Stacey
 
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Paul J Gans
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      08-28-2004
Stacey <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>David J. Littleboy wrote:


>>
>> "Stacey" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>
>>> No biggie there but when I was trying to manually focus the lenses, the
>>> focus screen seems to be optimized for brightness, not for manual
>>> focusing and it was hard for me to see the exact plane of focus quickly,
>>> at least not as well as I can with the Maxwell focus screens I'm used to
>>> in my medium format cameras.

>>
>> FWIW, the 300D + 50/1.4 is easier to focus than my Maxwell-equipped
>> Rolleiflex, and a _lot_ easier to focus than my Mamiya 645 + 35/3.5.
>>
>> I suspect that the speed of the lens has a lot to do with it<g>. Also, I
>> suspect that the 300D is a better screen for manual focus than the 10D
>> screen, and the 20D may be equal or better to the 300D.
>>



>I need to go compare the different screens. I know I'd never be happy with
>the focus screen in the 10D. Also does anyone else find all the "focus
>spots" distracting when composing? Maybe it's just me and being used to
>plain ground focus screens? I did like the lack of shutter lag and the
>images looked nice, just too many didn't hit the focus point I would have
>picked. I doubt anyone is ever going to make a -manual focus- DSLR, sigh..


I have trouble manually focussing a 300D. The screen isn't
really designed for it. And the accumulation of other marks
on it (such as focus points) makes the job harder.

And (replying to the previous post in this series) I too would
like a digital version of a manual camera -- you know, the one's
with the aperture rings and a distance scale on the lens. They
can be *rapidly* set or, if needed, preset and then one only has
to wait for the subject.

---- Paul J. Gans
 
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