Re: How important is a manual focus?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Mike Graham, Aug 16, 2003.

  1. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Guest

    In article <>, Tamara wrote:

    > I'm new around here. Have an old digital Kodak, and half thinking about
    > getting a newer camera. I was just wondering how important it is to have a
    > manual focus?


    My single greatest complaint with digital cameras in the price range that
    I play in (less than 1000 bucks, say) is that you often miss shots because
    of the auto focus. It drives me up the *wall* when I see a perfect shot,
    push the button, and a full second later the camera takes the picture, and
    I've missed it.
    If you use manual focus then the picture is taken much more quickly, in
    maybe 1/3 that length of time.
    MF isn't something you're likely to want to use all the time, but it sure
    has its moments. If it's a toss-up between two cameras, and one has MF and
    one doesn't, then go for the one with MF.

    My guidelines for selecting a digital camera are these:
    - only buy from a company that normally makes cameras
    (Nikon, Olympus, etc.)
    - go for the largest *optical* zoom that you can afford.
    - try for as much optional manual control as you can get
    - being able to use accessory lenses is a big big plus

    I bought my C3020 for the above reasons, and also because I liked the body
    shape - it fits nicely in your hand.
    Digital zoom is a horrible thing! I can't think of a *single* useful
    function for digital zoom in the hands of someone who has a computer and
    knows how to use it.

    --
    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
    Mike Graham | Metalworker, rustic, part-time zealot.
    |
    <http://www.metalmangler.com>| Caledon, Ontario, Canada

    Lousy photographer with a really nice camera - Olympus C3020Zoom.
    Mike Graham, Aug 16, 2003
    #1
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  2. (Mike Graham) writes:

    > My single greatest complaint with digital cameras in the price range that
    > I play in (less than 1000 bucks, say) is that you often miss shots because
    > of the auto focus. It drives me up the *wall* when I see a perfect shot,
    > push the button, and a full second later the camera takes the picture, and
    > I've missed it.


    That is why autofocus has always been worthless for sports photography.

    --
    http://home.teleport.com/~larryc
    Larry Caldwell, Aug 16, 2003
    #2
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  3. Mike Graham

    Ian Burley Guest

    That's absolutely not true!

    Top end AF pro SLRs are good enough to track focus action in servo AF mode.
    Have you ever used something like a Canon EOS-1D?

    Ian

    --

    DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY NOW - http://www.dp-now.com
    UK-based Web magazine for users of digital photography
    hardware, software and services.


    "Larry Caldwell" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > That is why autofocus has always been worthless for sports photography.
    >
    > --
    > http://home.teleport.com/~larryc
    Ian Burley, Aug 16, 2003
    #3
  4. Mike Graham

    JK Guest

    Mike Graham wrote:

    > In article <>, JK wrote:
    >
    > > Manual focus isn't that useful though unless it is done manually.With
    > > most digital cameras, it is done with with a motorized control, and
    > > is much more difficult to use.

    >
    > I agree. The manual focus that I have used on film cameras was much more
    > intuitive - being able to just rotate the 'barrel' on the lens to focus. I
    > assume the same can be done on digital SLRs.
    >
    > >> - go for the largest *optical* zoom that you can afford.

    > >
    > > I disagree. I think you should go for the digital camera that has
    > > the lens that lets the most light in at the telephoto end(lowest f number)
    > > that is within your budget, provided that the zoom range is reasonable
    > > for your needs.

    >
    > I assume you'd have to look these numbers up on some website somewhere?
    > It's certainly not mentioned on the box, that I know of.


    On most cameras it is written right on the rim of the lens.

    >
    >
    > > UGH! The often diminish image quality substantially and should be avoided.

    >
    > There is a 5X zoom lens for my camera that will give me 15X zoom. Let's
    > pretend for a moment that it lets half the light in that my regular lens
    > alone will.


    I doubt it. A 2x will probably cut the light in half. A 5x might let 1/5 or less

    of the light through.

    > Given that it is a 5X lens, and therefore the subject is 5X
    > larger than it would otherwise be, can you really say that I will get worse
    > quality from the 5X lens than I would by taking the shot without the lens
    > and blowing it up 5X on the computer?


    LOL! That is like saying that one should use a wrench to hammer in nails
    since it works much better than a screwdriver. One should use a hammer
    to hammer in nails, and a decent telephoto lens to take telephoto images.


    >
    >
    > > The 3020 has an f2.8 lens which is pretty good. Many digital
    > > cameras have lenses that are f4.8 or slower at the telephoto
    > > end. UGH!

    >
    > So the shot would be darker, yes?


    One will not be able to get a sufficient shutter speed to prevent camera
    shake if one is hand holding the camera (a suggested shutter speed is
    1/focal length equivalent or faster. So for a lens that is 400 mm eqivalent,
    one would need 1/400th of a second or faster, which is difficult to obtain
    at ISO 400, especially if the lens is f5.6 or slower, and you lose two stops
    with a converter lens, then you are at f11! If one loses 3 or more with a
    converter, it will be much worse.

    > I've found some of my 'summer' shots
    > and particularly by winter snow-shots to be overexposed. Gotta work on
    > that.
    >
    > --
    > =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
    > Mike Graham | Metalworker, rustic, part-time zealot.
    > |
    > <http://www.metalmangler.com>| Caledon, Ontario, Canada
    >
    > Lousy photographer with a really nice camera - Olympus C3020Zoom.
    JK, Aug 16, 2003
    #4
  5. Mike Graham

    dslr Guest

    Ian Burley wrote:
    >
    > That's absolutely not true!
    >
    > Top end AF pro SLRs are good enough to track focus action in servo AF mode.
    > Have you ever used something like a Canon EOS-1D?
    >


    Very true - mine even overcame the limitations of being given an f8
    maximum aperture (f5.6 lens and a 1.4x extender) and my feeble panning
    efforts to get ducks in flight last week.
    I was very impressed that it coped, I wouldn't have had a chance with
    the old D30.

    --
    regards,
    dslr
    dslr, Aug 16, 2003
    #5
  6. (Ian Burley) writes:
    > That's absolutely not true!
    >
    > Top end AF pro SLRs are good enough to track focus action in servo AF mode.
    > Have you ever used something like a Canon EOS-1D?


    Have you ever set a lens to its hyperfocal setting and fired away without
    having to track your subject?

    --
    http://home.teleport.com/~larryc
    Larry Caldwell, Aug 16, 2003
    #6
  7. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Guest

    In article <>, JK wrote:

    > On most cameras it is written right on the rim of the lens.


    I'll watch for it.

    > I doubt it. A 2x will probably cut the light in half. A 5x might let 1/5 or less


    Are you assuming that the zoom lens is the same size as the camera's lens?

    > LOL! That is like saying that one should use a wrench to hammer in nails
    > since it works much better than a screwdriver. One should use a hammer
    > to hammer in nails, and a decent telephoto lens to take telephoto images.


    So if you can't afford/justify a digital SLR then you should just throw up
    your hands in despair and deal with the fact that you can never take
    telephoto images?

    > One will not be able to get a sufficient shutter speed to prevent camera
    > shake if one is hand holding the camera


    Ah, I see.

    --
    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
    Mike Graham | Metalworker, rustic, part-time zealot.
    |
    <http://www.metalmangler.com>| Caledon, Ontario, Canada

    Lousy photographer with a really nice camera - Olympus C3020Zoom.
    Mike Graham, Aug 16, 2003
    #7
  8. Mike Graham

    Guest

    In message <>,
    Mike Graham <> wrote:

    >The manual focus that I have used on film cameras was much more
    >intuitive - being able to just rotate the 'barrel' on the lens to focus. I
    >assume the same can be done on digital SLRs.


    With digital SLRs, focusing happens in the lens, and the mechanism
    varies from lens to lens, just as with film SLRs.
    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
    , Aug 17, 2003
    #8
  9. Mike Graham

    Guest

    In message <>,
    Mike Graham <> wrote:

    >There is a 5X zoom lens for my camera that will give me 15X zoom. Let's
    >pretend for a moment that it lets half the light in that my regular lens
    >alone will.


    You can pretend all you want, but the fact is, unless the adapter lens
    has a larger diameter than the main lens, it will only transmit 4% of
    the light to the sensor. That's because the same amount of light has to
    cover 25x as much area.
    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
    , Aug 17, 2003
    #9
  10. Mike Graham

    Pat Chaney Guest

    On 17/8/03 2:15 am, "" <> wrote:

    >> The manual focus that I have used on film cameras was much more
    >> intuitive - being able to just rotate the 'barrel' on the lens to focus. I
    >> assume the same can be done on digital SLRs.

    >
    > With digital SLRs, focusing happens in the lens, and the mechanism
    > varies from lens to lens, just as with film SLRs.


    Are there any that don't involve rotating the lens barrel then?


    Pat
    --
    Photos at:
    http://www.shuttercity.com/ShowGallery.cfm?Format=Cell&AcctID=1251
    Pat Chaney, Aug 17, 2003
    #10
  11. Mike Graham

    JC Dill Guest

    On Sat, 16 Aug 2003 13:57:44 -0400, Mike Graham
    <> wrote:

    > So the shot would be darker, yes? I've found some of my 'summer' shots
    >and particularly by winter snow-shots to be overexposed. Gotta work on
    >that.


    That's an artifact of the auto-exposure setting formula. The camera
    takes in the scene as a whole, and calculates an exposure that renders
    the *average* of all the scenes elements to the medium gray setting.
    If the scene is lighter overall (winter snow shots, summer beach
    shots) the image will be under exposed and too dark. If the image is
    darker overall (black cat on a black chair) the image will be over
    exposed and too light.

    jc
    JC Dill, Aug 17, 2003
    #11
  12. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Guest

    In article <>, wrote:

    > You can pretend all you want, but the fact is, unless the adapter lens
    > has a larger diameter than the main lens,


    It does. Significantly.

    --
    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
    Mike Graham | Metalworker, rustic, part-time zealot.
    |
    <http://www.metalmangler.com>| Caledon, Ontario, Canada

    Lousy photographer with a really nice camera - Olympus C3020Zoom.
    Mike Graham, Aug 17, 2003
    #12
  13. Mike Graham

    Guest

    In message <BB64991A.3EFA9%>,
    Pat Chaney <> wrote:

    >Are there any that don't involve rotating the lens barrel then?


    I haven't tried all available SLR lenses, but the four I own all rotate
    the barrel to focus. One of them has the focus ring closer to the
    camera than the zoom ring. One of them has the entire front of the lens
    rotate when you focus (horrible for rotating filters like polarizers and
    graduated NDs).
    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
    , Aug 17, 2003
    #13
  14. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Guest

    In article <>, wrote:

    > It would have to be 3.5x the diameter of the main lens to allow 50% of
    > the light to pass through (one stop darker).


    3.5x the diameter, or 3.5x the area?

    --
    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
    Mike Graham | Metalworker, rustic, part-time zealot.
    |
    <http://www.metalmangler.com>| Caledon, Ontario, Canada

    Lousy photographer with a really nice camera - Olympus C3020Zoom.
    Mike Graham, Aug 17, 2003
    #14
  15. Mike Graham

    Guest

    In message <>,
    Mike Graham <> wrote:

    >In article <>, wrote:
    >
    >> It would have to be 3.5x the diameter of the main lens to allow 50% of
    >> the light to pass through (one stop darker).

    >
    > 3.5x the diameter, or 3.5x the area?


    3.5x the diameter. In order for a 5x adapter to allow the same light
    intensity on the sensor as without the adapter, it would have to have
    25x the area of the main lens, because the same image requires 25x the
    area on the focal plane. For half the light, that would be 12.5x, and
    the square root of that, to convert to diameter ratios, is 3.5x.

    There's no magic in a 5x teleconverter; you are going to need bright
    light or a tripod to make it useful.
    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
    , Aug 17, 2003
    #15
  16. (Ian Burley) writes:
    > You said: "That is why autofocus has always been *worthless* for sports
    > photography."
    >
    > Are you changing the subject or admitting you were wrong in that statement
    > above? Or both?


    Yeah, you are right. There are a lot of different sports. I'm sure
    autofocus would work fine for curling, chess matches, stuff like that.

    --
    http://home.teleport.com/~larryc
    Larry Caldwell, Aug 19, 2003
    #16
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