Manual focus digi SLR

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by John Doe, Sep 6, 2004.

  1. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    I was looking at some cheap manual focus only SLRs for playing around.
    But what put me off was getting the rolls developed and I don't want to
    setup a lab.

    So I was just wondering if there are any digital SLRs that are manual
    focus only and are cheap!! Well, I know the answer, there aren't.

    But why?? If they made such cameras, would there be a market for them?

    Also, when will entry level digital SLR (say a Canon Rebel 300D) prices
    will match entry level film SLRs (say a Canon Rebel Ti or 300V).

    John Doe, Sep 6, 2004
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  2. John Doe

    Justin Thyme Guest

    It's all about supply and demand. Demand is for cameras that do everything,
    hence they are supplied cheap. As an example, Pentax's 2 entry level
    cameras, the MZ-60 and MZ-M - the 60 has AF, the M is Manual Focus. I don't
    know about in the USA, but here in Australia at RRP there is only a few $
    difference between the 60 and the M. Because of the extra volume of the 60
    and also the competitiveness of the market, it can be bought in stores quite
    a bit cheaper than RRP, but the M's lower volume means that it is only
    available on special order and hence full price applies.
    Realistically an AF system only adds a few dollars to the cost of a camera.
    When you consider the other costs associated with a DSLR, the AF components
    consist of a very small portion of the price. If an AF camera cost $1500 but
    the MF was $1450, I know I'd choose the AF camera every time.
    Never. A film camera is always going to be much simpler to produce and hence
    much cheaper to produce than a digital. Film cameras have exposure control
    systems, film winding systems, and that is about it. A digital camera has to
    have all the same complexities of a film camera (except film winding), but
    also needs to have a sensor, image processing engine, card control
    circuitry, computer interface circuitry, preview screen and associated
    circuitry etc etc. If you are mechanically minded, you could make a very
    basic but working film camera out of a few bits of wood and metal, and a
    couple of rubber bands. You can't do the same with digital.

    Here's a tip if you want to lower the cost of using film. Buy yourself a
    good negative scanner (eg Epson photo 2580, canon 5200, epson rx510). When
    you get your film developed ask for process only. The going rate here in
    australia seems to be about $2/roll, compared to about $8-$10/roll for
    process+printing. Scan your negs, then you have pretty much the same
    flexibility and only-print-what-you-want of digital. The cost comes down to
    only a few dollars per roll and is quite affordable.
    Justin Thyme, Sep 6, 2004
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  3. John Doe

    Mark B. Guest

    All AF lenses for digi-SLRs offer manual focus. AF can be turned off.
    Manual focus is easier on some lenses than others.

    Mark B., Sep 6, 2004
  4. I take digital pictures of dogs, puppies mainly. Does anyone know the
    camera with the least "lagtime". I don't care about the cost; just how fast
    I can take pictures. Of course, I do know that you press the shutter part
    way down first, and that is called something or other, and then there is the
    actual lag time while taking the picture.

    Thank you in advance,
    Rosanne Cleveland-King, Sep 6, 2004
  5. John Doe

    Jim Townsend Guest

    Manual focus only cameras seem to be a dying breed. Canon's SLR's
    are all auto focus now with the option to switch to manual.

    I guess as technology advances and costs go down, the addition
    of automatic focus isn't a big deal. I recall when remote controls
    for TV's and VCR's were an expensive luxury.. Now I doubt you can
    buy a TV or VCR without.

    That will happen when they can manufacture a 6 megapixel+ sensor and
    all the associated electronics for the same price as a roll of
    35mm film :)

    Given the same body, a digital SLR will always be more expensive.
    Jim Townsend, Sep 6, 2004
  6. John Doe

    Jim Townsend Guest

    Darn.. I meant to say when the cost of the sensor and associated
    electronics is the same as the cost of a film advance mechanism.

    Hit send too fast :)
    Jim Townsend, Sep 6, 2004
  7. John Doe

    jpc Guest

    If your camera has a full manual mode with manual focus, here are a
    few tricks that can drastically reduce shutter lag time.

    1 Put the camera into aperture priority mode and set the aperture to
    5.6 as a starting point

    2. Set the zoom lens to the equivalent of 50 mm and manual focus to
    roughly double the shortest distance your puppies are likely to
    be--about 5-6 feet would be a good starting point. This takes
    advantage of the great depth of field in small sensor digital camera.
    On my camera, I'm in good focus from about 3 feet to infinity with
    these settings.

    3. Set the shutter speed to whatever gives you a good exposure.

    4. If you have the feature, set the camera to the burst mode so you
    can take multiple pictures. Again with my camera , I can take from 7
    to 17 pictures in a 4 to 8 second burst depending on how I've set my
    picture resolution.

    5. Take test pictures and then adjust to suit your camera and tastes.

    Since evey thing is now set and the camera doesn't have to do any
    calculations, the shutter lag should be almost nothing

    jpc, Sep 6, 2004
  8. John Doe

    Skip M Guest

    If cost is truly no object, right now you can't do better than the Canon 1D
    mkII, 8 megapixels, 8.5 frames per second for 40 frames (handy for getting
    those rapidly moving puppies!) and a shutter lag time measured in
    milliseconds. (ten of them, I believe.) Get a 24-70 f2.8L lens so that the
    camera's focusing ability is maximized and you can get fast enough shutter
    speeds to stop the movements of those aforementioned puppies, and you'll be
    set. All for a price of $4495.95 for the camera and $1169.95 for the lens,
    for a total of $5665.90. If you need to cut the price a little, go for the
    Canon 20D, 8mp, 20 fps for 20 JPEG frames at a price of $1499.95 and the
    Canon 16-35 f2.8L at $1369.95, the 17-40 f4L at $689.95 or the EF-S mount
    17-85 f4-5.6 IS, included in a kit with the 20D for $1995.95, or separately
    for $599.95. This last option gives you the advantage of image
    stabilization, but you can't get the shutter speeds of the f2.8 lenses,
    necessary for capturing those fast moving little buggers.
    If you need to cut the cost even more, the Casio EXILIM PRO EX-P600 has that
    same fast shutter lag, 6mp, a decent built-in lens (not a DSLR like the
    other two) and costs only $599.95. Casio has announced a replacement, the
    EX-P700, with 7 mp, which should sell for roughly the same price.
    The Nikon D70 maybe a good alternative to the Canon DSLRs, but I don't know
    enough about it to speculate. Lower res (6mp) slower frame rate, I think,
    and a lower price, $999.95. All prices from B&H which seems to be the
    benchmark for pricing.
    Skip M, Sep 6, 2004
  9. John Doe

    Johnny Guest

    Here's a tip if you want to lower the cost of using film. Buy yourself a
    Beware of the time investment! I have a Nikon CoolScan III and it takes
    me about an hour to scan a 36 print roll. I could probably get done in
    less time, but I don't want to sit there and twiddle my thumbs while
    it's scanning. And note that this is the scanning time, does not factor
    in the image editing time.

    This time investment isn't bad for a roll here and there, or for the
    occasional vacation batch of 7-10 rolls, but it's tedious if shooting 6-
    7 rolls every weekend (hockey games). I now own a Canon 10D and it's
    made life a lot easier...

    Johnny, Sep 6, 2004
  10. John Doe

    Matt Ion Guest

    When you come right down to it, you can make a camera (the word comes
    from the latin, meaning "room" or "chamber") out of a (lightproof) box
    with a pinhole in one side and a square of film on the opposite side.
    The film is the only thing that will cost more than a few pennies.
    Matt Ion, Sep 6, 2004
  11. John Doe

    Matt Ion Guest

    You haven't been SLR shopping lately... AF SLRs still run a good bit
    higher than MF versions. One can generally get an MF SLR with lens for
    about the same price as an otherwise-similarly-featured AF model for
    just the body.
    The trick is to figure out when the return on investment makes it
    worthwhile. If you figure $10-$15 per roll of film - including the
    film, processing, pictures-on-CD service, etc. (not to mention the time
    it takes to go to the photolab and either wait for the processing or
    make a return trip later - my time is worth plenty to me), at some point
    not having to deal with film becomes worth the extra cost.

    I've had my digital Rebel for a couple months now... I'm approaching 900
    shots taken, or around 35-36 rolls of film.
    Matt Ion, Sep 6, 2004
  12. A DSLR without AF would be useless to most people. Getting single pixel
    sharpness on a 6 to 8 megapixel sensor manually is no easy feat. Forget
    about nudging the focus ring unless you're shooting with a small
    aperture. You have to slide the camera back and forth.

    I don't know about other brands, but you can mix AF and MF on Canon USM
    lenses. If you don't like what the AF locked on to, you can rotate the
    focus ring to something else and the camera will then lock on to that.
    It's handy for shooting through a fence, vegetation, a screen, or with
    targets that confuse AF. Most of the time there's no need for MF. The
    USM lenses are fast enough to capture moving objects too.
    Kevin McMurtrie, Sep 7, 2004
  13. The fastest and most economical way of getting 6x4s or 5x7s done from
    digital is still via a lab.
    That's right. There is a manual focus-only rangefinder, though. And Nikon's
    pro DSLRs will meter with manual focus lenses, if only in centreweighted
    mode. And you can buy an adapter for a Canon DSLR to fit practically any
    manual focus lens with a big enough register.
    There would be a market. I'd estimate 1/3rd of this market would be
    collectors and people with lots of money. 2/3rds would be people with a low
    budget, who wouldn't pay the high asking price such a body would demand.
    Crystal ball says about five years. Personally, i'd say not for a long time,
    not given the rate at which Canon and Nikon sell cameras at the current

    Not sure if this is just over here in the UK, but until recently the British
    people have been running up huge debts on the high street- and working in a
    camera store, I can confirm a lot of this is going on digital imaging
    equipment. People who a few years back might have begrudged spending
    £100-130 on a 35mm compact are now spending two to three times that on a
    digital compact- and SLR buyers seem to be in a similar mood.
    Martin Francis, Sep 7, 2004
  14. John Doe

    Mitch Alsup Guest

    Mitch Alsup, Sep 8, 2004
  15. No, the Nyquist limit is 2 pixels to resolve one line pair, or one

    The *practical* limit is about 3 pixels to resolve one line pair
    without artifacts. But there are plenty of cameras, which include
    proper anti-aliasing filters, that can resolve one line pair every 3
    pixels. One line pair per 4 pixels would be quite poor performance
    in comparison.

    Dave Martindale, Sep 9, 2004
  16. John Doe

    Mitch Alsup Guest

    Think about this again: take a series of line s images such that
    a line falls on a single pixel and the space between lines falls
    on the next pixel. Now move the image by 1/2 a pixel. Result,
    every pixel now sees 1/2 of a line and 1/2 of a space; therefore
    the line pairs are no longer resolved! This is what happens when
    one attemts to resolve beyond the Nyquist frequency.

    Now take a series of lines 2 pixels for the line and 2 pixels for
    the space between lines. Now move the image by 1/2 pixel. Result, one
    pixel sees the line, one pixel sees 1/2 the line and 1/2 the space,
    one pixel sees the space and another pixel seels 1/2 space and 1/2
    line. Result, the line is still resolved. This is Nyquist div 2.
    This is where Moire comes from by the way; attempting to extract
    detail above the Nyquist limits. The Bayer patters does not help
    But it is the best you can do for an image not correlated with the sensor!
    Mitch Alsup, Sep 10, 2004
  17. No, that is what the Nyquist frequency is; the special case of exactly
    half a cycle per pixel. Alignment with the pattern dictates whether
    you pick max amplitude, zero amplitude, or something in between. If
    the amplitude is e.g. +41% in one pixel, it will be exactly -41% in
    the next. There is only one cycle possible that will produce such a
    result, the cycle at the Nyquist frequency, half a cycle per pixel (or
    2 pixels per cycle which is the same).
    No, that would result in aliases of *lower* frequencies (wider lines
    in a square wave pattern).

    Bart van der Wolf, Sep 10, 2004
  18. No, this is what happens when you try to resolve *exactly* the Nyquist
    freqency. And the sampling theorem says that this will not work, at
    least not reliably. So your example is broken.

    But if you take a pattern that's *slightly less* than the Nyquist
    frequency, and properly low-pass filter it (meaning there's nothing left
    but the fundamental frequency as a sine wave) and then properly
    point-sample it, you *can* resolve the pattern and reconstruct it,
    without aliasing.

    So 0.5 cycles/pixel just can't work. But 0.49 cycles/pixels can, given
    filtering and sampling that's close enough to ideal. And DSLRs
    routinely resolve 0.35 cycles/pixel or more.
    Well, of course this works, even with no filtering and area instead of
    point sampling. So, at some level, you can say that no matter how badly
    you build a digital camera, it ought to resolve at least 0.25

    But this is *not* the practical limit, nor the theoretical limit.
    But 0.33 cycles/pixel is *not* above the Nyquist limit, and does not
    necessarily produce any moire or aliasing.
    Just about all digital cameras do better! Just look at the sample
    resolution test images at dpreview.

    Dave Martindale, Sep 11, 2004
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