Manual focus on digital cameras.

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by dalethorn, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. dalethorn

    dalethorn SC All-Pro

    Sep 14, 2013
    Charleston SC
    Real Name:
    same as user name
    My current small Leicas, and I'm sure this is true of other small digicams, focuses beyond infinity. That is to say, when I want "infinity" as I understood it with film cameras, I just set the dial to maximum, or the infinity symbol position. But with these digicams, I have to actually set the focus by looking carefully while I turn the focus wheel, since the wheel will turn a little further past perfect focus on distant objects, at which point the image is slightly out of focus. Slightly on the screen, but quite a lot on the computer. Ideas?
  2. ajramirez

    ajramirez SC All-Pro

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Real Name:
    Same thing happens with many AF DSLR lenses. This is the case with my Canon USM motor lenses and SW motor Nikkors. I do not know why they are designed that way.
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  3. Matero

    Matero SC Veteran

    Dec 25, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    I always used the technique with manual lenses also, focus to infinity symbol, and turned back just a little bit. By doing this one avoids any design or manufacturing flaws with infinity focus on lenses.

    With focus-by-wire lenses this is more difficult and on the same time more essential. Either I use the gauge in camera viewfinder or just focus somewhere distant with small focus point and trust that it will be focused to infinity.

    Nevertheless, tricky

    Sent from my iPhone using Photographers Lounge mobile app
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  4. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Not really about digital cameras, but focus by wire lenses. I use plenty of old (and new) mechanical lenses on my digital camera and they work like they ever did. Focus by wire lenses are different. They work, but differently. The focus by wire lenses I like most are the ones that attempt to simulate the feel of a mechanical lens by using some sort of snap ring to switch between AF and MF and when you're in MF, you have distance marks on the barrel and a hard stop at infinity - Fuji and Olympus do this really well... Whether the mechanical (or faux mechanical) lenses actually hit infinity at the infinity marking or hard stop is another question and they vary a lot. I have lenses that are exactly at infinity at the hard stop and some I have to back off a fraction from the hard stop. Just gotta get to know your gear, as always...

  5. dalethorn

    dalethorn SC All-Pro

    Sep 14, 2013
    Charleston SC
    Real Name:
    same as user name
    Backing off from the hard stop has to be a lot better than the alternative.
  6. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Depends in part on what you are trying to photograph. If you are trying to photograph stars, this guy has a solution: SharpStar2 Precision Focusing Tool by Lonely Speck

    Otherwise, I would use manual focus, with focus peaking if possible. FWIW, my HX400V has the best manual focus system I've used so far among digital cameras.

    Cheers, Jock
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