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DSLR focusing

This is a discussion on DSLR focusing within the Digital photography forums, part of the Photography & Fine art photography category; Hi all, Preamble: I still shoot analog, I aim to go digital soon, still in survey mode though. I've been ...

  1. #1
    Fredric is offline Junior Member
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    Default DSLR focusing

    Hi all,

    Preamble: I still shoot analog, I aim to go digital soon, still in survey mode though.

    I've been fortunate enough to be able to borrow a digital kit from time to time, a Canon 20D with various lenses, and have become convinced to finally go digital.

    I like the digital experience on a whole, but have found myself dumbfounded by the lack of a split-image and/or microprism focusing screen. I've grown quite fond of the split-image circle on my analog, pre auto-focus, SLR and cannot really see how I would be able to live (i.e. focus) without it?

    How do you guys and gals manage your focusing? Do you rely entirely on the built in auto-focus system or are you able to focus just fine with the built in matte focusing screen?

    Also, anyone here who has experience with third party split-image focusing screens, such as the ones offered by katzeyeoptics.com? If so, what are your opinions on them? Do they obstruct the auto-focus system in any way?

    Finally, anyone who finds that there are any noticeable differences between the different DSLR makes' focusing systems, auto and/or manual, or would you say that they are on par with each other?

    Cheers!

  2. #2
    Travis is offline Senior Member
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    my experience with film is very limited.... however I can tell you that as digital shooter focus is NOT one things that gets in my way.... this means that after you make adjustments you should be just fine...

    the newer/nicer lenses allow you to interrupt the auto focus servo simply by grabbing the focus ring to make your adjustments...

    you might even notice improvements in focusing... my camera has a 51 point 3d tracking servo... i can lock in the eyes of a subject and fire burst all while the subject is moving around....

    most of my manual focus is in macro.... for this I looked into a katz eye focus screen and have read many good things about it.... macro is a small percentage of my shooting so I never bought it....

    good lucK!


    ps - there are quite a few old filmers on the forum here... I'm sure they can answer better.... welcome!
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    tirediron is offline Senior Member
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    I feel your pain! I too still miss the split-prism screens of my old Pentax and Miranda bodies. I've looked at the after-market screens from Katzeye, but can't quite bring myself to do it until the warranty's up. On the bright side, auto-focusing in modern DSLRs is excellent. The only trick is to watch your focusing points and make sure you camera is focusing on what you want to be focused.

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    tomorrowstreasures is offline Senior Member
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    I really struggle with the focusing issue of the auto focus lenses. When the light is not optimal, it is so hard to see if the subject is focused, or in auto mode what should be focused. I am sure that there is a lot to the focusing that I am missing, but still find it difficult.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredric View Post
    Hi all,

    Preamble: I still shoot analog, I aim to go digital soon, still in survey mode though.

    I've been fortunate enough to be able to borrow a digital kit from time to time, a Canon 20D with various lenses, and have become convinced to finally go digital.

    I like the digital experience on a whole, but have found myself dumbfounded by the lack of a split-image and/or microprism focusing screen. I've grown quite fond of the split-image circle on my analog, pre auto-focus, SLR and cannot really see how I would be able to live (i.e. focus) without it?

    How do you guys and gals manage your focusing? Do you rely entirely on the built in auto-focus system or are you able to focus just fine with the built in matte focusing screen?

    Also, anyone here who has experience with third party split-image focusing screens, such as the ones offered by katzeyeoptics.com? If so, what are your opinions on them? Do they obstruct the auto-focus system in any way?

    Finally, anyone who finds that there are any noticeable differences between the different DSLR makes' focusing systems, auto and/or manual, or would you say that they are on par with each other?

    Cheers!
    As a recent digital switcher I absolutely understand. Not very often but on occasion I'll check the dot that appears when the object is in fine focus in manual mode. That works. At the end of the day the focus is math based on distance from the subject to the lens (taking focusing zone into account) to the sensor;the camera cues you in other words. I agree the old way was better for me too, you clearly saw the perfect focus yourself. You'll likely have to go 3rd party if you want satisfaction.

    I have experience on the Nikon and Canon end. imo Canon wins in other ends, but today (changes fast) I like Nikon's autofocus better. Manual is the same. Still no perfect camera to my knowledge.
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    tomorrowstreasures is offline Senior Member
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    Maybe the auto focus lens designers need to be visiting forums like this!

    With my canon 5D- there is a custom feature that can switch you to precision focus, but I still have yet to figure it out. I have re-read the manual many times and am still scratching my head. <But then again, I am sure that comes as not surprise to you. hmmmmmmm

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    tirediron is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tegan View Post
    The autofocus constantly changes when you are shooting on a windy day with plants or trees etc. in the shot and one often wonders whether it will change fast enough. It is also necessary to watch what the system is focusing on, because it may be an item just in front of or beyond your subject, leaving your subject softer than desired.

    Tegan
    Why not switch to single-servo focus rather than continuous? That way it's just a matter of selecting the right AF point, and you're done.

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