Manual Focusing

12 comentarios
*Children, *Photography, *Portraits

I am always asking myself if manual focus lenses on digital bodies are actually a good idea? This leads me to the question of how far this accuracy can also be achieved using modern (D)SLR cameras, most of which suffer from the limitations in comparison to “old” models without AF.  What they generally lack, however, are optical focusing aids (e.g. split image rangefinder and microprisms) making it hard for the eye to clearly check the focus.

I am currently using Zeiss lenses and they are incredibly sharp when used at their ‘sweet spot’ that is one or two stops from the maximum aperture. So instead of shooting with the lens wide open I pull it back a stop or two. I know that one of the things that makes photography frustrating, is softness and blur in pictures. Sharp photos are much more appealing than soft images (or not?). It may be disappointing when you take a picture at a special moment and images come out soft/blurry or out of focus.

Actually there are quite some factors like ISO, shutter speed, Hand-holding rule, tripod, etc… but normally I know what I am doing (well most of the time)

What’s all this about sharpness anyhow?

There are photographers who love to test and compare things. When they make prints they examine them under a loupe, they are not looking to see if they have properly captured a special location, light or subject. Amplifying the image to 400% so they are first and foremost concerned with technical quality rather than image quality.

As if sharper images would somehow improve their photography… Ok I admit there isn’t a photographer alive who doesn’t care about how sharp his or her images are. It’s one of the primary manias of a lot of photographers.

But after several years as an assistant photographer as well as an ardent amateur, as a teacher and as a profesional freelance, I’ve learned certain things about photography and photographic equipment, and specific to this topic‚ about sharpness, its importance as well as, frequently, its lack of importance.

First Communion – basic shot with the Carl Zeiss Planar T 50mm f/1.4 ZE – the most important aspect was that the parents should know my modus operandi and since this was a last minute request I wasn’t able to speak personally with the family so I explained it simple and with some other examples with the result that I was hired for some more family shooting.

Escrito por

Founder of Lichtbild & Head of his own strange world / Vintage Enthusiast / Photographer / Graphic Designer /Typography "lover" / Book Collector / Spanish+German Mix / Lives in Coruña / Sometimes heads back home & Sleeps. /*

12 thoughts on “Manual Focusing”

    • Hey Mario I can´t wait to see some cool winter shots from you :D and yes it´s difficult to manually focus with a f1.4 lens but with some practice and live view (although it consumes the battery its helpful) understanding depth of field helps too… and it adds some handcraft feeling but that´s more a personal thing :D Salutations

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  1. Echt klasse Alberto. Freu mich, daß Du gleich den nächsten Auftrag von der Familie bekommen hast :-)
    Es ist ein wenig tricky mit den manuellen Linsen, aber mit Übung klappt das eigentlich. Ob ich jetzt solch ein Shooting ohne Autofokus gemacht hätte, würd ich jetzt als kleiner Feigling nicht so von mir behaupten.
    LG kiki

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    • Hey Danke kiki :D naja um ehrlich zu sein um die f1.4 zu meistern und das bei beweglichen Objekten… war schon heikel. Zum glück konnte ich mit King ausreichend üben XD und naja ich erkläre ja auch den meisten das ich etwas “anders” arbeite :P

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