Do you trust viewfinder focusing?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by marciofs, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    By viewfinder focusing I mean the orientation on the certer of the viewfinder frame which tells when the spot is in focus.

    I don't normally use glasses but to photograph with manual focus cameras I have to use glasses if I want my photos well focused. The thing is that I don't like using glasses for street photographs. I always feel the glasses are on my WAY specially when it get dirt.

    So now I am shooting a roll without glasses and therefore I use the spot orientation on the viewfinder to focus instead of using my eyes. But since it will take a while until I finish the roll and see if it really works I would like to hear those who have tried and can say how good they are. :smile:

    I am enjoy a lot to shoot in the streets without glasses. :smile:
     
  2. clayne

    clayne Member

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    What kind of camera are we talking here?
     
  3. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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  4. clayne

    clayne Member

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  5. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Do you refer to focusing aids like split-image or micrprisms (often installed in the center of a groundglass viewfinder)?
     
  6. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Fit a dioptric correction lens to your viewfinder eyepiece. Apart from using a viewfinder magnifier and/or progressively larger corrections in order to see the "sweet spot" clearly, dioptric corrections are the cheapest and most effective way to compensate for eyes if you don't like wearing glasses (that's me!). Most viewfinders can also be accurately focused using the matte surround, something I often do with the Pentax 67 in poor light. Depth of field will take care of slight imperfections in focus.
     
  7. momus

    momus Member

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    If you aren't going to use your glasses (which is the whole point of having an F3HP, so I find that part confusing), then buy a diopter for the camera(s).

    As an eyeglass wearer, I often use a Nikon N8008s (which has no focus screen aid whatsoever other than just looking to see if the image is sharp) rather than my usual manual focus cameras because it has a focus confirmation light in the viewfinder. It's pretty easy to mis-focus a little and get soft shots if I'm in a hurry and shooting wide open on my other cameras, but by keeping my eye peeled for that little light in the corner to pop on, I can concentrate on framing and squeeze off the shot quickly.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2013
  8. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    Exactly.

    I also have tried to focus without looking into the viewfinder but looking at the distance of the subject. And it is easier with wide angle lenses. But I will only know if it works ok after finish the film roll.
     
  9. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Subscriber

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    Out of my film MF cameras the only 3 bodies i trust the viewfinder focusing are: Mamiya RZII, Mamiya 7 and Fujica GSW690III, i don't trust my Hassy 501CM yet because i it takes me several seconds to trust the focus for one shot, while with the first three i mentioned i can focus in 1-3 seconds at most and always spot on.
     
  10. Europan

    Europan Member

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    Not quite sure whether this helps in the understanding but so many movies have been shot with mirror reflex cameras and shown in theatres without complaints about accurate focussing. A film motion-picture camera has a revolving mirror shutter unlike a SLR still camera that has it on hinges. The groundglass then is removable/exchangeable, so also needs an exact positioning.

    After an adventure with the repair of a Pathé WEBO M, a small gauge movie camera, where prisms and lenses are tucked in with cork pieces and the like, I appreciate everything else. Basically, every camera can be adjusted, if a groundglass image is not in focus at flange focal distance. I mean, at least to me, that is the point of a reflex viewing system. If in doubt, have a camera checked by a pro. And the result given to you on paper
     
  11. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    If you don't want to wear your glasses, get (as others have said) a corrective lens for the viewfinder eyepiece. You cannot focus the camera if you cannot clearly see the focussing screen!.
     
  12. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Do your cameras permit the use of a diopter lens on the eyepiece? Sort of like putting the eyeglasses on the camera rather than on your head.
     
  13. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    The Nikon F, F2, and F3 all take the same eyepiece correctors IIRC.
     
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  15. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    This is elementary and only works well with lenses stopped to 5.6 or smaller and wide 35mm lenses. No way you will get much by this estimation method and 70mm or longer lenses. It's kinda silly with an SLR, unless you are setting the hyperfolcal distance for quick photography.
     
  16. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    With street photography, I don't bother with focussing. I guess the rough distance I will be shooting at, set the lens to that and use f8 or smaller to give me a good depth of field.
     
  17. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    This works, give it a try. The DOF scales on the Nikkor lenses are pretty accurate. F/8 and be there.
     
  18. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    This is why I am doing it with 35mm and street shots. The faster you get ready the better. Sometimes I see something and I pick my camera and just before or after I shoot I realise I forgot the put my glasses on. Even worst when I forget my glasses at home. But even with glasses, you you know when you are trying to focus on something moving towards you. The faster it moves the less precise or sure you are about the focus. But when you look ate the space without look through the viewfinder and see where the moving object is going to be and you want to shoot, you just see the distance and use it as reference. Much faster than trying to focus the area before the moving object rich there and your have to shot to get what you want. :smile:
    With wide lenses even easier to get it near spot on and everything in frame without looking into de camera. But I still have to wait to see the results.
     
  19. Paul Glover

    Paul Glover Member

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    My experience with trying to focus using the microprism/split prism on my Canon F-1 without my glasses on is: I can't. Maybe with the split prism, if I have a very contrasty vertical line to work with, but I can't even *see* the "out of focus" effect on the microprism part with my eye unaided, and determining peak focus on the ground glass is pretty much impossible.

    On the other hand, I do trust the focusing when I have my glasses on. If I miss focus it's usually because I was rushing it too much. For landscape type subjects I'll often just use hyperfocal distance for the next larger f/stop to the one I'm set at. I've tried zone focusing but have only had some success at very small apertures.
     
  20. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    You could test the focusing on your F3HP by focusing it as you normally would on a target and then use a viewfinder magnifier to see if you managed to achieve critical focus.

    Of course the only Nikon viewfinder magnifier I know for the F3 is the DG2 and it only fits the DE-2 viewfinder and not the high point DE-3.

    [​IMG]
     
  21. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I use my glasses and have no problems, but if the O.P. dislikes using his glasses he could get contact lenses, because there are some eyesight defects screw in camera eyesight correction lenses won't correct, like astigmatism in my case.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2013
  22. sangetsu

    sangetsu Member

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    I use a diopter correction eyepiece on my F3, as I hate wearing glasses myself. I often wear sunglasses, and I just tip these up onto my head when I shoot. To make focusing easier, I use a Beattie intense screen, which is brighter, and allows for precise focus. I often shoot fast telephotos (300/2.8-400/5.6) which have a very shallow depth of field even very far out, and I can focus with a decent amount of precision.
     
  23. kitanikon

    kitanikon Member

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    I removed the center focusing aid screens from my Nikon F bodies from day-1 to have a flat matte screen to focus anywhere without being "distracted" by (or attracted TO) the center....
    ...and l learned to focus anywhere on the screen...that has helped me a lot with the modern AF focusing screens on dSLRs that are much "finer" than the coarse screens of MF cameras ... though VERY CAREFUL/CRITICAL focusing with the nearly invisible microprism on AF screens is possible, but it requires a lot of concentration....I also don't look at the focus confirm LED...too distracting...
     
  24. OldBodyOldSoul

    OldBodyOldSoul Member

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    I have two F3HP with different focusing screens. One has a P screen, which is exactly the same as the standard K but with diagonal split instead of horizontal. The other has an E screen, whose use can be described by what kitanikon said above - it lets me focus pretty much anywhere inside the frame without getting distracted by the split prism in the middle. P is for when I need critical focus and want it confirmed and E is used in all other situations.
    I do still have good eyes (I am 43) so can't really say anything about how all this works with glasses, but there you go.

    Here are different focusing screens for F3, might be helpful
    http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/nikonf3ver2/screens/index.htm
     
  25. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    Thank you.
    I actually don't plan to spend money with it. I would rather use my glasses than to have to spend money and time looking for mos stuffs.
     
  26. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Yes. Street photography with SLRs is often easier with lenses of lower maximum aperture. The lack of brightness and greater depth of field avoids the necessity for continually refocusing, which is the bugbear of SLR cameras for that kind of work. For example, an F2.8 lens pre-focused is easier to use than, say, a 1.4 version, where open aperture viewing distracts from pre-visualising the final image. I often use a 28mm lens which has had the stop down lever removed. In daylight the screen is plenty bright enough to compose with at F8, gives the necessary DoF and cures the Pavlovian focus ring twitch. Spectacle use aggravates the impulse to continually re-check focus.

    Wide aperture SLR lenses have their place but IMO street photography isn't their best use.