Originally Posted by patrickjames
What sort of weddings are these?
(Sorry, couldn't resist the question)
Completely agree with the rest of the para quoted.
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
That's a legit question Roger. I carry my digital in my left hand (by the lens without a strap) and a film camera (usually a Canon 1n) on a shoulder strap. The Canon sports a 50mm so when I want to use it, I can just grab it with my right hand and away I go. Keeps it simple. And it allows me to say that I can shoot with one hand tied behind my back!
I have both autofocus and manual focus cameras/lenses and I have come to an interesting realization; I work much faster with manual focus cameras/lenses than I do with the autofocus cameras/lenses.
Maybe I am biased toward manual focus equipment because it was my first experience with photography. However, I have purchased the latest, fastest, AF combos (yes, even digital), and I still take pictures quicker and more accurately with a Nikon F3HP and whatever manual focus prime lens I place on it.
I recently went shooting (St. Patrick's Day parade in Ybor City, Florida) equiped with my F3HP/MD4, 24mm 2.8 AIS manual focus lens and a D200 with a 17-55mm 2.8 lens. I took turns using both cameras until I realized that I was capturing all the action more effectively with my F3! The AF of the D200 kept roaming and the metering was not as accurate as with the F3. I put the D200 back in the bag and continued shooting with the F3.
I conducted a similar experiment with my F3HP and my F100, F3 and my N80. The results were the same. I was able to cature images much quicker with my manual focus F3 than with my F100 or N80.
Manual focus lenses are also constructed much better than their AF counterparts. I have broken a few Nikon AF lenses (primes and zooms), but I have yet to break a manual focus Nikon lens! Just recently I broke the AF/M switch on my Nikon 80-200mm 2.8 lens and it is only 3 years old. I still have, and use, a manual focus Nikon 105mm 2.5 AIS lens that I purchased new back in 1984 (that was 23 years ago)!
The good thing about AF lenses is that everyone seems in a rush to buy them, so the prices on manual focus lenses keeps dropping. I just hope no one catches on to this so I can keep stocking up on pristine manual focus Nikon AIS lenses!
This is true. I used to use Contax/Zeiss until I switched badk to Canon, and now I really miss that Zeiss glass. Lately I have been eyeing some lenses because I can't believe how cheap they are now! I might go back to Contax for my personal work. Unfortunately, I can't get away from Canon because I still need it for work.
Originally Posted by snegron
My autofocus experience is pretty limited, but one reaction is that I like manual focus because it stays where I put it! I have gotten into some quasi-still life work -- photographing paintings, sculpture or pottery. Especially on unglazed greenware pottery where there isn't much in the way of defined patterns and edges, AF hunts all over the place, sometimes for quite a long time, then when I put the next piece down, we start all over again.
With manual focus, I start from where I left off, only need a minor tweak at most. I know I'm a curmudgeonly old Luddite, and maybe with a high-end camera under some circumstances AF could be better. But my current position is that when I get too decrepit to turn a lens barrel, I'll quit all together! :rolleyes:
That is to say I'm in no hurry to abandon my Canon A-1/F-1/AE-1 or Bronica stuff.
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I get the feeling from the comments that most of you don't have much experience with autofocus. That's just fine, if you get sharp pictures with what you currently use, then there is absolutely no reason to change.
I wouldn't say that manual focus gets sharper focus. Autofocus is usually spot on most of the time. It also isn't slow, and is much faster than manual focus. A USM motor, which is in the majority of Canon's lens, can go from near to infinity in a split second, and can usually do so pretty fast. AF can lock onto any subject with sufficiant contrast, and I've rarely run into a subject with not enough contrast for the autofocus. In that case there is usually something nearby with enough contrast to focus on.
Prefocus, zone focus, and hyperfocal are great when you have fast film, a lot of light, and can use a small aperture.
I use both manual focus and autofocus, and thoroughly enjoy using both systems.
The reason I asked is because I find myself better at manual-focusing with a wider lens, but with any lenses above 50mm, I find auto-focusing faster. I have an EOS 3 with interchangeable screens for manual focusing lenses, but it's hard for my eyes when I tried to manually focus an object/person further than 15 feet.
Well, Patrick, Steve and Snegron (edit: and now Soeren as well) all say that they have both MF and AF, and so do I (I've owned autofocus SLRs for 10-15 years, and tested others for magazines), so I think that most of us DO have experience with autofocus.
Originally Posted by reub2000
If you get acceptably sharp pictures with what you currently use, there is absolutely no reason to change. But the original question was why anyone would use MF instead of AF and I think that most of those with experience of both have given him pretty good answers.
Last edited by Roger Hicks; 03-23-2007 at 04:08 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Now with added Soeren, the new miracle ingredient
I use my AF bodies in both modes and I must say that I don't find the AF to be less acurate or slower than myself in normal conditions. I also find them better to focus manually than my FE2 because of the bigger and brighter screens so I feel more comfortable doing MF in soft contrast and lowlight conditions with the F90X and F100 . Shooting macro I always focus manually, here AF is useless. As I wrote in another thread I switch back and forth between MF and AF blending AIS lenses with AF bodies and vise versa.
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Originally Posted by reub2000
For me, it's in the same bracket as automatic exposure (or even automatic transmission in cars!)
The purist, I suspect, will always want to have full control over what his machine is doing, but perhaps with some types of photography (sport, reportage, nature, etc.) that "full control" includes the option to decide to use auto-everything!