Author Topic: What's The BEST Nikon Body for Manual Focusing Lenses?  (Read 673 times)

BruceSD

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What's The BEST Nikon Body for Manual Focusing Lenses?
« on: November 03, 2022, 18:01:55 »
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To me, the biggest issue of using manual focus lenses on modern digital camera bodies is focus accuracy.   I exclusively shoot fast, manual focus lenses wide open, and I miss focus far too often when using an older DSLR without magnified live view.

For example, I can only focus my D700 and D200 using the viewfinder.   I have a 1.5x - 2.5x magnifying viewfinder on each of them, but that makes for an awkward camera to hold, it slows down my shooting protocol, and I still miss critical focus far too often.

But I seem to nail focus most of the time when using my Z6 camera body because of magnified live view on the back LCD.   

Besides the Nikon Z Mirrorless Camera bodies, are there any Nikon DSLR bodies out there that I could shoot that would increase my in focus hit rate?   

Ian Watson

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Re: What's The BEST Nikon Body for Manual Focusing Lenses?
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2022, 19:07:30 »
Probably not without changing the focusing screen. Have a look at focusingscreen.com He should have something you like for one of your DSLRs.

If you feel handy, buy a screen for an F6 and file it to fit one of your bodies.

BruceSD

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Re: What's The BEST Nikon Body for Manual Focusing Lenses?
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2022, 19:21:03 »
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Thank you Ian for the suggestion.  I have tried focusing screens from that company, and they did not help enough.



Roland Vink

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Re: What's The BEST Nikon Body for Manual Focusing Lenses?
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2022, 20:42:00 »
A lot of people like using the Z cameras with manual focus lenses. The ability of the viewfinder to magnify the image, and/or focus peaking, and a brighter image in darker conditions should make accurate focusing easier.

If you want to stay with F-mount cameras, the Df is known for having a good viewfinder screen for manual focus lenses. The lower resolution is a good match for many older manual lenses, and likely hides small focus errors which would be apparent on higher resolution cameras.

The D780 has live view similar to the Z6 camera. You would have to focus using the rear LCD, so not very practical. The optical viewfinder is probably not much different from other DSLRs.

No direct experience with any of these options though...

golunvolo

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Re: What's The BEST Nikon Body for Manual Focusing Lenses?
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2022, 23:18:05 »
Roland explained it already very well.
My experience with manual focus was very bad on earlier bodies like d200 and d700. Changed the focusing screen on the d700 to a split one. It was a little bit better but not with wide open fast lenses. Live View helps a lot but it is awkward to use normally.
I haven't tried the df.
Move to present day and it is very easy to nail the focus with 100% magnification on the viewfinder with the z bodies. I haven't miss since I got then.
My 2 cents.

BruceSD

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Re: What's The BEST Nikon Body for Manual Focusing Lenses?
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2022, 23:53:47 »
Thanks Roland and golunvolo!   

I think I'll be selling my older Nikon DSLRs and will stick to using my many manual focus fast lenses on my Z6.

Ian Watson

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Re: What's The BEST Nikon Body for Manual Focusing Lenses?
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2022, 03:14:23 »
My reply assumed that you preferred a solution for a DSLR. I fell in love with my Z6 for manual focus and would never go back.

To quote a line from Ghostbusters, "You're never gonna regret this..."

 8)

mxbianco

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Re: What's The BEST Nikon Body for Manual Focusing Lenses?
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2022, 08:45:42 »
A lot of people like using the Z cameras with manual focus lenses. The ability of the viewfinder to magnify the image, and/or focus peaking, and a brighter image in darker conditions should make accurate focusing easier.

If you want to stay with F-mount cameras, the Df is known for having a good viewfinder screen for manual focus lenses. The lower resolution is a good match for many older manual lenses, and likely hides small focus errors which would be apparent on higher resolution cameras.

The D780 has live view similar to the Z6 camera. You would have to focus using the rear LCD, so not very practical. The optical viewfinder is probably not much different from other DSLRs.

No direct experience with any of these options though...

I quote every word of your statement, add to it that LiveView is a pain if you're farsighted (like myself), and have to resort to eyeglasses to be able to see anything on the LCD... Besides, LiveView is unfeasible in strong to extreme lighting (snow/ice, for example).

I like the Df, and use many AF lenses in MF, the DC105/2 for example. But on my Z6, the DC105 (MF mode only, it's a screwdriver lens) works wonders with 100% zoom on request.

Z series has changed the ball game entirely, for accurate focussing it is unbeatable.

Ciao from Massimo
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Birna Rørslett

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Re: What's The BEST Nikon Body for Manual Focusing Lenses?
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2022, 09:53:07 »
.....

Z series has changed the ball game entirely, for accurate focussing it is unbeatable.
....


Provided there is enough light present to avoid a grainy, noisy EVF and the lens isn't a [ultra]wide-angle and has sufficient lens "speed". Otherwise the OVF is better, at least my experience with very wide lenses on the Df indicates so.

Dogman

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Re: What's The BEST Nikon Body for Manual Focusing Lenses?
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2022, 18:27:52 »
The thing is, most people forget that in ye olde manual focus days we missed focus a lot and sharpness wasn't as important as content at the time.  We're kinda spoiled for razor sharpness with today's lenses and resolution of the sensors. 

I'm not a sports or action photographer.  Most of my subjects are stationary and most of the time I depend on the green dot to confirm focus with my Nikon DSLRs.  The green dot is not totally reliable but it's helpful and it can get me in the ballpark when I'm fumbling focus.  It's only okay on the D700 and D610 but it's pretty good on the D800 and D810.  I've never used a Z-camera so I can't compare.  My use of other camera's EVFs for manual focusing has been hit or miss, mostly miss.  Using my Fuji X-Pro bodies with MF lenses and focus peaking in bright daylight can be frustrating.
"If it's more than a hundred feet from the car, it's not photogenic."--Edward Weston

Birna Rørslett

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Re: What's The BEST Nikon Body for Manual Focusing Lenses?
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2022, 12:14:56 »
Photography is about content and visualisation, not sharpness. A simple truth often overlooked these days.

BruceSD

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Re: What's The BEST Nikon Body for Manual Focusing Lenses?
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2022, 17:45:42 »
Photography is about content and visualisation, not sharpness. A simple truth often overlooked these days.

Why is it overlooked these days?   Maybe because one can buy sharpness, but you can not buy content/visualisation.

If I were to start a photography website, I would have two main parts to it:   

   1. sharpness/pixel peeping/technical stuff
   2. content/visualisation/art making

Jack Dahlgren

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Re: What's The BEST Nikon Body for Manual Focusing Lenses?
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2022, 07:04:51 »
I’ve used D200, Df, Z6 and Z9 with a wide variety of Pre-AI, AI and AIS lenses. The Df with dk-17 was quite nice and captured lens settings. It was also very good in low light.

But then I tried the Z6 - it no longer had the aperture follower which was useful as it stored the apertures setting with the image, and it took a while to get used to the viewfinder, but once you have IBIS and viewfinder zoom, focus accuracy took a step forward. I had F1 and F2 buttons set for 50% and 200% display. My focus was much better and stabilization also was helpful to ensure you had a steady view even when zoomed in. It also requires an adapter (FTZ or other compatible 3rd party adapters) which is a bit of a pain.

The Z9 builds further on the good qualities of the Z6 with a better viewfinder and a bigger grip which helps support longer heavier lenses than the compact Z6 body.

They are all good.

paul hofseth

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Re: What's The BEST Nikon Body for Manual Focusing Lenses?
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2022, 19:05:46 »
Repeating my gripes about the Z7:

An excellent camera for manual lenses, BUT:
While its magnified view is excellent and not dependent on the rear screen, the framing-destroying tendency of the central focus point to uncontrollably have moved when you get the camera out is most annoying, even if the buttonmaniac designers  have enabled a single push on the "no joy" stick to correect matters. Today I snapped a shot of half a leaf that I wished to have filling the frame because of starting with the magnified view and not noticing that the point had moved.Not a problem with a stationary subject, but highly annoying otherwise. A simple firmware choice to fix the magnification field in the middle would fix matters. Second gripe: the exposure correction wheel can be inadvertently moved. Yes, there is a display announcing its position. but when one is interested in the motive, one disregards all viewfinder informational noise. A button to release it like the leitz R9modification from the R8 would do.

p.

Ian Watson

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Re: What's The BEST Nikon Body for Manual Focusing Lenses?
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2022, 12:27:35 »
If you mean exposure compensation then head to the menu and turn off Easy Exposure Compensation. I think it is setting b2. Now you should need to hold the button near the shutter release while turning the dial.