Author Topic: Manual focusing help (video)  (Read 9725 times)

weldroid

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Manual focusing help (video)
« on: July 15, 2012, 09:52:25 AM »
Inspired by the great response I got at the kit lens upgrade thread I keep bugging with my beginner's questions. :P

It seems people are happy using full manual lenses for video work. Still, on a real manual lens (where there is no electronic coupling between the lens and the camera, let's say a Samyang 35mm or an old Nikon with an adapter) the only feedback on whether a shot is in focus or not is visual. TBH I sometimes struggle even with magic zoom to get things sharp, and there are times when I realize during editing that I have a shot that is unuseably out-of-focus.

So are there any tricks you can use to get focus right when you have a lens that is all optics without any electronics?

- EVF?
- External monitors?
- Other tricks?
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southerncreative

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Re: Manual focusing help (video)
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2012, 01:13:18 PM »
My #1 tip would be that Peaking is your friend.  :) That, and lots of practice.  And give yourself enough depth of field to keep everything in focus even if you don't get it exactly right.

Others may have some better tips but those three have gotten me through ten years of manually focussing lenses on many cameras.

1%

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Re: Manual focusing help (video)
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2012, 12:10:41 AM »
Peaking and the magic zoom split screen you get when you hit +

rainless

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Re: Manual focusing help (video)
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2012, 10:35:48 AM »
Peaking, Magic Zoom, AND an external monitor!

...why take chances? :p

3 inch lcd is nice... TEN inch ips monitor is MONEY.

You can cross your fingers and hope that you're in focus... or you can BE in focus.
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weldroid

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Re: Manual focusing help (video)
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2012, 01:05:35 PM »
Thanks for all the insight!
Hmmm, I did overlook the powers of focus peaking... I wouldn't say I can nail focus with it as reliable (yet?) as with digital zooming in 10x, but I'm getting used to it, and it made me think differently about being in focus (in terms of "in focus" meaning a 3d area in front of me rather than one single point).

External monitors, well, that might be something to put on the list, right after some kind of handheld rig (I need something to attach that damn screen to :))
Weapon of choice:
600D, EF-S 18-55 ISII Premiere, Luminance HDR, Blender, Luxrender
http://www.vimeo.com/weldroid (http://soundcloud.com/weldroid)

mediabakery

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Re: Manual focusing help (video)
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2012, 11:46:55 AM »
ML Peaking is not 100% reliable but saved me so many times while filming in bright sunlight ;]

he56ys5ysu7w4

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Re: Manual focusing help (video)
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2012, 07:20:47 PM »
I just ordered a V3 LCD Viewfinder from Hong Kong.
From what I've read it's a lifesaver when it comes to focusing by blocking out sun and magnifying the LCD.

I've tried both peaking and that Magic Zoom but cannot befriend them.
My hope is with the LCD viewfinder. Only bad thing is I can't use it with the LCD swivled out per default.
Amateur shooting family stills and video
Gear: Canon 600D/T3i -- Sigma 30/f1.4 EX DC HSM -- Canon EF-S 15-85/f3.5-5.6 IS USM -- Canon EF 50/1.8 II -- V3 LCD Viewfinder loupe -- Velbon RUP-L40
Editing with LR3 and FCPX

weldroid

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Re: Manual focusing help (video)
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2012, 10:24:02 PM »
The display's resolution is less than full HD if I remember correctly (around half), so even with a viewfinder you might find magic zoom (or 10x magnification triggered at zoom - I just found this one recently) useful. Also, what they say is that having a viewfinder helps keeping the camera stable... anyway, I would be very interested to hear how it works out!
Weapon of choice:
600D, EF-S 18-55 ISII Premiere, Luminance HDR, Blender, Luxrender
http://www.vimeo.com/weldroid (http://soundcloud.com/weldroid)

ilguercio

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Re: Manual focusing help (video)
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2012, 11:33:23 PM »
Yeah, i bought one of those cheap chinese lcd viewfinders and not only it is very good for the money (13 euros) but also it helps stabilizing the camera.
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he56ys5ysu7w4

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Re: Manual focusing help (video)
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2012, 10:13:29 PM »
The display's resolution is less than full HD if I remember correctly (around half), so even with a viewfinder you might find magic zoom (or 10x magnification triggered at zoom - I just found this one recently) useful. Also, what they say is that having a viewfinder helps keeping the camera stable... anyway, I would be very interested to hear how it works out!

Got my V3 today. Took a week from dispatch.
Together with magic zoom triggered by focusing it works really great for manual focusing (tip: don't rely on the green bars solely). The magnifier also magnifies the low res lcd so using 10x zoomhelp in low light actually makes it harder to focus.

Only played with it indoors after sunset but like it alot. I can imagine that not being able to use the loupe with the lcd flipped will be an issue. I might have to do that mod thing on youtube. We'll see.

weldroid, I can confirm that the Sigma 30mm focus ring will trigger the magic zoom.

Edit: tried the follow focus with the loupe and guess it can be handy in some situations.
Amateur shooting family stills and video
Gear: Canon 600D/T3i -- Sigma 30/f1.4 EX DC HSM -- Canon EF-S 15-85/f3.5-5.6 IS USM -- Canon EF 50/1.8 II -- V3 LCD Viewfinder loupe -- Velbon RUP-L40
Editing with LR3 and FCPX

he56ys5ysu7w4

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Re: Manual focusing help (video)
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2012, 10:19:10 PM »
So are there any tricks you can use to get focus right when you have a lens that is all optics without any electronics?

To add; if I have a static object then I use the 10x and focus prior to record. Using a small aperture helps keeping stuff within dof.

Gonna fix a pin/stick for the focus ring on the Sigma for easier focusing.
Amateur shooting family stills and video
Gear: Canon 600D/T3i -- Sigma 30/f1.4 EX DC HSM -- Canon EF-S 15-85/f3.5-5.6 IS USM -- Canon EF 50/1.8 II -- V3 LCD Viewfinder loupe -- Velbon RUP-L40
Editing with LR3 and FCPX

Chungdha

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Re: Manual focusing help (video)
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2012, 05:07:04 AM »
I find magic zoom very useful, yet sometimes it gets in the way when something goes towards that corner it be blocked. Focus Peaking is great but yet sometimes also it covers up all the edges blocking me to see if it is in focus or not. Mostly the problem is with wider lenses and makes it harder to see if it is in focus or not, with longer lenses the dof plus seeing things close up makes it easier to see by eye if things are in focus or not.