Ease of focus 50 f1.2

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by joseph_panico, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. I read the many PN posts about the limitation of manual focus at f1.2. But due to NAS ( any support groups for this? ) I picked-up one anyway. Seems the focus takes a little effort but nothing too burdensome even in low light situations. Do the newer auto focus - using focus confirmation - such as the Multi-CAM 3500II in the D750, or the improved versions in the D5/D500, contribute to easier manual focus compared older versions?
    Zoe remained still for her photo which, judging from her expression, may tell the entire story. Unsharpened, unembellished from DxO 10.
    00dhpR-560401884.jpg
     
  2. It is a great lens, not free of niggles, but I very much like mine.
    The problem with focussing at f/1.2 at closer distances is not only that there is extremely little DoF, it also seems to shift a bit at the widest aperture. The focus screens (and AF) in DSLRs are optimised for ~f/2.8, so sometimes it's just slightly off, but you won't notice. At f/2, this issue is gone, and other fast primes, I also do not see this problem as easily as I see it with this lens (hence I feel it's focus shift, not only me being clumsy). It's also not a lens where I really trust the focus confirmation dot - same story basically. On my F3 and FM2, it's much less of a problem, so I just think the main issue is that modern viewfinders aren't bright enough.
    Of course, you get it right often enough, and the widest apertures have a funny rendering, not very clinical nor supersharp, but nice moody. Then at f/2, things go normal, and seriously sharp. The way I see it: it's an extremely usable good allround performer, with funky f/1.4 and f/1.2 thrown in for fun.
     
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Old trick --with my old 55/1.2 AI, I would use the scale on the lens and set at f4, hyperfocal -- at 7 feet I would have almost a foot and a half DOF, certainly enough for a portrait. If you get used to doing that, particularly at greater distance, with smaller apertures, you can shoot quickly without focusing.
    I think your sample shot works quite well, with the eye in sharp focus.
     
  4. I doubt AF sensors (which drives the green focus confirmation) has much bearing on how easy it is to focus the f1.2 lens. That is not where Nikon focuses it's technology.
    A good focusing screen made for manual focusing makes it a lot easier though. As does a camera with good optics in the viewfinder.
    On film the difference between in sharp and not sharp is not so abrupt. I believe it has to do with the emulsion being thicker and also that the grain softens the image a bit. So I find almost all lenses easier to get in focus on film than on digital.
    I have the AIS version, bought it new from B&H about 10 years ago.
     
  5. I never have an f/1.2 lens but back in the late 70's when I was shopping for my first camera I thought one advantage of the fast lens is that you can focus easier even if you don't want to use the large aperture.
     
  6. Katz eye makes a focusing screen for modern DSLRs for this kind of usage.
    here is a link.
    http://www.katzeyeoptics.com/page--Katz-Eye-Plus--plus.html
     
  7. Seems like they are going out of business, very unfortunate!
     

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