I recently repurchased a 70-200 mm f 2.8 Is MKII to replace the older model that I sold 3 years ago. I never liked this lens because it was heavy and the positioning of the focusing and the zoom rings. The reason for the repurchase was because the image quality of my favorite 100-400 mm IS lens shows its deficiencies when used with the Canon 5DIII.
Since the autofocus functions has improved particular in the 5DIII and the IDx, the need to use the AF ring has greatly decreased to almost never used. So why don't get rid of this ring and transfer the function to the back wheel of the cameras when needed, this wheel can be programmed to do so. This will allow for moving the AF ring forward in the 70-200 and eliminating totally the focusing ring. In addition, a better balancing when handholding the lens/camera will be achieved as well as a reduction in mechanical parts, less weight in plus better weather sealing.
This concept could be applied to other lenses such as my 400 mm f2.8 MKII that has an oversized focusing ring that again I seldom if ever use.
I grew up shooting MF lenses too but the cameras included focusing aids like the split prism which is no longer needed nor supplied on bodies thanks to the AF system. There are optional screens available but trying to select the perfect match adds cost & experimentation and all things considered isn't an improvement in my eyes. My main interest has been fast paced action & in thr old days you pre focused on an area that you expected that action to be & shot when it happened, if it did, but now I let the AF system do all of that & in my case it REALLY delivers.
Aperture ring, No. The focus ring, Yes!
I see no use for the aperture ring, in my world, but I want the focus ring.
The problem with Electromagnetic Diaphragms systems is that they are not 100% accurate nor consistent.
So if you want to shoot Timelapse, for instance, and you set aperture more than 2 stops from wide open, you'll mostly get "flickering" in the final rendered video, because of that inconsistency and lack of accuracy. For that reason it is highly recommended to use old lenses with mechanical aperture ring for time lapse.
As a side note, lenses with mechanical aperture ring were required to shoot a video on a very fast racing car. Current lenses weren't able to "handle" the strong vibrations and accelerations (G's), they simply failed.
Additionally, if you shoot video, a smooth "de-clicked" aperture ring is extremelly useful for filmmaking.
Of course not everyone will benefit from aperture rings, but lot of people will.
Regarding focus ring: it's essential to keep for professional, artistic and lot of other uses, and should never be discarded.
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