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Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Focus screens, manual focus on modern DSLR's

[ Edited ]

 I have just this week been getting into my 100L Macro I've been sitting on for months.  I immediately realized when taking pictures of flowers moving in the breeze that AF is going to present challenges.  Even using the focus limiting switches, the camera loses focus too easily, and when I am trying to focus on one part of a dandilion, the AF will kick in and grab another part of the flower when I go to take the shot.

 

I wonder about 3 solutions in particular, and any other tips:

 

1.) BBF.  Would back button focus help?  If so, on SERVO or on ONE SHOT or what?

2.) Live View.  I have heard people use it for macro but I am really not clear why that would be helpful?

3.) Manual Focus.  This is the solution I hit on.  Between manually focusing, and then leaning my body a few millimeters in or out to fine-tune focus, this seemed to work.  I was not sure, however, if I was in focus or not.  

 

Are there good manual focus screens for a 6D, and if so, do they really work on a new type camera?

 

Thanks.

Scott

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,328
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: Focus screens, manual focus on modern DSLR's

Ask here.

 

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/board/45

 

and / or here

 

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=123

 

Between the 2 you'll find some very good talent.

 

 

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,221
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Focus screens, manual focus on modern DSLR's

3 solutions:

1. Get a wind screen

2. Use live view and zoom to focus - much more accurate than a focusing screen!

3. Get a Macro rail. The preferred method of Macro shooting is to use the manual focus to set the magnification and then use a rail to adjust the camera to subject distance to get the proper focus.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,867
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Focus screens, manual focus on modern DSLR's

[ Edited ]

@kvbarkley wrote:

3 solutions:

1. Get a wind screen

2. Use live view and zoom to focus - much more accurate than a focusing screen!

3. Get a Macro rail. The preferred method of Macro shooting is to use the manual focus to set the magnification and then use a rail to adjust the camera to subject distance to get the proper focus.


The above advice assumes, and requires, the use of a tripod.  Make sure you have a very robust and sturdy tripod/head setup, because you will find yourself wanting to take multiple shots of the same subject.  Each shot will focus on a different part of the subject, and then the images are stacked.  The below image was made from 6 shots.

 

The_Quarter.jpg

 

The above shot wasn't taken with a macro lens.  No macro lights, just ambient lighting.  It was intended to be an experiment on stacking photos with an unfamiliar software package.

 

I used a sturdy tripod, Induro AGT-214, and a robust head, Induro PHD3.  I shot it with an EOS 6D, and a EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens with a Canon EF 12 II extension tube.  The image is highly cropped.  The full image could have easily fit a layout of 3 rows of 3 quarters in each row, arranged in a square.

 

As suggested, I used LiveView to manually focus the lens, and then turned it off to take the exposure, with the viewfinder convered.  Instead of a rail system, I simply refocused the lens on different parts of the coin, working my way from the bottom up to the top.  A rail system would have been better, because the focusing distance between successive shots would have been more precise, which would make it easier for the stacking software to digest, I suppose.

 

Grandma's First Spring Rose

 

Then again, you can take a single shot in very bright light such as the one above with an f/16 aperture to counteract the narrow depth of field at macro distances.  The above was taken on a tripod with a Rebel T5, the 18-55mm kit lens, and a 4x closeup filter.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,221
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Focus screens, manual focus on modern DSLR's

My mantis shot in the Macro Shot thread was hand held, shot at f/16, and still the depth of field is really shallow. I used myself as a focusing rail. 8^)

 

I guess we should note that the new EF 100mm Macro has the ability to do front and back IS, so it keeps handheld macro shots more stable.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,867
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Focus screens, manual focus on modern DSLR's


@kvbarkley wrote:

My mantis shot in the Macro Shot thread was hand held, shot at f/16, and still the depth of field is really shallow. I used myself as a focusing rail. 8^)

 

I guess we should note that the new EF 100mm Macro has the ability to do front and back IS, so it keeps handheld macro shots more stable.


That rose was pretty small.  Look at the size of the openings in the chain link fence in the background for a sense of scale.  The buds surrounding it were small, too.  The unopened buds were llittle more than one half of an inch, top to bottom.

 

The rose was less than two inches across, and maybe up to one half an inch deep.  I recall cranking up the aperture until the entire rose was focused, especially all of the "cauliflowers" in the center of it.  The sun was mostly overhead, but at my back, so the rose was very will lit. 

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,867
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Focus screens, manual focus on modern DSLR's

"Are there good manual focus screens for a 6D, and if so, do they really work on a new type camera?" 

 

Yes, there used to be manual focus screens.  They were the split image type of focusing screen, where you align two images in a circle in the center of the viewfinder.  It is my understanding that the lone company that made them for the 6D stopped producing them over a year ago.  I would like to get one myself.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
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