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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 27
Registered: ‎04-16-2020

Bring Back Microprisms!

[ Edited ]

Many of us are old-time manual camera buffs just now dipping a toe into digital photography because money and time.

We like focusing our lenses, are very used to doing so and will invariably want to adapt old, high quality lenses to these computers-with-lens-mounts that serve as cameras nowadays.

 

So what does the industry do? Welp, it prices full frame DSLRs (with larger and interchangeable focusing screens) beyond the pale for us who have learned the value of frugality and it ensures that entry level APS-C DSLRs (with smaller screens and no microprism/split-image) are excruciating to focus.

 

This truly sux and seems counter-intuitive for sales to us Boomers whose patronage permitted the Japanese camera giants to grow as they did and who still have a decade or two of buying power left.

 

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VIP
Posts: 9,959
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Bring Back Microprisms!


@Quiet wrote:

Many of us are old-time manual camera buffs just now dipping a toe into digital photography because money and time.

We like focusing our lenses, are very used to doing so and will invariably want to adapt old, high quality lenses to these computers-with-lens-mounts that serve as cameras nowadays.

 

So what does the industry do? Welp, it prices full frame DSLRs (with larger and interchangeable focusing screens) beyond the pale for us who have learned the value of frugality and it ensures that entry level APS-C DSLRs (with smaller screens and no microprism/split-image) are excruciating to focus.

 

This truly sux and seems counter-intuitive for sales to us Boomers whose patronage permitted the Japanese camera giants to grow as they did and who still have a decade or two of buying power left.

 


I think interchangeable focusing screens were cost prohibitive in entry level DSLRs.

 

Take a look at mirrorless cameras.  All of Canon's mirrorless cameras have focus peaking on the rear LCD.  Some brands of mirrorless cameras that have EVF, electronic viewfinders, will automatically magnify the area of the active AF point if you start to manually override the autofocus system.  The magnification can be set by the user.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 27
Registered: ‎04-16-2020

Re: Bring Back Microprisms!

Yes, mirrorless is absolutely the way to go with focus peaking and hugely improved EVFs. Plus, having no mirror to clear, every old 35mm lens is adaptable, including rangefinder lenses.

 

I'll be broadly hinting about an M50 for Christmas :-D

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Reputable Contributor
Posts: 719
Registered: ‎10-18-2016

Re: Bring Back Microprisms!

[ Edited ]

@Quiet wrote:

Yes, mirrorless is absolutely the way to go with focus peaking and hugely improved EVFs. Plus, having no mirror to clear, every old 35mm lens is adaptable, including rangefinder lenses.

 

I'll be broadly hinting about an M50 for Christmas :-D


Because there is no mirror to clear, the depth to sensor clearance from the lens mount is much narrower, one of the reasons MILCs can be so compact.  For that reason the lens mount is for EF-M lenses, that are quite different from other Canon lenses.  If you are using legacy lenses you will have to use Canon's additional lens adaptor that is designed for Canon's EF mount, not (for example) the FD mount.  Thus, I would take under advisement the concept of putting "every old 35mm lens" on a MILC -  there may be an adaptor out there somewhere, but it will need some research.

 

Given your explanation of your experience and style of working, I would hazard that you are less likely to be into videography or vlogging, to which the M50 was more inclined. I would suggest comparing it's specs to the M5, a camera more designed for still photography.  I have two of them and they are good, robust cameras.   Although they are not "weather sealed" they are pretty good.  While on a multi-day hike, in an alpine area, I was caught 15km from shelter in a major storm that overwhelmed my camera bag and flooded the contents.  When I made it back I literally poured water out of the cameras.  After careful drying the M5's have worked flawlessly since, my G5X I was not so lucky with...

 

M5 and M50 Comparison 

 

If you review the comparison, you may observe that the M5 has a significantly higher resolution LCD screen, something you may appreciate if you are using it for manual focusing.  The body is metal, as opposed to plastic composites of the M50, the battery life is better in terms of shots, and the M5 has more controls on body, as opposed to the M50 using menus more.  I personally shoot in Av mode mostly and make use of the EV control dial, which is lacking in the M50 - that may not be an issue for you.  The M50 has a better processor but I cannot say that has hindered me - as you will likely agree, photography is more about technique than tech.

 

Considering that Christmas is still some time away, there is a decent possiblity that an M5 MkII will be on the menu by then as well.

cheers Trevor
"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
"A good swordsman is more important than a good sword" Amit Kalantri
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Valued Contributor
Posts: 494
Registered: ‎10-21-2016

Re: Bring Back Microprisms!

They stopped fitting microprism focusing aids to the screen once they started to include autofocus in the bodies because of course the AF is so good that nobody will need manual focusing aids anymore !

 

I believe they stopped fitting them so that we couldn't see how bad the AF really was Smiley Wink

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Reputable Contributor
Posts: 719
Registered: ‎10-18-2016

Re: Bring Back Microprisms!


@Quiet wrote:

Many of us are old-time manual camera buffs just now dipping a toe into digital photography because money and time.

We like focusing our lenses, are very used to doing so and will invariably want to adapt old, high quality lenses to these computers-with-lens-mounts that serve as cameras nowadays.

 

So what does the industry do? Welp, it prices full frame DSLRs (with larger and interchangeable focusing screens) beyond the pale for us who have learned the value of frugality and it ensures that entry level APS-C DSLRs (with smaller screens and no microprism/split-image) are excruciating to focus.

 

This truly sux and seems counter-intuitive for sales to us Boomers whose patronage permitted the Japanese camera giants to grow as they did and who still have a decade or two of buying power left.

 


I started my photography back in the late 70's and got serious in 1981, when I started working in the business.  In those days, as you have commented, one manually focused and I certainly appreciated the ability to have a split screen in those circumstances.  I started with Canon A-1 and Nikon F3 cameras, and in the latter case replaced the standard split screen with a custom "gun sight" one that suited some of my specific subjects.  Over the ensuing years I used a range of camera brands and formats.

 

Having said that, I have adapted to the new technology and moved to the digital environment around 2001.  Studies indicate that with a few exceptions modern lenses are designed and perform better than the old ones - with a few exceptions.  They include not only more sophisticated lens optics but have vastly improved coatings to reduce flare, for example. For telephoto work I would seriously miss the stabilization that modern lenses afford, but that depends on how you take photos - I rarely use a tripod.

 

As far as focusing goes, studies consistently indicate that modern autofocus systems outperform focus by eye in most situations - macro being an obvious exception, for example.

 

I agree that using modern cameras feels different from using the classic SLRs.  While I am and have been a loyal Canon user for over 40 years, I (like you) missed some of the old style shooting techniques from the film era.  For that reason I broke ranks and bought a couple of Nikon Df cameras - a modern, high-end FF DSLR, with the same controls as the old film cameras.  The body has the same feel as using a Nikon F3 for me, while retaining all the technology of the modern era.   As I tried to explain to my daugher's boyfriend (who uses a cell phone), it makes taking a photo an occasion in itself -  the joy is in the process as much as the result.  One of the great benefits of the Df is its ability to take ANY Nikon lens, going back to their very first non-AI ones, and one can get a split screen if you prefer manual focus.  Sadly, Canon has no such camera.  

cheers Trevor
"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
"A good swordsman is more important than a good sword" Amit Kalantri
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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 27
Registered: ‎04-16-2020

Re: Bring Back Microprisms!

[ Edited ]

"it makes taking a photo an occasion in itself - the joy is in the process as much as the result. "

 

Bingo. Golden words. It's a form of therapy/meditation for me. Thanks for the info distinguishing M5 and M50. I most certainly am not going to be vlogging.

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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 27
Registered: ‎04-16-2020

Re: Bring Back Microprisms!

[ Edited ]

"I believe they stopped fitting them so that we couldn't see how bad the AF really was."

 

Actually, Ray, I've spent the past several weeks comparing my manual focusing to my T7's autofocusing and even with a 1.5X optical magnifier AF wins 90% of the time.

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