how well does manual focus work with D200

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by william kossack, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. I'm debating taking the leap to a D200. One concern is the number of
    manual focus lenses I have and how well the D200 will work with them.

    I just can't afford to replace all my lenses
    william kossack, Apr 5, 2007
    1. Advertisements

  2. You are aware that the focusing screen on the D200 is not a split prism, so
    you have to go by how sharp it looks to your eye. There are 3rd party focus
    screen replacements such as the Katz-eye available however.
    Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Apr 5, 2007
    1. Advertisements

  3. william kossack

    frederick Guest

    The focus indicator light still blinks.
    I'm a bit suspect of the third party screens. While they overcome some
    of the limitations of the original AF screens for MF work, how do you
    know that the focus screen plane is equidistant to the film plane - I
    know some of the screens come with shims to try to adjust for this, but
    usually just one shim. Pull an old lens apart and you'll likely see
    that many different shims are used in layers in order to correctly align
    lens elements. Production-line tolerances aren't good enough to dispense
    with calibrating the AF sensors, so to assume that they are good enough
    for using a MF screen seems odd.
    frederick, Apr 5, 2007
  4. Most times yes. What about situations when there isn't enough
    light/contrast or one is trying to use a lens/tc combo where the combined
    min f# doesn't allow AF to function properly? I just ordered mine to try to
    address this case.
    Seems to me Nikon sells many focusing screens for their film and high end
    dslrs. How are these produced? In fact then how are the original screens in
    the consumer level dslrs produced, especially down at the D40/D50 price
    Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Apr 5, 2007
  5. william kossack

    tomm42 Guest

    I have had a little problem with my 24 f2, but using the electronic
    rangefinder focus with this lens is not too difficult, just took a
    little practice. Nice thing about wide angles, stop them down and you
    have a large depth of field. I have no problem with my 100 mm f2.8 or
    the 105 f2.8 micro at work, focus snaps right in, even at 1:1 mag on
    the 105. I have an old manual 400 Kilar that I haven't used that
    often, but it didn't seem hard to focus at all. I shoot a lot of macro
    and I'm used to a matte screen, may be a little harder switch if
    you're used to microprisms or split image.

    tomm42, Apr 5, 2007
  6. william kossack

    frederick Guest

    heh - yes - but I wonder if my tired old eyes would do better anyway in
    such circumstances.
    I don't think it's so much a matter of how the screens are produced, as
    how exactly they are positioned under the prism. It's the "high-end" bit
    that may be the devil in the detail. The high end dslrs also tend to
    have 100% coverage screens that require really precise placement, as
    opposed to "near enough" placement with lower end dslrs with 95%
    coverage finders like the D200 and below.
    Perhaps the third party screen will be good? I don't know because I
    haven't tried one - only read reports (mainly good) but wonder if there
    is perhaps some placebo effect going on.
    Let us know how your one works. If I was confident that they would
    work, then perhaps I'd get one myself. Then again, Nikon makes lots of
    $$$ from very (over?) highly priced "add-ons" for their cameras (remote
    cords etc etc), so if the idea of interchangeable screens was a good
    idea in their opinion, then I'm pretty certain that they would be the
    first to sell them - just like they already do for high end cameras and
    some film slrs. "Hobbling" camera features with no reason hasn't been a
    Nikon characteristic.
    frederick, Apr 5, 2007
  7. william kossack, Apr 5, 2007
  8. william kossack

    babalooixnay Guest

    As others have mentioned the Katz eye screens are available. I had
    one in my D50 and loved it. I ordered my screen for my D200 weeks
    before I ordered the D200 (they are heavily back ordered) so I could
    put it in immediately upon receiving the D200. I'm completely sold on
    them as I use my old manual focus lenses a lot. As regards the
    shim(s). You do not change the shims. If your old screen had one
    shim you leave that in. If it had 2 shims you leave both in. My only
    regret with the D200 was delaying the purchase as long as I did.
    Remember that the MF lenses must be AI, AI-S or have been AI'd. Most
    of my MF lenses were AI'd with factory kits and all of them work
    babalooixnay, Apr 5, 2007
  9. william kossack

    Tony Polson Guest

    You could apply exactly the same criticisms to manufacturers' OEM
    focusing screens, and those criticisms would be equally undeserved.
    Tony Polson, Apr 5, 2007
  10. william kossack

    Tony Polson Guest

    Your concerns are completely misplaced. The Katz Eye screens are of
    excellent quality. I use one on my Canon 5D, and it makes a huge
    difference to manual focusing.

    Most of my lenses for the 5D are manual focus, and I could not manage
    without an aftermarket screen. Highly recommended.

    Don't hesitate to get one. They will transform your enjoyment of
    focusing manually.
    Tony Polson, Apr 5, 2007
  11. william kossack

    frederick Guest

    The 5d has OEM screens, including a matte screen. My concern isn't
    about the quality of the Katz Eye screens themselves, but about whether
    they are going to be a reliable solution on a system where the
    manufacturer doesn't offer interchangeable screens.
    frederick, Apr 5, 2007
  12. william kossack

    tomm42 Guest

    Exactly what I did with my Canon F1, if you are used to a matte screen
    the D200 shouldn't be a problem.

    tomm42, Apr 5, 2007
  13. Thanks for the input.

    My budget might permit a new lens with the D200. I have a couple lenses
    that I got when I purchased my D70 a couple years ago. These cover the
    moderate wide to tel (18-70) and to tel range (70-300) and work fairly
    well but the 70-300 is too slow (really need a 300 2.8)

    Is there a lens to replace my 300 2.8 manual focus LD glass lens that I
    could afford?

    How are the non Nikon 300 2.8s like the Tameron? Or should I just stay
    with my manual focus 300 2.8 which has served me well for many years.
    william kossack, Apr 5, 2007
  14. william kossack

    cjcampbell Guest

    Your old lens should continue to serve you as well as it ever did. The
    difficulty of focusing with the D200's viewfinder is overblown,
    especially with a lens like the 300 f/2.8. The regular matte screen
    that comes with the camera works very well.
    cjcampbell, Apr 5, 2007
  15. I did too, on my F, F2, F3, 8008, FE-2, and FA bodies since the
    Nikon plain matte screens without the nonsense in the middle to get
    in the way of easy and quick manual focus with these cameras with
    very sharp viewfinders (***assuming good eye correction for one
    meter***) which gave a superior view and feel for the final image
    "look" along with the easier focus. Beginning with the N90 and cheaper
    cameras, the VFs unfortunatel began to be less satisfactory, and
    now things are a mess (the VFs are neither sharp nor bright - GEE!!!).
    And, no, those silly "AF confirmation" blinking lights do not help
    since there is too much "play" in them to be accurate, they are too
    slow to use, and they are too distracting. With the older VFs I could
    easly focus any FL lens (down to 8mm) of any speed (down to
    f16 or slower for some tele and macro combinations) and see what
    I was shooting. Try that with the small digital cameras! Newer is
    all too often not necessarily better...;-(
    David Ruether, Apr 5, 2007
  16. william kossack

    Paul J Gans Guest

    Thanks for the post. It does reraise my old question of
    why the manufacturers don't include a proper manual focus
    screen in the first place?

    I doubt it would interfere with anything.
    Paul J Gans, Apr 5, 2007
  17. thanks

    what I was wondering is maybe a VR lens. I was looking at the BH site
    to see what they offered and the prices
    william kossack, Apr 5, 2007
  18. william kossack

    Tony Polson Guest

    I know. I bought the special screen for manual focusing and it was
    atrocious. It was dark and horribly grainy, and it did not help with
    manual focusing one iota. It is probably the worst accessory that I
    ever bought for a camera.
    Rest assured, they are beautifully made and they work. They are worth
    every single penny ...

    .... probably the *best* accessory that I ever bought for a camera.
    Tony Polson, Apr 5, 2007
  19. william kossack

    Tony Polson Guest

    Manufacturers of AF SLRs have long competed to provide the brightest,
    clearest view through the lens, without paying more than scant
    attention to the needs of users who use manual focus. The clearer the
    screen, the brighter the image.

    Bright, clear screens are great for people who trust AF but useless
    for manual focusing because there is not enough of a surface to focus
    an image on. The surface we need cuts doen the light, and
    manufacturers don't want reviewers saying that the viewfinder image is

    So brightness wins, while manual focus ability suffers. And let's be
    honest, the vast majority of users will never use manual focus.

    Hence the need for aftermarket screens.
    Tony Polson, Apr 5, 2007
  20. william kossack

    Tony Polson Guest

    It is a particular problem with APS sized sensors because the total
    amount of light entering the viewfinder is about half what it would be
    with a full frame sensor, or with film. That's because the
    illumination per unit area of sensor/film is the same, but there is
    slightly less than half the sensor area.

    This affects all DSLR brands about equally, except for the case of the
    Canon full frame DSLRs.
    Tony Polson, Apr 5, 2007
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.