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Old Jun 2, 2005, 5:40 PM   #1
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I own the FZ-15 and I LOVE the camera. Because of the high quality Leica optics, I've been able to capture some amazing shots. The constant 2.8 aperture helps, too. However, the only feature that I'm a bit disappointed in is the Manual Focus feature.

Part of me regrets not getting the FZ4/5 because I opted to go with the larger brother due to the ability to manually focus. However, it's incredibly difficult to judge when your image is sharp enough even with the dinky Manual Focus Aid enabled. Maybe I'm not doing it right but at this point, I personally don't see an instance where Manual Focus will come in handy.

I've heard in the past that the Manual Focus helps when the Autofocus cannot pick up an object to focus on. But the EVF/LCD does not gain up (unless you switch to one of the automatic modes in order to compose the shot) so essentially, you can't see what you're trying to focus anyways!

I tried to manually focus a shot of my wall calender and compared it to a shot taken with Autofocus. Each and everytime, the manually focused picture would be slightly out of focus, just enough to declare the autofocus shot as the winner. Perhaps I am incompetent when it comes to focusing. I'd love some opinions on this matter.
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Old Jun 2, 2005, 7:20 PM   #2
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Comp625 wrote:
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I own the FZ-15 and I LOVE the camera. Because of the high quality Leica optics, I've been able to capture some amazing shots. The constant 2.8 aperture helps, too. However, the only feature that I'm a bit disappointed in is the Manual Focus feature.

Part of me regrets not getting the FZ4/5 because I opted to go with the larger brother due to the ability to manually focus. However, it's incredibly difficult to judge when your image is sharp enough even with the dinky Manual Focus Aid enabled. Maybe I'm not doing it right but at this point, I personally don't see an instance where Manual Focus will come in handy.

I've heard in the past that the Manual Focus helps when the Autofocus cannot pick up an object to focus on. But the EVF/LCD does not gain up (unless you switch to one of the automatic modes in order to compose the shot) so essentially, you can't see what you're trying to focus anyways!

I tried to manually focus a shot of my wall calender and compared it to a shot taken with Autofocus. Each and everytime, the manually focused picture would be slightly out of focus, just enough to declare the autofocus shot as the winner. Perhaps I am incompetent when it comes to focusing. I'd love some opinions on this matter.
Yes, I actually use the manual focus (FZ20). Everything you said is true.. The manual focus takes some getting use to.. It isn't like an SLR manual focus where at one point on the ring, that's it.. As you know you can turn and turn the focus ring on the FZ. From what I read in a much earlier post a couple months ago is that you aren't actually moving glass but focusing mirrors when you turn the focus ring. I think the discussion came up when someone was commenting on the lack of focus distance indication on the ring.

Anyway, I found that to use it accurately, the EVF has to be dead on to my eyesight.. Below is an example where manual focus worked better than auto (even spot).



Hopefully it's obvious that the focal point is the dog. His head to be exact. Auto focus kept wanting to zero in on the tree branch..

The way I use it is this...

MF assist on,
EVF,
Get close,
Half press shutter button (this will remove the MF assist but you can still focus),
Adjust focus ring until image is sharp,
Take picture.

Works for me about 90% of the time. Not perfect but I wouldn't give it up..

Jeff
:G
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Old Jun 2, 2005, 8:26 PM   #3
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manual focus is a added plus , i use it alot on macro shots or prefocus on a spot awaiting a moving object to pass into the camera eye .Big plus
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Old Jun 2, 2005, 10:24 PM   #4
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I use manual focus perhaps 70 to 80% of the time. I use autofocus when I don't have enough time to focus manually since I find the manual focus to be a bit slow comparatively to an SLR camera like the Rebel where the manual focus ring feels like it moves in a fluid motion.

Still there are so many postitives for the Lumix series...I don't really pay attention to the little things that bother me.
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Old Jun 3, 2005, 6:12 AM   #5
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Comp625 wrote:
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I tried to manually focus a shot of my wall calender and compared it to a shot taken with Autofocus. Each and everytime, the manually focused picture would be slightly out of focus, just enough to declare the autofocus shot as the winner. Perhaps I am incompetent when it comes to focusing. I'd love some opinions on this matter.
Have you tried comparing autofocus shots to ones done with assisted manual focus? They should come out the same. Then with this new tool (manual focus set automatically) you can take shots that otherwise are difficult, such as snapping moving objects that move past a fixed (easily focused on) point.

In addition to the example given by jsiladi of focusing through an interfering obstruction, you can use manual focus when the autofocus system decides that the background is more interesting than the foreground. I find that taking portraits of people standing in front of bold verticals (pool fences, palm fronds) can cause the autofocus system to lock onto them instead of the smooth faces of your subjects. Manual focus can save you here if you take the trouble to focus on your subjects' eyes.

Yes, pure manual focus on the FZ series is difficult to get right, but keep on practicing! You do eventually get the hang of it and it makes all the difference in some tricky situations.
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Old Jun 3, 2005, 9:43 AM   #6
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I can recall 2 uses recently, one shooting a flight of pelicans against a cloudless sky, and the other setting up to get a lightning strike photo at night. Just how could I expect the autofocus to work in microseconds in the dark, or on a moving bird on a blank background? I got the bird shot, but the storm passed without nearby fireworks. Next time I will be even better ready. Tom

http://tswill2.smugmug.com/photos/20679435-Th.jpg
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Old Jun 7, 2005, 10:03 PM   #7
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I have the FZ-15 too and love it. I'm just barely above being a complete novice but I use Manual Focus / Manual Mode a lot in lower light situations in which everything in "auto pilot mode" is just a bit underexposed and flash wouldn't be appropriate (like trying to take a picture of a chipmonk in a shady spot right outside the window!). I'm sure there are a 1000 different ways to set the camera to get around that, I just haven't quite figured them all out yet.
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Old Jun 7, 2005, 10:55 PM   #8
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I chose this camera because of the manual focus. Without it, I would struggle with shots like this.

I do think that it is an option that not everyone needs, but I couldn't live without it.
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Old Jun 8, 2005, 2:23 PM   #9
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Photocat: Quote I have the FZ-15 too and love it. I'm just barely above being a complete novice but I use Manual Focus / Manual Mode a lot in lower light situations in which everything in "auto pilot mode" is just a bit underexposed and flash wouldn't be appropriate (like trying to take a picture of a chipmonk in a shady spot right outside the window!). I'm sure there are a 1000 different ways to set the camera to get around that, I just haven't quite figured them all out yet. Unquote

I tend to take a LOT of pictures. Fill a 1g card in a day's shooting. Play around with bracket, burst, and exposure which I set to -1/3.

I set the exposure to -1/3 and bracket to +/- .3 most of the time. If the subject is moving I use the 00 'infinity' burst. I Use P mode most of the time and let the camera do it's thing. For distance I use a TCON-14b for a little more reach. Also spot focus and metering most of the time.

I get perfect pictures 1 of say 25. I burn all to cd's which are very inexpensive now and keep only the '1' on the hard disk for post processing.. I am in the 12000 file name now.

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Old Jun 8, 2005, 6:46 PM   #10
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I used to use manual focus all the time on my film Nikon and continue to use it on the FZ20. I like to play around with lighting and speed and try to hit the sweet spot as often as I can ,and that' entirelydoable with MF.

The FZ20 remembers the last shutter and apeture setting which is a plus.
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