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Suspicious
06-12-2006, 04:38 PM
I was randomly browsing the nifty new digital cameras they were offering at my local electronics store, and I came across a Canon camera that brought up a little zoomed in display on the LCD when you held down the Manual Focus button. While I couldn't really figure out how I'm suppose to focus with that slightly smaller display, it's good to see people trying to figure out a solution to trying to focus with an LCD. What really bugs me about my Nikon Coolpix 5400 camera is that I can't focus as well as I can when I use my old SLR film camera because well.. it's not an SLR and you can't get the same kind of clarity staring into an LCD screen. How do the rest of you handle tricky focusing situations when using a non-SLR camera? Are there any small-ish SLR digital cameras out there? The particular Canon I was looking at had a tiny LCD inside the viewfinder rather than an actual lens.. which didn't work any better than looking at the actual LCD.

ringwraith10
06-12-2006, 06:07 PM
Heh, the camera I use is better than most digital cameras you buy for less than $100, but it's very hard to focus with it. It can "zoom" but when you do that it makes focusing even more difficult, as you can imagine. What I usually have to do with it is take about three pictures of the same thing, then upload them, choose the one that came out the best, and fix it up in photoshop. Sadly, the only digital camera I've seen that's even close to decent costs around $700 and up. You can get an "old fashioned" film camera that takes MUCH better pictures for a better price, so that's what I use.

jtnishi
06-12-2006, 07:47 PM
When I used my old Sony, which had a purely electronic viewfinder, presuming autofocus was out of the question, I used the classic tactic that would probably be implied: figure out where the focus is just a bit too far in one direction, focus back the other way until it's just a bit too far in the other direction, then pick somewhere in the middle. Sorta like the classic statistician joke:

Three statisticians go out hunting together. After a while they spot a solitary rabbit. The first statistician takes aim and overshoots. The second aims and undershoots. The third shouts out "We got him!"

Presuming that wasn't a possibility either, the hope would be that you'd be a good estimator of distance, can set the distance manually, and hopefully depth of field would cover the rest.

Unfortunately, most modern DSLRs are equally impotent about manual focusing. While looking through the glass is somewhat better than looking through an LCD from a resolution point of view, it's still reliant on good eyesight. The top end DSLRs have replaceable finders, so you can use splitscreen finders, where getting focus is strictly a matter of making the object line up. These used to be the standard when all focusing was done manually. However, most people aren't going to buy those cameras in digital form - they run way up there in cost. The screens can be added to lower end cameras, but they're all 3rd party, and are enough of a hack that they shouldn't be done except by those with strong stomachs about taking apart camera innards. ^^;;

Shizzo
06-13-2006, 05:54 AM
My camera has one of those little zoomed in screens that pops up on the LCD to help you focus (called focus assist) but I've learned to not really trust that thing. It's hard to tell what the zoomed in square is supposed to look like when it's in focus, as everything in the square is super pixelated and grainy.

I end up getting way better focus when I use auto-focus than when trying to use the manual one. I just haven't gotten the hang of it yet =( I'll keep trying though!!!

Suspicious
06-13-2006, 02:59 PM
My camera has one of those little zoomed in screens that pops up on the LCD to help you focus (called focus assist) but I've learned to not really trust that thing. It's hard to tell what the zoomed in square is supposed to look like when it's in focus, as everything in the square is super pixelated and grainy.

I end up getting way better focus when I use auto-focus than when trying to use the manual one. I just haven't gotten the hang of it yet =( I'll keep trying though!!!

Aha! That's what it's called. It doesn't seem like it'd help much although it's a step in the right direction.

Sometimes I want to force it to focus on something specific and purposely leave a majority of the photo out of focus, so that would be the situation I would use it for. That's why I kinda want a compact-ish SLR camera so I can pre-focus with the optical viewfinder, then use the LCD to frame the rest of the picture.

TomodachiFriend
06-14-2006, 12:54 AM
If you want a small SLR with a decent viewfinder, your only choice is to get a Pentax. What I do with a compact (non-SLR) is to set my f/stop to 5.6 (depends on your camera and focal length) and focus to infity. I make sure the subject is always at least 6' from me and the picture should come out sharp. Do some tests by lining up objects in front of you to find the correct values and distances.

Fighterspledge
07-06-2006, 01:30 PM
Aha! That's what it's called. It doesn't seem like it'd help much although it's a step in the right direction.

Sometimes I want to force it to focus on something specific and purposely leave a majority of the photo out of focus, so that would be the situation I would use it for. That's why I kinda want a compact-ish SLR camera so I can pre-focus with the optical viewfinder, then use the LCD to frame the rest of the picture.

Then are you using a auto focus camera as of right now? You're on the right track for doing what you want to do, but I guess your camera does not have an LCD screen from what I have picked up. You may just have to adapt to the situation and do both your off-focusing and photo framing from the viewfinder. You're also have a more accurate view of what your picture will look like from the viewfinder I think.

In my opinion I would rather use the viewfinder as often as possible and only use my LCD screen for action and movement shots when I need to be more aware of my surroundings like when the target is moving around or I need to watch out for people walking in front of me and my target.