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Focus issues using manual lens


c_j_m
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I've been trying out a Helios M44 58mm manual lens with an X-E2 and been having problems with focusing accurately. 

 

1. With the Helios my results are proving hit and miss. When I set to infinity according the focus dial, it doesn't seem to guarantee sharp shots at a distance. Close up shots seem better but I've just started trying the helios and have been surprised at how many shots focused on more distant subjects have not been very sharp. Why would this be?

 

2. Is the x-e2 viewfinder not wysiwyg for focus purposes? ie if I have confirmed accurate focus through the viewfinder (with the help of focus peaking), all other things being ok (no vibration, lens good enough etc) should the resulting shot be sharp as indicated through the viewfinder? So, even if the lens is not correctly focusing based on the ring callibration, should I not still get a sharp shot?

 

3. if the solution is adjusting the helios lens, can anyone help with the easiest and safest way to do this myself.

 

4. I also get the feel the depth of field based on chosen aperture is often not as deep as I'm expecting e.g even f11 to 16 is not giving me most in focus. I'm assuming the lens correctly stops down on the x-e2 to the chosen aperture? Would this be a correct assumption?

 

While I'd like the focus ring to be accurately callibrated, I'd not be so worried if I merely checked focus through the viewfinder or on screen and got correct focus. Any help getting this combo to work well would be appreciated. I already enjoy the portrait possibilities of the lens but would like to be confident in using it more broadly.

 

thanks

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1. This may be an issue with either your adapter or the lens. Though, since I say that the problem seems to be reduced with closer subjects I suspect its the lens; maybe the manufacturer assumed you use smaller aperture size for longer distances?

 

2. Definitely wysiwyg, if it's in focus in the viewfinder, it will be so on the resulting picture.

 

4. As the helios is a fully mechanical lens, you can check whether the aperture is working correctly by just taking the lens off the camera and turning the aperture ring whilst looking through the lens.

Edited by Florian
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Absolutely, what you see is what you get.

 

I have used the X-E2 for a year or so ( it has been sold now) and several manual focus lenses (adapted or not) and , provided that the lens iw working without a problem, I never had a problem to focus, being a Helios (working well) or Pentax, or Meyer or Chinon or Samyang.

 

Indeed you have to make sure the aperture is closing , sometimes with some adapters and some lenses it doesn’t.

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It's important to remind few things about using manual lens on Fuji

 

- sometimes adapter is slightly thicker/thinner than needed, in that case "infinity" on focus dial will not match real infinity

- DOF scale on manual lens is designed for Full Frame sensor size, and is also accurate for certain photo print size.

- Focus Peaking mode makes image looking much sharper in EVF, so final shot looks less sharp. Just tweak to "STANDARD" EVF view after focusing to see that.

 

I'm shooting with manual lens on X-E2 all the time, and use zoom view for precise focusing when required.

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CJM, is just not having sharp pictures on infinity or is the case, focusing with the split image, the vertical lines don't align each other? If so, it's the adapter not being right for the camera. The point is the focal distance not being correct. I had the same problem with a Tair 3S I had to modify because when I was focusing to infinity, the vertical lines weren't aligning well.

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Replies appreciated and they help to clarify some things. 

 

I've checked the lens off the camera and the aperture works nicely. However, in so doing, I've realised the impact of the M or A settings. Had it set to A (not sure if it's been like all the time, but likely for some photos) and in this setting the aperture doesn't stop down but stays wide open. I'd got it into my head that it was the other way round. So, certainly for some shots, I've likely not been getting the depth of field I was after.

 

Still doesn't fully explain, though, as even when I've seen through the view finder that my subject is in focus and using a fast shutter speed. I'm getting blur. And that's confusing me. As it is wysiwyg, I should be getting what I'm seeing ie a sharp-ish subject.

 

few photos attached (not sure how they'll look after uploading):

 

1. showing close up focus on bamboo leaf which is fairly sharp and ok. Close up shots such as portraits seem to fare ok.

2. rope across pond - here what seems in focus is closest to me (follow rope toward shooting position) whereas I was focusing on the first post and rope there

3 pub across from memorial - I was focusing on the building and, if I remember rightly, focus peaking showed it well in focus along with the brick memorial closer to me. I know there's flare as it was bright and no lens hood, but I expected sharper on the pub and the memorial seems slightly better in focus.

 

It's got me wondering if the problem is human error - me. My eyesight isn't brilliant, but I've done a lot better with other lenses and it's usually not too bad for me to focus a manual lens using the viewfinder. I'll carry on some meaningful experimentation, but, so far, I'm inclined to use the lens just for closer subject matter unless there is a solution, should it be the lens that's not performing properly. (Still doesn't explain how I can see a clear focus on distant subjects, but not get it after taking.)

 

thanks

 

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shooting analog lenses is not always as easy ( I thought you might not have had the aperture operating) one tend to forget they operate completely manually.

 

I just shot a few shots with an adapted Helios 44.

 

Are you sure the dioptric correction is set properly?

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Edited by milandro
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Yep, I quote Milandro, CJM. I also wear lenses and in the early I've adjusted the dioptric correction on the camera due my lenses. Then I've changed lenses with other a little stronger and I've changed the correction consequently.

Also. Your third picture seems to be blurred other than out of focus. You should try take some shots having the camera mounted on a tripod. Anyway use your lens in manual, is better. There should be a thread about Helioses and there are some samples I've posted taken with a 44-2 and a 44M-4, however the pictures are sharper than yours. Check it out and see if we can solve the thing.

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shooting analog lenses is not always as easy ( I thought you might not have had the aperture operating) one tend to forget they operate completely manually.

 

I just shot a few shots with an adapted Helios 44.

 

Are you sure the dioptric correction is set properly?

 

 

 

I'm going to try with a tripod more methodically to verify whether it's me or the camera/lens that's causing the problems. I'll double check the dioptre is correctly adjusted, though I suspect it will be. I've used other manual lenses without issue and, as I'm using focus peaking to confirm in focus areas, this should rule out a dioptre issue, I'd have thought.

 

I'd be very happy to get shots as sharp as your examples, Milandro, so hope my efforts will be rewarded.

 

Ileo - found the link and examples you mention, thanks. I'll give the tripod a go to see if there's a difference. As I've been ok with a manual focus Minolta 50mm 1.4 on the x-e2, no real issues with focusing accurately near or far and that was hand held, I'm still inclined to think the lens is the issue, but I will get to the bottom of it  :)

 

I've just been thinking about the mount adapter setting. What does this do and could this have an impact. I've got a Pentax K3 and, when I use manual lenses, I input the focal length as this is relevant to image stabilisation. The x-e2 doesn't have in body stabilisation so what is this about? I've had it on 50mm, when the helios is 58mm. This wouldn't be relevant at all, would it?

 

Thanks

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No, the input of the focal lens is not relevant, only for M lenses it would be, it only provides data to the efix nothing else. You can tell the camera that you have a 58mm ( it is a variable quantity that you can modify at will), but it won’t do anything to correct the images.

 

 

The Use of a tripod is certainly an important factor ( I shot without one) but that would have played a role only under some slow shutter speeds but not crucial above that, unless you have some problems in holding a camera steady.

 

 

I don’t use any focus peeking aid and simply push the focus assist magnifier button and rely on my eyesight. I found any other method distracting.

 

There is a possibility that the lens is out of alinement but that would show anywhere not only on shots shot afar. You should try another copy.

Edited by milandro
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