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Manual Focus Challenges with D800, Canon 5D Mark III

Cuong T writes:

I just read your review of D800 and D800E and its comparison with Canon 5D Mk3 and Leica M9. It's excellent and meticulously done report. Congratulations.

I have one question. One potential blocker for my move from 5D Mark II to either D800E is reportedly, D800 is that they are very difficult to focus manually. There is no after market focus screen yet and the magnification is too low.

Could you share your comments and add to your review/blog your thoughts/analysis of using D800E with Zeiss or Leica R (via adapter of course)? Thanks again for an excellent review.

DIGLLOYD: First, there is no Leica R lens adapter for Nikon, the flange focal offset is too little. The lens has to be modified (tiny parts, but easy for most lenses) using a conversion kit from Leitax.

The same issue exists for 5D Mark III (3) as for the D800/D800E: it's the focusing screen in both brands which is designed for autofocus and other considerations (electronic overlay). To the eye, the sharp/deblur effect even with a fast f/1.4 lens can look more like f/2.8 - f/4, making it difficult to discriminate precise focus.

Nevertheless, I have had good success with lenses through 35mm focal length (18mm - 35mm) with manual focus on the D800/D800E. At 50mm and wide apertures, it becomes more difficult, beyond that it is hopeless to get consistent results, for me at least— Live View with a loupe is the answer (this can be done handheld).

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