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Amazeballs

Manual focusing on fly-by-wire MFT lenses

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I just bought a used Pana 25 1.4 and besides its stunning imagery, I was very surprised by its manual focus capabilities, which was unexpected to me. This lens was produced back in 2011, but its the best manual focus fly-by-wire native MFT lens that I've used so far and by a great margin. I own 14-140 zoom (3.5-5.6), 42.5 1.7 and 20 1.7. They all are PITA for manual focusing, especially 42.5 1.7 which I would consider otherwise a superb small and affordable lens, but its MF is just so wired - one second very slow, then suddenly blazing fast. Completely unreliable for video and I hate its unpredictable acceleration and speed. Who's genius idea was to setup modern MFT lens behaviour like that? The 25 1.4 has fast smooth MF with close to none acceleration so I can easily pull focus on any shot without any extra effort or shaking my camera. Its reliable and constant. But all other lenses I've tried are plain terrible at that!

So I wounder, WHY PANASONIC MAKE THEIR CURRENT LENSES BEHAVE THIS WAY?!  

And it would be so EASY to correct, just by adding some extra menu setting with a profile for every lens for a) acceleration control (starting from zero) and the lens speed itself. Only two freaking parameters and thats all. That would safe so many people from constant struggle with that MF flybywire bullshit. 

And now try to explain my why its not done yet? And consider that Panasonic stronghold is video, they are perceived by many as video camera makers, they excel in video.. but, they did not offer any solution in that department for all this years. Unexplainable idiocy. 

BTW, maybe some hero hacker can modify MFT lenses firmware to change those parameters? That would solve this too. 

P.S. Well at least now I have one lens with which I can focus comfortably. 

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Didn't use Oly lenses yet. The thing is - I do love my Pany lenses optically, size and price wise. But that MF tuning they made for them is just so stupid. And even if someone need it, like still photographers (I didnt find it useful when I was taking photos), it would be so adequate to change their behavior in photo and video photo, which is an easy peazy programmable thingy. Yes I watched that Camerastore-tv video of course. It just frustrates me, that Panasonic being generally a company that tend to listen what its customers want, ignores that matter completely. And Oly PRO lenses are very expensive and will miss Dual IS on my G85 body. For now I am happy that I can focus comfortably with my 25 1.4, but for future purchases I will tests every lens focusing mechanism thoroughly from now on. 

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14 hours ago, jase said:

@Amazeballs the Summilux 15 has exactly this linear focus change, regardless of the speed you twist the ring. Highly recommended. Summilux 12 should be the same, @jonpais should be able to confirm that,

Jordan tests the 12mm in the TCSTV video, showing that speed affects the focus. :( 

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The total scale of the focus is 0 to 1024, however focus is driven in increments of 10 (fast) or 1(slow) and depending on the lens there are around 20-25 'zones' for want of a better expression.

So if you use the 'fast' control this means you go from closest to furthest possible focus in 20 to 25 commands and if you use the 'slow' command it will be 200 to 250.

Lenses on a speedbooster will have much coarser control and can often only be 10 'zones'.

 Trying to get anything smooth as well as precise requires some tricky stuff

Imagine driving your car if it could only go 60 miles an hour or 6 miles an hour.

My view is that if you want to do manual control of those lenses then its best to do it completely by wire (as in with an external controller) as its more predictable than interpreting manual moves of the barrel on the lens.

I'm wondering if there would be any love for a linear controller that was just on a fader to do that where there was hard stops at either end?

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20 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

The total scale of the focus is 0 to 1024, however focus is driven in increments of 10 (fast) or 1(slow) and depending on the lens there are around 20-25 'zones' for want of a better expression.

So if you use the 'fast' control this means you go from closest to furthest possible focus in 20 to 25 commands and if you use the 'slow' command it will be 200 to 250.

Lenses on a speedbooster will have much coarser control and can often only be 10 'zones'.

 Trying to get anything smooth as well as precise requires some tricky stuff

Imagine driving your car if it could only go 60 miles an hour or 6 miles an hour.

My view is that if you want to do manual control of those lenses then its best to do it completely by wire (as in with an external controller) as its more predictable than interpreting manual moves of the barrel on the lens.

I'm wondering if there would be any love for a linear controller that was just on a fader to do that where there was hard stops at either end?

Here is the man who knows the stuff!

I would definitely buy this controller you are talking about. Fader seems like perfect solution. https://www.turntablelab.com/products/mixfader-wireless-portable-crossfader ?

This one fits, just a bit too expensive for such a simple task. And where to mount it? I like to shoot hand held for example. 

Maybe you should start a kickstarter project BTM? And develop your own type of controller for that purpose. With easy mounting on a camera or any kind of gimbal. I would participate by all means. 

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On 20/9/2017 at 2:27 PM, jonpais said:

Have you tried any of the Olympus lenses with clutch manual focus?

I have the 12-40 and had the 40-150. They're quite good with a follow focus, but really difficult from 5mt to infinity and the feeling is not like on the manual lenses. 
You can easily feel some click and stops when you start to focusing. In my opinion if you need to rack focus with those 2 Olympus lenses you can't without a good follow focus.

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On ‎9‎/‎20‎/‎2017 at 1:57 PM, Jonny said:

It is pretty good but the focus throw is a too short.

Modern AF lenses with geared focus typically have very short throw distances since they are not designed with manual focus in mind, so if you are trying to get critical focus (as would be the case if you were using manual focus) they can be very tricky to use.

A wired lens should allow for massive throw distances if you do it slowly and evenly. Obviously there is technique involved and some element of skill on the part of the operator - you can't just twist the focus ring without thought if you want it to be consistent. For getting critical focus a wired lens is far superior to any modern geared lens. 

For geared lenses if you want decent throw distances you pretty much have to use pre-AF old glass. Modern geared glass is crap for that.

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