Focusing a Manual Lens on a DSLR Doesn't Have To Be So Hard / by Jason Joseph

For those wanting to use manual focus lenses on today's modern DSLR cameras, it's pretty simple really....until one actually tries to focus. Camera manufactures have tiny focus suggestion arrows usually in the corner of the viewfinder OUTSIDE of the actual frame. To say it's distracting is an understatement. The moment you look at the focus symbols you miss what is going on in the frame. Some are now using overlays on the image to highlight whats in focus. This too is distracting at best. 

I've devised a system that if implemented, will change manual focus on modern cameras in the simplest and most effective manner. I think you'll agree.

The Way it Should Be

My proposal to camera manufactures is non intrusive. It allows the photographer to keep 100% of their focus (pun intended) on the subject, and yet instinctively know when they've locked focus....and which way to twist the barrel of the lens to get there. All without looking at anything but what they are pointing their camera at...not the camera itself.

You know, when you learn to ride a motorcycle, or a mountain bike, one of the first things they tell you...is look ahead at where you want to go. Do NOT look down at the front tire...if you do you'll crash. And its true (I have two broken ribs in my medical charts to attest to it and a video of me going head over handlebars on a mountain bike trail, that you really should see sometime!) And if you think about it ... it's a very Zen like statement. The same holds true for making images, how is one supposed to focus something, by looking at something else.
And over the handlebars we go!

What I propose is a simple 2 to 3 pixel bracket surrounding the right and left sides of the viewfinder. Invisible until a manual lens is detected as attached and in lieu of the tiny triangles lighting up the brackets surrounding the  frame do. Red on the right indicating twist the lens to the right. Red on the left... well..you get the idea. And when you're in focus... the left and right brackets turn green. Watch the video to see it in action.

I've had the idea for the last 3 years and I knew I simply needed to illustrate it. So, I thought as my return to blogging...it might make a fun first post to kick off my brand new website. I figure if people see that by sticking around here... they are going to get original thoughts and not the pure regurgitation that runs rampant on the web.. . then perhaps it will be a refreshing experience for people to pop in and keep me company on my journey.

There is a subscribe box down on the right (If you're mobile just keep scrolling down. You'll find it there) I'd love it if you were round for future posts. I'm going to try to post once  week. And if I have nothing to say, you get a break in our relationship...we can call it comfortable silence.
Because we're good like that. Right?

Cheers. Thanks for being here. And if you get a chance, be sure to check out my passion project: Six Beats Of Separation
And please, if you believe this is how we should focus our lenses, the ones that don't focus themselves, then please pass this around. Maybe it is true what they say...the squeaky wheel gets the grease!
I'll know more soon, as I'm speaking with some of the reps of one of the top 2 camera companies about a project I'm working on. So this will get seen by the right people. It will help when I present this to them, if they see that there is a desire for change... so rally up Internet peeps!
I'll go get the pitchforks!