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D610 using ai lens/ focusI haveing issues?

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#1 153380


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Posted 04 December 2015 - 11:34 AM

I have a small (but good) selection of old Ai lenses that I have been using for decades on my F series cameras.


I want to go digital and continue using these lenses.


My  concern is how easy or difficult it will be to manual focus with these on the D610, which considering quality and price

is the camera I would probably go with


Most of my photography is street  and birds, so I need to be able to focus reasoanbly fast.


I know that I could rent  the camera for a few days and find out that way but I thought one of you may

have some experience with this and be able to guide me in the right direction.


Thanks in advance

#2 Black Pearl

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Posted 04 December 2015 - 12:44 PM

Its not impossible but I wouldn't say its fast or totally reliable as there are no optical aids on the viewfinder screen like a split-screen as you would have on a MF camera. 

You can use the AF confirmation dot at the bottom of the display to help check and you can use Live View with magnification - the latter is the most accurate but very slow.


My opinion would be to get some nice AF glass as your main choice and use the old MF stuff for fun.

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#3 james23p


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Posted 04 December 2015 - 12:50 PM

I have used older MF lens with my D600 with no issues at all in good light. In low light I do rely on the AF confirmation dot.


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#4 Art


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Posted 04 December 2015 - 03:23 PM





I have a D800 and more than a few manual lens I use on it.  For most things that don't move, there are absolutely no issues.  I suspect the D600 has the focus indicator in the viewfinder:


> <


It turns green when you hit the sweet spot!


The challenge is not the lens on the camera, but YOU trying to nail the focus!  Birds in Flight?  Good Luck.  You could very well have a knack for this we are not yet aware of, but.... the likely hood of getting any really good images this way is slim to non.


You can of course, do excellent bird photography with manual focus lens.  Follow my link here:




I have posted all sorts of images in this thread.  It is a review of the Nikon 400mm f3.5 manual lens I use with my D800.


I also have a 500mm Reflex, 85mm, 35-105mm lens, all manual and all work really well.  Nikon does have a compatibility list they publish on their site, if you are keenly interested in seeing what can and can't work.


I have purchased all these manual lens for fun... they were all well priced and I like to experiment.  Where I am serious, I have AF as I can't see well, and trying anything like Manual focus on a moving target is an exercise in frustration and futility.  Robin gives the same advise above, good advise.


Look at it like buying a Ferrari and then putting a set of GENERAL TIRE, regular sized all weather tires on it..... not the same as the Pirelli, low profile, summer racing tires!  Same idea.


Maybe, let us know a budget.... I have gone through all this and have all sorts of permutation of lens that I have purchased.  Happy to guide you further or give you an opinion or share an experience you might relate to.

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#5 153380


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Posted 04 December 2015 - 05:50 PM



Your comments and advice are most appreciated.

The birds that I (try to) photograph are stationary, although I have lucked out a few times and caught  a few in-flight.


I am an old geezer, wearing tri-focals which is why I am so concerned about focusing.

My shooting is strictly for fun and usually I am not in a huge rush to press the shutter button,so

if the green dot works well, as you say, I will probably give the D 610 a try.


Thanks again,


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#6 Pete


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Posted 27 December 2015 - 09:14 AM

I have a pretty large collection of MF glass and I use it on my D800E and Df.  I keep looking at changing to a split image focus screen but haven't got around to it.  I am using the 'green dot' focus indicator on both cameras and it works well.  I have read that it is not accurate at extremely wide apertures but I use my Noct wide open and no issues.  The MF glass is fun for landscape, travel and street photography but for birding and wildlife, Nikon makes some awesome big glass.  Among others, I have the new 300 F4 PF and would highly recommend it along with your MF glass.


#7 justshootit


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Posted 27 December 2015 - 09:54 PM

Getting BIF or even PIF at an airshow is not at all easy with MF, even with the fastest glass.  I have an old 400/4 Tamron that I still use occasionally on the D610, the D1x and on my film bodies including the F3.  Even with the split screen and microprism collar, it ain't easy to get these subjects into sharp focus with MF.  As a matter of fact, I finally pulled the standard screen in the F3 and used a solid ground glass screen because keeping the plane or bird in the split-image is just about impossible at this magnification.


If you want to track focus anything, get AF glass - preferably something like the 300/2.8, 400/2.8 or 600/4.  Having a big base aperture helps with the focusing.

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Why automated 35mm/Digital cameras? Event photography is about capturing moments. It often requires quick response. Well done automaton can be your friend or your enemy. It all depends on knowing what it can and can't do. "A man's got to know his (camera's) limitations." paraphrasing Dirty Harry...

#8 Pete


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Posted 27 December 2015 - 10:48 PM

If budget is a concern, I am hearing really great things about the new 200-500 Nikon.  I sometimes go to air shows with old prop planes so VR is really important because I like to use slow shutter speeds to get nice prop blur.  Jets, I shoot as fast shutter speed as possible.  The last air show, I had the 300 PF +TC-14EIII on the D800E and a few MF lenses with the Df.


#9 BadGuy


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Posted 13 January 2016 - 09:54 PM

I recently got  a chance to use a MF Hasselblad Planar 80mm 2.8 lens on my D610.  The only thing "automatic" you can use on the camera is Auto-ISO.


MF isn't that difficult as long you know the 3 basics - shutter speed, aperture and ISO.  If you do landscape photography for example, you have more time to adjust and shoot to your hearts delight.  If you were shooting sports, you will have a harder time (not impossible) to get everything in focus.


You will enjoy shooting with older lenses, they have that natural feel without the "extra coating" on today's modern digital lenses... hard to explain, I am sure those that shoot film can sorta relate what I am saying!

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