I just traded up from a Canon T2i to a 7D Mark II. The difference is like driving an old Gremlin to a modern BMW. It feels premium, has more features than I realized, and I don’t want to stop playing with it. One of those new features that was missing on my T2i, or at least I didn’t know about it if it did exist, is some visual feedback through the viewfinder when manually focusing a lens. This is a big deal as I have considered purchasing a super wide-angle lens from Rokinon or Samyan but feared the manual focus nature of these lenses. I’d still prefer auto focus, but I am much more comfortable with the idea of using a manual focus lens because of this feature.
I’m new to this feature myself, so I am unsure how common this feature is or how different it operates across brands or camera models. With that said, you can follow the steps I will provide in taking advantage of this feature, but they may vary from camera to camera or not be a feature on your camera at all.
Using this feature is easy, though. Simply use a manual focus lens, or switch an auto focus lens to manual focus. Then look through the viewfinder. Half-press the shutter button as if you were trying to acquire focus and keep this button pressed. Now slowly rotate the focus ring. Once you hit focus, the center focus point should light up or provide some sort of indication it’s in focus.
I am currently unaware of this works across other focus points, but would love to be able to select a focus point to use. However, this feature takes the guesswork out of manual focus for those of us in the digital age. previous methods I have read for manual focusing was to use live view and zoom the display, using this to determine focus. The problem with this is that you lose the composition as a frame of reference. You might be able to see focus, but the composition could shift in the process of finding focus and how badly it has shifted might not be seen until after the shot was taken. This also allows for something to enter or leave the frame without the photographer knowing.
If you would care to expand more about this wonderful feature, feel free to write me or comment. As I am new to this feature, I don’t expect to have all of the information correct.