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Selten Fotog

Manual focus lens a lie?

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I still think it's a real manual focus lens. Why? Very simple. Once you press the shutter button to the middle every electronic thing in the camera stops working: the aperture dial, de shutter dial, every button of the camera "dies", but the manual focus ring doesn't. You can still focus manually while you have the shutter button pressed at the half. I haven't seen any lens with focus by wire that can do this, but I was able to do it with the nikon lenses I had, so it's not a strange or new thing in this world.

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...You can still focus manually while you have the shutter button pressed at the half. I haven't seen any lens with focus by wire that can do this

 

I can focus manually at half-shutter with the Fuji X-Pro 1, several years old, with a focus-by-wire Zeiss Touit 32/1.8 on it.

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 A true manual focus lens would focus manually regardless of being connected to an app(considering it is set to manual focus).  In other words, the app will auto focus your camera even though you're spinning the manual focus ring on the actual lens.   Which then had me scratching my head...I really have NO idea why they even put the little locking button on the lens.... its actually inconvenient IMHO.  Just design the focus ring like the aperture ring on the Q's lens!  Nobody would have been mad at Leica for designing it like they designed the aperture ring. 

 

This is why I used the word "lie" in the title of this thread.  I believe the sole purpose of the locking button feature was to convince people (like both of us) using the Q that it has a real mechanical manual focus feature built into the lens.   Again...this implementation is SO GOOD I was fooled too.  Damn app....ruined everything. 

Once you press the shutter button to the middle every electronic thing in the camera stops working: the aperture dial, de shutter dial, every button of the camera "dies", but the manual focus ring doesn't. You can still focus manually while you have the shutter button pressed at the half.

Edited by Selten Fotog

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I still think it's a real manual focus lens. Why? Very simple. Once you press the shutter button to the middle every electronic thing in the camera stops working: the aperture dial, de shutter dial, every button of the camera "dies", but the manual focus ring doesn't. You can still focus manually while you have the shutter button pressed at the half. I haven't seen any lens with focus by wire that can do this, but I was able to do it with the nikon lenses I had, so it's not a strange or new thing in this world.

For what it's worth, the Leica shop in Washington, DC steadfastly insisted the Q's lens is not focus by wire and was fully manual.  I don't have a Q so can't comment beyond what they told me. 

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For what it's worth, the Leica shop in Washington, DC steadfastly insisted the Q's lens is not focus by wire and was fully manual.  I don't have a Q so can't comment beyond what they told me. 

 

They are definitely wrong. The focus ring is apparently beautifully damped and more than one reviewer thought it was mechanical but it's not.

 

Personally, I don't care, if it feels as good as mechanical focus but has the benefits that focus by wire offers then that seems the best of both worlds

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Of course it is manual focus. Manual doesn’t imply mechanical, and why should it?

The Q instructions manual DOES imply its mechanical.  And as a reader points out later in this thread, so does the Washington DC Leica store staff....and every video you watch on the internet.  The following is taken from page 182 in the manual.

Note:

The infinity setting is located shortly before the mechanical end is

reached. The is necessary in order to ensure that optimal focus

can be achieved under all circumstances - with different temperatures

for example.

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That sentence doesn't imply the focus mechanism is manual.

 

That is a misreading of that particularly unfortunate choice of words. What it is saying is the actual end of the mechanism is beyond the infinity focus point.

 

Aircraft use fly by wire... but they still have elevators, rudders and ailerons... which are all mechanisms.

Edited by Bill Livingston

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The Q instructions manual DOES imply its mechanical.  And as a reader points out later in this thread, so does the Washington DC Leica store staff....and every video you watch on the internet.  The following is taken from page 182 in the manual.

Note:

The infinity setting is located shortly before the mechanical end is

reached. The is necessary in order to ensure that optimal focus

can be achieved under all circumstances - with different temperatures

for example.

When the Q was introduced I had asked a Leica representative about this and they said it was focus-by-wire. This has never been a secret, as far as Leica is concerned. Obviously what mis-information is spread by other parties is outside their control.

 

And sure, the focus ring of the Q is a mechanical device – any focus ring is. This doesn’t change the fact that its movement isn’t mechanically linked to the movement of the focusing element within the lens assembly.

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It is a bit confusing, I read several reviews that specifically said this was true manual focus and not focus by wire. Not official reviews though and they probably misinterpreted something that led them to make that claim. But I was under this impression before I bought the Q, not that it makes much of a difference to me, but it did stand out to me when researching the camera. 

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My take is that the designers / engineers also had to incorporate some method by which the camera would change "mode" to Auto and signal that to the appropriate electronics. (possibly via a sensor or micro-switch).    However its done, it requires electro-mechanical logic circuitry which on other cameras would be incorporated on a mode switch on the top of the body or a touch menu option on the LCD.

Their solution is innovative and maybe a bit quirky but it works without requiring a menu-dive or screen inspection.. 

Edited by lucerne

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It is a bit confusing, I read several reviews that specifically said this was true manual focus and not focus by wire. ...

Yes, you've read reviews which said that this camera has a manual focus. They don't say that there was a mechanical focus, do they? "Manual" as opposed to "automatic". 

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Yes, you've read reviews which said that this camera has a manual focus. They don't say that there was a mechanical focus, do they? "Manual" as opposed to "automatic". 

Yeah, but I think it's the whether it's by wire or otherwise that's being debated. Either way, not looking to stir the pot, I love it as it is, works fantastic from my perspective. I just think there's some general confusion about it. 

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So in summation, we got one guy who's Leica rep told him it was a true mechanical manual focus lens...and another guy who's Leica rep said it was a fly by wire manual focus.  We have multiple video reviewers that were tricked into believing it was the real deal manual focus and even some careless choice of words in the actual Leica manual that uses the words "mechanical" end of the focus.....And some guy who designed an app for the Q...that blew the lid off this issue. 

 

Yes this discovery was disappointing to me, I am not going to lie.   But I guess after I have digested this for several days now and came to the following conclusion.   It is an electronic device bound to break given time.  Yes its one more thing to go wrong, but so what if it is the auto focus motor....its still broken and I would need to get it fixed.   I'm going to enjoy it in all its electrical focusy magic.   Maybe one day someone will figure out how to make that bridge to combine a real manual focus lens, a leaf shutter, and auto focus.....and maybe throw the OIS in the mix...still up in the air on that feature.

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Yes this discovery was disappointing to me, I am not going to lie.

You certainly spend a lot of effort into being disappointed, with your skewed ‘summation’ and all. But whatever floats your boat …

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Lack of research?

Exactly the opposite: there was misinformation on the Internet (gee whiz!) and wrong information from Leica dealers.

Call me old fashioned, but in this price class I think he can expect a bit more accurate info from a large dealer....What does it take: one phone call?

Nonetheless it is not a big deal breaker in my view.

 

So I think he has the perfect right feel a little out of sorts about it, although I personally could care less whether the focussing linkage of the lens is mechanical or wire.

 

Selten Fotog: hope you enjoy your Q...And count your luck that you could get a hold of one!

Edited by tadeyev

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If it's by wire, you won't be able to focus when the power supply fails.

 

and why would that matter since the camera wouldn't function either.

 

Regarding OP's question- why does it matter?? It functions perfectly, the manual focus is exactly what Leica says it is...a manual focus lens.

Edited by digitalfx

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On Airbus we have "manual flying" with FBW flight controls. On Boeing we have "manual engine settings" which is converted into an electronic signal readable by the digital engine control unit. On my BMW motorcycle I keep a "manual setting" of the engine RPM / power thru a throttle sending a signal to an engine control kind of computer... unless I'm in cruise speed mode that I could call "auto-throtle".. And so on.

 

What is manual implies that it's not automatic, and there is no reason why it should be all the way mechanical...

 

I see this focus ring as an analogical to digital converter of a focusing choice. Doesn't make this automatic if you don't want it to be so, therefore it's manual when not automatic :-)

 

And yes my watch is mechanical thus automatic ! 

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