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View Full Version : At what age did you start to have trouble focusing?


SaveKodak
11-03-2016, 06:09
I'm 32 years old and yesterday I discovered that I could not accurately focus the 75/1.8 Heliar wide open (on an M 262). I am not a glasses wearer, and have never had vision problems! This makes me wonder if I should ever even bother buying a 50/1.4 over a 50/2. Or perhaps there is simply a Contax G2 in my future. (scary!) :eek:

jsrockit
11-03-2016, 06:15
Once I hit 41 years old, I saw drastic changes in my low light and close-up vision. And I've been a glasses wearer for 30 years. It hasn't affected my focusing yet though.

Godfrey
11-03-2016, 06:28
I started wearing glasses when I was in third grade.

I've not yet had any difficulties focusing a camera, and I've passed my 62nd birthday.

Focusing a camera is a matter of technique, not vision, unless your vision is truly deficient; I can't read (unless the typeface is very large) without my glasses on but I can focus either the M or the SL without any problems even without my glasses.

G

raid
11-03-2016, 06:42
When I hit 60.

Ko.Fe.
11-03-2016, 06:45
I was not sleeping enough for three days. Yesterday I was not able to see dual images of the eye in M-E RF patch at 1-2 meters. Had good sleep last night, checked exactly same light, place, eye this morning, I could see it again.

Since I've started to heavily use iPhone and iPad my close up vision declined to +1.25. Well, if not Apple, then my age, because I could see better in the dark if driving and using my wife glasses. It happened around 48.

frequencies
11-03-2016, 06:48
At around 33 here, but didn't realize it until recently (I'm 35 now). I've been contemplating switching to a rangefinder to fix the problem, but apparently that won't work, either?

JP Owens
11-03-2016, 07:00
I started noticing it in my 40's. I'm now 66. Fortunately, accurate autofocus became common about the time that started. And for manual focus lenses, thank the stars for EVF and magnifying the images.

MikeMGB
11-03-2016, 07:09
I turn 50 next month and it hasn't happened yet.

charjohncarter
11-03-2016, 07:18
I have missed focuses since 1960, but I find it harder and harder to get them right since I was 62. I even bought a cheap (now) Pentax ZX-5 and a Pentax SF1n which are auto focus. I still manually focus most shots but it seems to take me longer to 'get it right.' The AF SLRs are great for travel when I don't have the time to really work hard. My TLRs and SLRs are the hardest for me, my RF cameras are the easiest. For some reason I hardly ever miss with the Mamiya Super 23, but there are so many steps with that camera I usually goof one of those up.

leica M2 fan
11-03-2016, 07:22
I started wearing glasses at 14. Didn't notice any big changes till I was in my early
50's when I had to go to progressive lenses. Now that I'm 80 I've noticed much
difficulty in focusing manually. I guess it gets worse with time!

narsuitus
11-03-2016, 07:36
Up to age 26, I was able to obtain quick and accurate focusing with a Nikon B (ground glass type) view screen. After age 26, I had to start using a Nikon A (split-image rangefinder type) screen to obtain quick and accurate focusing.

When I started shooting Nikon APS-C digital cameras, I started relying on auto focus because nothing I did allowed me to obtain quick and accurate manual focus.

raid
11-03-2016, 07:39
I went for the first time ever to have my eyes examined when I was in my fifties. The doctor at the end of the exam told me "if we had more people with your eye sight, we would be broke." I still don't wear glasses or contacts.

sevo
11-03-2016, 07:43
Far-sightedness will only become evident as the accommodation range of the eyes decreases. Which usually goes past the critical threshold somewhere between thirty and fifty.

Larry Cloetta
11-03-2016, 07:46
As you get older, even getting out of bed gets harder, but a 50/1.4 is going to be more iffy than focusing a 50/2 for anybody, no matter how good your vision is. I admit I am not understanding why, short of macular degeneration, age would have much if anything to do with it. I'm 67 and wear trifocals; I have difficulty with exposure, composition, and remembering what film is in what body, but I don't have any more difficulty with focusing than I did when I was 16.

With corrective lenses, vision can be corrected, in most people, to 20/20; astigmatism can be corrected usually as well.
20/20 is 20/20 is 20/20, no matter how old you are. The only reason one would be unable to focus as well as when they were 20, once they got to 50, 60, 70 or whatever, is that their vision is not corrected as well as it could be.
It is only if your vision can't be corrected to 20/20 for some reason that age should enter into it. Even then, that is an individual problem, and not an age problem per se.

Timmyjoe
11-03-2016, 07:48
In my early 40's I started wearing reading glasses for close up work. By mid-50's I started having to add diopters to my old film cameras (Nikon F, S2, Leica M series). My digital cameras all have adjustable diopters, so that's nice. But yeah, the eyesight starts to deteriorate as we age.

One thing, if you've never tried a diopter on a camera, it's quite an eye opening experience (pun intended). For years I found it harder and harder to focus an old M camera I had, and was getting more and more out of focus shots. Couldn't figure out why everything in the viewfinder was just a little bit blurry. Sent the camera in for a CLA, got it back and still the same problem. Had the camera with me in a camera shop one day, and just out of curiosity tried a few different diopters. Was totally blown away. Brought back the joy of shooting with this camera, like when I was young. I could see everything, sharp and bright and clear. Eight diopters later, now all my cameras are fun to use again.

Ko.Fe.
11-03-2016, 07:58
At around 33 here, but didn't realize it until recently (I'm 35 now). I've been contemplating switching to a rangefinder to fix the problem, but apparently that won't work, either?

I'm very skeptical about internet talks how good RF is for f1.5 with its large Leica RF base. I think it is the case for tripod based, still life photography.
If you holding it and breath and taking alive person picture at f1.5, RF is not going to make it easy. Any camera with AF and eye recognition will outperform manual RF.
Also RF patch is in the middle, if you focus and recompose even at f2 on close distances it is going to be OFF.

Vision difficulties or not, RF will fail with moving people and large apertures, close distances photography. But if you like to capture something quick at 3 meters distance and have lens with focus tab (mostly if not only RF lenses have it) RF is handy and not so obstructive way to verify if object is within the DoF.

To me RF is great if to be focused on the silhouette, contours, not on eyes and letters.

Roger Hicks
11-03-2016, 08:19
Wear a monocle... (http://rogerandfrances.eu/photography/monocle)

I have, for over 25 years.

Cheers,

R.

Out to Lunch
11-03-2016, 09:07
At what age did you start to have trouble focusing?

A few years back. Cataract surgery took care of that.

rhl-oregon
11-03-2016, 09:29
It's all about the Dioptrics, baby [humming "When I'm 64"]. I got em on M5, GF670, XPro, Hexar RF, etc.

mpaniagua
11-03-2016, 09:41
Wear a monocle... (http://rogerandfrances.eu/photography/monocle)

I have, for over 25 years.

Cheers,

R.

Whoa thats cool! Ive been wearing glasses for 2 years (Im 43 now) but havent notice any problem when focusing. I cant read a thing without my glasses but seems Ive no problems with my rangefinders or slr. Most focusing issues I ever had have mostly due to my sloppiness not my vision.

Personally,I find it easier to focus a RF than an SLR, although a SLR with a bright lens algo help (1.4 or so are a pleasure to use).

dmr
11-03-2016, 10:07
I just passed the big six-o a few years ago (I am still in denial!) and I consider myself lucky that I have not been a victim of presbyopia, so far, at least. I've been nearsighted for many decades and wear glasses for driving and distance but I still have excellent reading, computer, and close-up vision. I've never done contacts.

I've found that I can focus both the SLR and rangefinders reasonably accurate with or without glasses. I've never had a need for those correction eyepieces that some people swear by.

sepiareverb
11-03-2016, 10:09
My focusing problem began on the first day of school.

Hah! Me too.

With the cameras I only noticed it when I got my first Rollei at age 48 or so. Couldn't focus without the pop up magnifier or my reading glasses on.

No trouble with the RF cameras.

I've always used a loupe with the 810.

I'm now 54.

barnwulf
11-03-2016, 10:58
I have never given this much thought but, I started to wear glasses when I was 5 years old and I have been shooting photos since 1959 at around age 20. I managed somehow and don't recall ever being concerned about it. Around 2003 I bought a Pentax 67 and I had some trouble and just used correctional diopters in the viewfinder and got by with that just fine. Now I have corrected plastic lenses in my eyes since my cataract removel so I don't need to wear glasses and I can get along fine with my Leicas and of course AF is no problem. - jim

Out to Lunch
11-03-2016, 12:08
My focusing problem began on the first day of school.

You're not the only one...

Mark C
11-03-2016, 12:12
So is the problem that you can't see to line up the rangefinder, or that you do and the pictures are out of focus? M camera rangefinders need to be adjusted fairly precisely for lens like that, and the lens has to be right too. Either way that is a challenging fl/aperture to focus accurately.

John Bragg
11-03-2016, 12:35
Since 50,I have problems seeing the settings on the camera in bad light, but focussing is no problem. I think adjustable dioptric correction helps and I have this on Nikon F5 and F100, but I have no issues with my Leica M6 or Olympus OM1n as both are very precise in operation.

lxmike
11-03-2016, 12:40
My eyesight started to 'go' when l got into my 40's, now I am in my 50's l need all the help l can get and often rely on depth of field and luck

jim0266
11-03-2016, 12:56
Literally the morning I turned 40 farsightedness kicked in. At 50 I have have no problems focusing an SLR or rangefinder. To use my Rolleiflex TLR I have to use my computer/reading glasses.

Timmyjoe
11-03-2016, 13:07
Hah! Me too.

With the cameras I only noticed it when I got my first Rollei at age 48 or so. Couldn't focus without the pop up magnifier or my reading glasses on.

No trouble with the RF cameras.

I've always used a loupe with the 810.

I'm now 54.

I had a similar experience. Had a Rollei years ago which I had no problem focusing. Sold it. And didn't get another one for about ten years. When I got the latest one, even with the pop-up magnifier, things were still blurry. Thought it was the camera. Put on my reading glasses, with the pop-up, and suddenly everything is sharp.

Wish there were some type of diopter for the Rollei, because I don't like shooting with my reading glasses on.

greyelm
11-03-2016, 13:13
I am approaching 70 and I've never had problems focussing, this is probably because I was a microbiologist for 44yr and used a microscope daily. As a microscopist focussing almost becomes something that is done instinctively and the same technique of focussing is the same with a camera. The technique is to focus in and out a few times quickly and with practice the brain instinctively recognises the in-focus point.

For the 'middle aged' whose eyes have deteriorated don't give up hope, at my current age I am lucky in that my eyesight has improved over time from mixed long sight/short sight to only needing glasses for reading.

Pete B
11-03-2016, 13:24
I'm 32 years old and yesterday I discovered that I could not accurately focus the 75/1.8 Heliar wide open (on an M 262). I am not a glasses wearer, and have never had vision problems! This makes me wonder if I should ever even bother buying a 50/1.4 over a 50/2. Or perhaps there is simply a Contax G2 in my future. (scary!) :eek:

It sounds to me that the lens might not be calibrated to your M. When I got my M I went through all my lenses to see which focused correctly. A couple wouldn't. I sent my Noctilux away for calibration and it was perfect after calibration.
My 90 Elmar also doesn't focus correctly but I don't use it much so can't justify having it calibrated. I've learned that, when focusing close, I just have to offset the rangefinder images a touch and this gives me perfect focus.
My previous 50 Summicron didn't focus properly so I swapped it for another owned by a Sony user who didn't need it to be rangefinder calibrated. My 50 is perfect now.
There's a good chance the problem is not your eyes but a need for calibration of your Voigtlander. You'll probably find a recent 50 Summilux focusses fine. Mine does, as do my many other Leica lenses, some of which date from the 50s.
Pete

zuiko85
11-03-2016, 13:47
At 45, give or take, I started to need reading glasses. Otherwise I've always been near sighted with about -2.75 in the right and -1.5 in the left. Now at 67 I just use wide angle lenses and scale focus and small apertures. That is the right way to use a RF isn't it.

Roger Hicks
11-03-2016, 14:34
I am approaching 70 and I've never had problems focussing, this is probably because I was a microbiologist for 44yr and used a microscope daily. As a microscopist focussing almost becomes something that is done instinctively and the same technique of focussing is the same with a camera. The technique is to focus in and out a few times quickly and with practice the brain instinctively recognises the in-focus point.

For the 'middle aged' whose eyes have deteriorated don't give up hope, at my current age I am lucky in that my eyesight has improved over time from mixed long sight/short sight to only needing glasses for reading.
This is it. It's not so much eyesight as technique. Though with Evil SLRs, some screens are a lot easier than others.

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
11-03-2016, 14:35
At 45, give or take, I started to need reading glasses. Otherwise I've always been near sighted with about -2.75 in the right and -1.5 in the left. Now at 67 I just use wide angle lenses and scale focus and small apertures. That is the right way to use a RF isn't it.
Nah. Buy an Alpa 12-series. Scale focus only!

Cheers,

R.

sepiareverb
11-03-2016, 15:11
...Wish there were some type of diopter for the Rollei, because I don't like shooting with my reading glasses on.

Yeah, the tangle of glasses on a cord and camera strap is a real buzz kill. Added to my greying hair and general look of befuddled annoyance I rarely get the lusting glances I used to...

... For the 'middle aged' whose eyes have deteriorated don't give up hope, at my current age I am lucky in that my eyesight has improved over time from mixed long sight/short sight to only needing glasses for reading.

Already been through that. I used to need glasses for driving only, long distance stuff. In my late 30s my eyesight shifted so that I could see both distance and close fine, then needed glasses for up close only, but sadly I am now getting a narrower and narrower range of unassisted vision. I don't wear glasses much, not for walking around and not for at the computer, and only for delicate tasks in the kitchen such as peeling garlic or dicing (I want to keep my fingers). But for reading a book/newspaper/iPhone or driving I am behind the frames.

Richard G
11-03-2016, 15:19
1. Is it difficulty deciding on the focus? Consider checking vertical alignment of the RF. If this is even a little bit out then there is no satisfying snap into focus.
2. As advised above, is it the experience taking the photograph, or the results you get? RF again, or lens.
I've always had glasses and not having much trouble at 56.

seakayaker1
11-03-2016, 15:32
.......At what age did you start to have trouble focusing?

When I first noticed girls ........ I got distracted for quite a while.


As far as focusing the camera, I will be 65 this month and still OK but not as good/quick as I used to be in certain lighting situations. Some day it will be autofocus for sure but not ready to pass on the M's and other manual focus cameras just yet.

kpembo
11-03-2016, 18:19
I had an interesting experience with my changing eyesight recently. I had my annual eye exam and was given a new prescription. I had to leave my glasses with the store, so I used the new sample contact lenses they gave me. The left eye prescription was too weak in my opinion. However, I noticed I could see the RF patch in my Canon 7 RF much better with my left eye than my right. I suspect this would be similar to using a +1 diopter. I had used the camera extensively about seven years ago, and never had a problem. Recently, I thought the camera needed repair since it did not look clear and focused to me. I actually had DAG CLA the camera. He said it looked typical for a Canon 7RF. My guess is that my eyesight changed and I could no longer cover the range of focusing my eyes that I could handle just a few years ago. I'm 55. My eyesight first changed at about 48.

summar
11-03-2016, 19:15
It's interesting (or not) that the degree of middle-age sight relates to the brightness of available light. In full sunlight I can read a newspaper without reading glasses -- the pupil stops down, so to speak, and I get greater depth of field. In a darkroom lit with a safelight I need powerful reading glasses

Darthfeeble
11-03-2016, 19:34
I found out something that surprised me when I decided to go to contacts. I tried the monovision thing where one is the reader and one is the looker. Had the reader in my right eye so I'd be able to see the patch in the VF. It doesn't work that way, the patch is a mirror and required that I have the distance vision contact to be able to see it clearly. Also I was surprise in that the distance Rx in contacts allows me to see better close up than the distance one in my glasses. Makes wearing the damn things a little more tolerable.

Dave Jenkins
11-03-2016, 19:35
Early-mid 50s for me.

jbhthescots
11-03-2016, 20:05
At about 16....when I started drinking.

iphoenix
11-03-2016, 23:05
Just turned 69 and am starting to have a problem with the early "M"s. The M6 is easiest of the rangefinders, but I find my "RE" SLR with an f2 or better lens is the easier.

Tompas
11-04-2016, 05:35
Needed glasses to read and (a different pair) for driving at night at around 40. Now, 7 years later, I need stronger glasses to read but no glasses for driving anymore. Weird.

When photographing I don't wear glasses, but autofocus helps -- sometimes more, sometimes less.

My wife had her eyes laser corrected years ago. I'm to much of a coward for that, or it's not bad enough yet.

Dogman
11-04-2016, 07:06
I've needed distant vision correction since age 18. By my mid-30's I needed progressive lenses to maintain both distant and close vision simultaneously. But I was still able to manually focus cameras okay until about age 50, at which point I was no longer able to get consistent results. I bought my first autofocus 35mm camera around that time and I was amazed at how much sharper my photos became. Focusing medium format cameras wasn't as difficult for me because I used them on tripods for stationary subjects most of the time. I could take my time and focus more precisely with these cameras.

Because I loved them so much, I kept using my Leica rangefinders until around age 60 when it became apparent to me that any autofocus camera I used consistently gave me sharper pictures than all my manual focus cameras. At that point, I stopped using my Leicas and all other film cameras and switched totally to autofocus digitals.

Roger Hicks
11-04-2016, 07:12
At about 16....when I started drinking.
Dear John,

Ah... A late developer, then?

Cheers,

R.

pvdhaar
11-04-2016, 08:06
I started needing reading glasses shortly after turning 50. Still have no problem focusing through OVFs or EVFs without glasses a couple of years on. But LCD-only cameras have become a decided inconvenience..

oftheherd
11-04-2016, 08:15
I am approaching 70 and I've never had problems focussing, this is probably because I was a microbiologist for 44yr and used a microscope daily. As a microscopist focussing almost becomes something that is done instinctively and the same technique of focussing is the same with a camera. The technique is to focus in and out a few times quickly and with practice the brain instinctively recognises the in-focus point.

For the 'middle aged' whose eyes have deteriorated don't give up hope, at my current age I am lucky in that my eyesight has improved over time from mixed long sight/short sight to only needing glasses for reading.

I had to start with reading glasses just before 40. My job changed and I began sitting at a desk reading reports.

But it never changed my ability to focus my SLR or my Super Press 23. I had learned greyelm's technique when I began trying to focus in near darkness. That hasn't failed me yet. My close vision has changed some, but no problems with cameras. Yet. My night driving requires more concentration. I was told that was astigmatism.

oftheherd
11-04-2016, 08:19
It's interesting (or not) that the degree of middle-age sight relates to the brightness of available light. In full sunlight I can read a newspaper without reading glasses -- the pupil stops down, so to speak, and I get greater depth of field. In a darkroom lit with a safelight I need powerful reading glasses

An optometrist I once worked with mentioned that when he was in school, his eyes were so bad he had to make a very small aperture with his fingers and palm to read what was on the blackboard. Finding out that was fixable with glasses was one of the things that got him interested in becoming an optometrist.

I would guess what you are experiencing is akin to that. You are using a smaller 'aperture' and in creasing the depth of focus at the retina.