I picked up a copy of the ubiquitous Nikon 50mm F/1.8 prime lens over the weekend and tried my hand at forced manual focusing on the D40 body. For the first hour or so, I had a hell of a time, trying to gauge the focus through the viewfinder without any additional help. Seeing as focus was extremely inconsistent, I did some sleuthing to see if there were any tricks to the trade.
Apparently there is. On the bottom-left corner of the viewfinder is a small green dot that appears when the subject is in focus. It does seem to appear for a bit wide of a range, but I found trying to nail it in the center of its â€˜light-upâ€™ range did the trick. Through this tidbit of knowledge, I also found that my dioptre had been set incorrectly.
Now Iâ€™m getting consistently in-focus shots. For such a cheap lens, the 50mm prime is quite good optically and the relatively large maximum aperture is a joy to work with, giving far better out-of-focus effects than the kit 18-55mm lens. The manual focus ring is also far, far better than the super thin, very short throw and looseness of the kit lens focus ring. I’m going to have some serious fun experimenting with this new lens.