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Sometimes technology gets in the way of quality. The convenience of features such as autofocus and optical image stabilization are hard to dispute, but some of the best glass in the world can be found in manual focus lenses that contain no electronics whatsoever. Such is the case with M-mount and M42-mount lenses made by Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander.
Sometimes technology gets in the way of quality. For example, the finest wristwatches made today are self-winding units with jewels used as pivot points. They’re mechanical works of art assembled by hand, and you won’t find a battery or quartz crystal inside any of them.
With all of the technological advancements in the world of autofocus—both in relation to the lenses themselves as well as camera’s AF features—manual focus lenses have also gained popularity recently for a number of reasons.
In the summer of 2008, Nikon released the D90, a DSLR with an extra feature: HD video recording. It rocked the digital photography and video worlds. Suddenly photographers could shoot dynamite video and videographers could get the look and feel of a cinema camera without the cinema camera price tag. HD video quickly became the feature to look for in a DSLR. A new category of camera was born: the HDSLR.
What if you woke up one morning, and the only way to look clearly into your significant other's eyes was to be about a foot away from them? In fact, imagine that the whole world looked like your lenses when they are out of focus. Though I wear glasses, my eyes are not as great as they used to be, and it has affected my photography.