Hi all, I've been an amateur animator for over a decade now but am totally new to these forums, was hoping someone could help me with a major problem I'm having. 

Having been animating at an amateur level for sometime, I really wanted to step up the quality of the work I was producing. I have the demo of dragon frame to test it out, with the hopes of buying it soon, and a brand new Nikon D3300. The two go hand in hand beautifully, save one thing: the flicker. After looking through the forums and on the dragon frame website, I found that my problem is probably the lens. I quickly spent the last bit of money I have saved for this sort of thing on a Nikkor AF 50mm lens. Much to my dismay, it arrived yesterday, and doesn't actually feature a focus feature, and my camera, as far as I can tell does not autofocus. I understand I should have looked this up beforehand, but am not well educated in photography and thought a focus wheel was standard!

I'm not sure where to go from here. I have looked online and can't find a nikon lens that features an aperture ring AND a focusing one. In the meantime I'm having to grin and bare it with the flicker, but would love to know the best path to take to get rid of it. Will be returning the lens, unless anyone knows of a workaround?

Any advice would be much appreciated! 

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well one thing you can get is you want to keep using that 50mm is a set of extension tubes, if you have the lens and just want to keep shooting a set of tubes can allow you to get much closer to your subject and they tend to cost lens then a new lens, plus when you do get new lenses you can use the tubes with those lenses too!

Lenses that are do not have a focus ring are referred to as prime lenses, or "fixed focus lenses". This just means you have to move back and forth, closer and further from your subject, which is great for speed of taking a photo. It takes a while to get use to a prime lens's depth of field but after a while it becomes second nature, especially a 50mm which is one of my all time favorite pieces of glass =) with DragonFrame you need to shoot in manual mode anyways so autofocus is not needed whatsoever. What I would advise is a zoom lens that has a manual setting as well as an autofocus switch for when you are not animating and are just shooting pictures as you normally would with your camera =) hope this helps

I am not even sure what you are saying Jhonny

Lenses that don't have a focus ring aren't very useful to stop motion, it seems like you are referring to lenses without zoom. While 50mm are neat, I almost never use mine in Stop Motion as Nikon's 55mm f/3.5 micro has almost the same angle of view while letting you get much closer to the subject and being generally cheaper then many 50mm's.

For normal photography it's not as fast, but in stop motion I find working with miniatures means you can end up fighting that shallow DOF anyways and I'll often be setting my aperture around f/5.6 - f/11 so that faster speed is all null and void anyway.

I do recommend a collection of primes as you can get higher quality glass at really low prices if you buy used vintage lenses, and if you partially unscrew the lens to remove aperture flicker you can still set the aperture manually. Making movies with primes also makes it much easier to understand how the length of your lens affects the way the image looks and as you physically change the length of your lens you are forced to think about it more then you would if you just zoom the lens in and out. I'm not saying that you can't understand it with a zoom lens, but you are forced to learn it with primes and understanding lens length is an important part of cinematography.

Jhonny - A Prime Lens does have a focus ring.  It is not a zoom lens, so it has a "fixed focal length", that is, it is always a 24mm lens or a 55mm lens or whatever.  So yes, you do move the camera closer or further from the subject to get a closer or wider view.  But having moved to that distance, you definitely need to turn the focus ring and focus on the subject.  I think you meant to say zoom ring and had a momentary glitch of the brain! Change that one word, and everything you say makes sense.

There is such a thing as a "fixed focus lens" that has no ability to change focus, usually in cheap throwaway cameras, and maybe some older webcams or security cameras.  They are generally wide angle so they have a pretty deep focus and can get away with it up to a point.

I got a set of extension rings for my Nikon lenses.  I found I only ever used the thinnest one, but they always come in sets.  It does let a 50mm lens or any lens without macro focus  much closer, at the expense of not being able to focus all the way to infinity - but that isn't a problem when shooting in a miniature set.  

I am glad to have learned this, thank you Nick =)

As far as I know KEH is still shipping worldwide.

I use old M42 lenses for Canon cameras, works perfect (with an adapter ring of course), even though the lenses may not be great at the edges they are full frame so any DSLR that do not use a fullframe sensor it works fine anyway.

The old Nikon manual lenses are great lenses, but certainly arern't the only choice. Pretty much any of the older manual "film" lenses will work with the suitable adapter icluding, Pentax, Minolta, Olympus OM-1 and others (Including the Vivitar, Tamron and other lenses in Nikon, Olympus, or universal screw thread mount etc.). The one lens type to stay away from is the older Canon film lenses as the adapters necessary to use them (on the newer Canon Eos) require an additional piece of glass in the adapter.

Any one of the above lenses will work quite well once stopped down to F8, or F11 etc.
Shooting closed down at these F-Stops (and lower) increase the depth of field in the shot and tend to reduce the amount of flicker due to the longer exposure time.

I'm a fan of the older Olmpus OM-1 lenses but there are certainly many other lenses available at prices less than a Nikor.
... Jbd

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