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Zone Focusing

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by TonyTurley, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    I'm reading Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure" for the second time in as many months (there's a lot to digest). He says to get sharp focus on a landscape front to back, you should focus at 1/3 of the distance into the scene. I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around this, because intuitively, it seems you should focus at infinity, using an aperture that yields wide DOF. I might add that not all of my adapted lenses have DOF scales, and I'm only just beginning to grasp how to use the scale. Up to now, in order to get sharp focus front to back, I cheated; that is, I focus at infinity, take a pic. I back off a bit, take a pic. Rinse, repeat. I may do this 5-8 times for a scene, working to where foreground objects are in focus when I use MF Assist. Then I go home and look at the pics on my PC, and toss the ones I don't like. I do get a lot of good photos, but it can be time consuming. Any thoughts on this to share?

    Tony
     
  2. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    It's the best way to maximize what's in focus, especially if you want some foreground elements to be sharp. If you focus on infinity, then you'll lose what's in the foreground. Whereas if you focus about a third of the way into the scene, then (assuming your aperture is set appropriately) you'll get everything from in somewhere in front of the focal point to infinity in focus.

    As an example, with a 28mm lens set to f/8, if your focal point is ~16 ft., then everything from ~8 ft. to infinity wil be in focus. But if you focus at infinity, then everything from ~16 ft. to infinity will be in focus. Those 8 ft. may make the difference between a good shot and a so-so one.
     
  3. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Thanks David.

    Tony
     
  4. Bugleone

    Bugleone TalkEmount Veteran

    210
    Aug 21, 2011
    It's actually simply best use of 'hyperfocal distance'....take a look at the depth of field scale,...now place your fucussing mark against the FARTHEST aperture mark on the scale (for your chosen aperture)....you have now set the lens for optimal heprfocal distance and you will notice that you have increased your available depth of field considerably.
     
  5. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Thanks for the tips. After ignoring the DOF scale for many years, it took me all of about 30 seconds of reading to figure it out. It worked well today, and I'm chagrined at my previous photographic laziness.

    Tony