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Where Do You Focus?
How do you know where to focus if your not taking a picture of a very specific subject? Perhaps a wide angle landscape or wide angle city scene?.

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Comments (5)

Usapatriot wrote:.

How do you know where to focus if your not taking a picture of a veryspecific subject? Perhaps a wide angle landscape or wide angle cityscene?.

At wide angles outdoors your d-o-f is going to be large so it's not critical. Something close to 'infinity' will do fine..

Look athttp://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html.

... on a crop-sensor DSLR like a Canon XTi, lens at 18mm and f/11, focus at infinity, everything from about 5 feet to infinity will be in focus. So it doesn't really matter what you focus on!.

Best wishesMike..

Comment #1

Most if not all of the landscape stuff I shoot is from a tripod focused to infinity at F11 or better. Give it a try.'Longshot'..

Comment #2

Usapatriot wrote:.

How do you know where to focus if your not taking a picture of a veryspecific subject? Perhaps a wide angle landscape or wide angle cityscene?.

When shooting a landscape, and merely selecting a point to focus on for the SAKE of having *a point to focus on* (which is what I think you are saying)....

.... this is what I do.... (Note: The action takes longer to describe than to perform.).

Compose the shot as it is intended to be, and make a mental note the point on the ground where the bottom of the viewfinder frame cuts off..

Now, keeping the camera steady, view the distant horizon through the camera and make a mental note of how far "up" the viewfinder frame it lies..

Select a point on the ground that is half way between the two first two points, as observed THROUGH THE CAMERA and on the screen..

Focus on that screen point. When this is done the nearest and furthest points in frame will be equally sharp, always assuming that the ground is fairly flat between..

A) This same method works for any flat plane at an angle to lens axis, like a wall of a building, or a table top with a spread of food displayed on it..

B) If the flat plane extends right out of shot to front and back (as may very well happen for such a table picture) the focus point will be exactly in the middle of the viewfinder frame......

...... in fact, just where the principle auto focus point falls, or where the split image range-finder is in old manual focus cameras..

I hope I have made this clear, and that it is helpful to you.Regards,Baz..

Comment #3

Barrie Davis wrote:.

Usapatriot wrote:.

How do you know where to focus if your not taking a picture of a veryspecific subject? Perhaps a wide angle landscape or wide angle cityscene?.

When shooting a landscape, and merely selecting a point to focus onfor the SAKE of having *a point to focus on* (which is what I thinkyou are saying)....

.... this is what I do.... (Note: The action takes longer todescribe than to perform.).

Compose the shot as it is intended to be, and make a mental notethe point on the ground where the bottom of the viewfinder frame cutsoff..

Now, keeping the camera steady, view the distant horizon throughthe camera and make a mental note of how far "up" the viewfinderframe it lies..

Select a point on the ground that is half way between the twofirst two points, as observed THROUGH THE CAMERA and on the screen..

Focus on that screen point. When this is done the nearest andfurthest points in frame will be equally sharp, always assuming thatthe ground is fairly flat between..

A) This same method works for any flat plane at an angle to lensaxis, like a wall of a building, or a table top with a spread of fooddisplayed on it..

B) If the flat plane extends right out of shot to front and back (asmay very well happen for such a table picture) the focus point willbe exactly in the middle of the viewfinder frame......

...... in fact, just where the principle auto focus point falls, orwhere the split image range-finder is in old manual focus cameras..

This method seems very practical. I just filled my head with a bunch of stuff about hyperfocal distance. Does anyone use 'hyperfocal distance' estimations to do landscape shots? From what I've read, it's the "right" way to do it...

Comment #4

Photoeng wrote:.

This method seems very practical. I just filled my head with a bunchof stuff about hyperfocal distance. Does anyone use 'hyperfocaldistance' estimations to do landscape shots? From what I've read,it's the "right" way to do it..

Hyperfocal distance works to MAXIMISE the DoF available at any one aperture, which DoF then extends from half Hyperfocal Distance (whatever that happens to be for the aperture in use) and infinity. Unlike focusing at infinity, no DoF is wasted by being "beyond infinity"..

When maximised as above, it can happen that DoF is deeper than actually NEEDED for the shot.... for instance, because the camera cannot see all the way to infinity with something in the way (trees, houses) or the camera is tilted up somewhat and the near point (HD/2) is out of shot at the bottom of the frame..

Where Hyperfocal Distance scores is :-.

.... in making a camera "focus free".....

(like in a snapshot camera, which is pretty much sharp from, say, 6 feet to infinity).....

... or carrying a camera around in a pre-focused condition ready for any instant action.... (photo-reportage in a war zone).....

.. or just shooting blind without necessarily lifting the camera to the eye.. (covert street photography).Regards,Baz..

Comment #5

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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