Where to focus ?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Std Speed, Oct 24, 2007.

  1. Std Speed

    Std Speed TPF Noob!

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    Hi all, first post so please be gentle.

    Can somebody please explain to me in relativley plain English where I'm supposed to focus when taking landscapes. I use large f numbers etc. and often peek at the DOF preview but i'm still finding it a struggle to get consistent results.

    I read an article about pre-setting the focus using 'distance setting marks' on the lens but ended up slightly confused. The article also suggested focusing a third of the way into the frame., but this seem's a bit random as a for a lot of shots, if I go up a third, either side of the frame can cover vast distances.

    At the moment I just take a lot of shots focusing all over the place and then pick the best, but I would like to be a little more scientific about it.

    How's everybody else doing it ?
     
  2. nossie

    nossie TPF Noob!

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    There's no one answer so can I recommend a book called Understanding Exposure (he's making a fortune from this site alone) but it's a super lesson and investment in yourself for only $25.

    If all things are far enough away you can aim for the sweet spot in the lens typically between f8ish and f11ish but again all that is explained with great photographic examples showing the different results in the book.

    Where to focus?.. Focus on what you want!
     
  3. This goes directly to the heart of Depth of Field, Hyperfocal Distances, and "the zone." It's a good question, don't be afraid.

    Basically, in the higher apertures (the smaller ones) you have great DOF. That that means a lot will be in focus. If I remember correctly, on a manual lens you would set the Infinity sign on the f-stop. On the other side of the markers it would line up with what your minimum focal distance is. So at f/16, chances are that everything more than three feet away is going to be in focus. When you look through the lens, everything will seem out of focus - just trust the physics on this one, it works.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Yes, look up Hyperfocal Distance and do some reading, that may help.

    The reason they say to focus 1/3 of the way 'into the scene' is that the DOF will extend 2/3 past the point of focus and 1/3 back toward the camera. This is more important when you have a finite DOF and want a blurry background. With most landscape photography, you will either be focused at infinity or be using an aperture that will essentially give you infinity focus.

    Also, if you are not already, remember to use a tripod and remote release (or timer) when shooting a slower shutter speeds...which is often necessary when using small apertures.
     
  5. Std Speed

    Std Speed TPF Noob!

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    Got it !!!

    :clap:

    Many thanks all.
     

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