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Photography Question 
Ben F
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/30/2004
 

Landscape DOF


Hi all,

Just been browsing through the Q&A trying to understand depth of field and hyperfocal point etc etc etc. The reason for this im soon buying a manual focus camera with 45mm and 90mm lenses purely for landscape work.
(both of which have the DOF scales on them)..

I came across this ;

"In landscape photographs we generally expect extensive DOF, with sharp focus from the foreground to the background. To achieve this effect, select a wide-angle lens, set a small aperture (perhaps f/11 or higher), and focus about 1/3 of the way into the scene before reframing and shooting."

Okay, I get the setting of smaller aperture, f11 and up, but I dont understand the focusing 1/3 of the way into the scene???
If your shooting say a sunset on the horizon over the ocean, how do you focus effectively 1/3 into the scene?.. what are you going to focus on?

I know these questions have been asked a million times but im really struggling, can anyone try sort it out for me?..

thanks heaps :PPP


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7/28/2005 8:06:41 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker  
 
 
I will try to give you a little help here. The attached picture is of a Nikkor 50mm standard autofocus lens with a limited DOF scale. To shoot a landscape with this lens with the greatest DOF, line up the infinity mark with the 22 mark on the left and you will be in acceptable focus from infinity to about 10'. With a wide angle lens, the DOF would be even greater. Without a DOF scale, you just have to guess.


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7/28/2005 8:29:41 AM

 
doug Nelson   See if this article makes sense to you. Be glad you have DOF scales. http://www.dougnelsonphoto.com/-/dougnelsonphoto/article.asp?ID=27

Generally, remember that small apertures give more DOF. I went through a period when I had to shoot everything at f16. I didn't know that most lenses are not at their sharpest at f16, and that, with maybe a 28, most everything is sharp at f8 (from about 5 or 6 feet on out).

Also, with that 45, you can do some beautiful work by being sure the flower in the foreground is in sharp focus, and blurring out the mountains in the background. I guess I'm saying not to get carried away with the "everything in focus" trick, as I did.


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7/28/2005 9:52:57 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Ben, you have gotten some excellent advice from an excellent (but modest) photographer. Although there are times, and scenes, when you do want everything in focus, there are times, as Doug stated, where you want to blur either the foreground or the background. Sometimes you just have to shoot it both ways and see which you like the best.


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7/28/2005 2:16:26 PM

 
Ben F
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/30/2004
  Thanks kerry and doug for your replies, and your article doug is very helpful. I think im starting to understand it.

However I have another question..
As I have never used a manual focusing camera before, im not sure of the process. Could you run me through from "framing" up the landscape, right through to pushing the button.

What gets me is this..say for 45mm lens. after you have composed the image in the viewfinder, you then set the desired apperture on the lens. for example it is a late afternoon shot and I want to shoot at say f8 or f11. So I align f11 under the focus index, then move the infinity symbol on the distance scale to align with the corresponding aperture which im shooting at(f11). I should then be left with a hyperfocal distance for f11. Lets hypothetically say is 15 feet.
so then, everything from 7.5 feet to infinity will be in focus when I take the shot! CORRECT???? So, I am happy with that, then what?.. I can safely take the shot? If I look into the viewfinder, am I going to see this through the viewfinder? I have read that not always is it going to look in focus, even though the final product will be, and this is what tricks some people, as they try and re-focus the frame? Therefore what really tricks me is this :
is there really no need in using the focusing ring on the camera whilst composing a shot, and seeing what you deem to be acceptable and then clicking the button?.. AAAHhh so confusing.

Sorry about the long post, I tried my hardest to explain.
P.s is there a difference to manual focus methods/techniques between SLR and rangefinder cameras?..

Thanks!!!


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7/29/2005 6:38:23 AM

 
Andy 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  In your exmaple, everything from 7.5 feet to infinity is in ACCEPTABLE SHARPNESS. There is still only one focus point, at 15 ft.


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7/29/2005 6:59:29 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   I don't want to get too technical here but I want to explain something first. You are correct about the way you set for hyperfocal distance. Please understand, however, that there is actually only one plane of true focus. That is at the distance you are actually focused (15 ft. in this example). Everything else is in what is called acceptable focus. It all appears in focus to the human eye viewed from a normal viewing distance. Viewed under a 10X loupe, you could see the difference but don't worry. It will look great to the eye.

Now, to answer your question. Compose your photo first then go through the process you have described.


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7/29/2005 7:06:44 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Andy, you were typing at the same time I was.


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7/29/2005 7:11:20 AM

 
Andy 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  Sorry Kerry, I got in your way ;)


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7/29/2005 7:38:00 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   I just ramble too much. LOL


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7/29/2005 7:42:19 AM

 
doug Nelson   I don't know of too many manual focus 45mm lenses. Sounds like a Contax SLR to me (Minolta?). On an SLR there should be a depth-of-field preview feature that closes the lens down to your shooting aperture. You can then readily see about what's in focus. You said manual focus, so I assume we're not talking about a Contax G1 or G2. On a rangefiner camera, you won't see this because you're not looking through the lens.

I sometimes just set the focus using this "hyperfocal" method and use the finder just for framing.


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7/29/2005 7:50:02 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Could be the Nikon 45mm. They have used a 45mm for the standard lens on some of their MF cameras. They still offer a 45mm f/2.8.


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7/29/2005 7:54:23 AM

 
Ben F
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/30/2004
  Nah, its on the hassy xpan 2
not sure who makes the lens but it comes standard with the camera :P

thanks for your help people


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7/29/2005 8:49:51 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Lens is made by Fuji.


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7/29/2005 8:51:52 AM

 
doug Nelson   This Hassy looks like a rangefinder camera to me. I think it'd have to be a rangefinder because of the optional panorama feature. There can be no DOF preview on an RF, 'cause ya ain't lookin' thru da lens. This camera has a wonderful reputation for landscapes.

Doesn't matter, the DOF trick we've been discussing works, because of the laws of optics and apertures, but you just won't be able to preview it.


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7/29/2005 10:00:57 AM

 
Olivia Navarro
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/22/2005
  Can someone explain this to me for my Canon 85mm 1.8 lens? I just tried it as Ben described above. Set my aperture to f/8, then moved the focusing ring so that the infinity symbol lines up with the only other markings on my lens which is 22. The picture was completely blurry.

I guess I just don't understand how to set the hyperfocal distance and I don't understand the charts either. What are the near and far amounts? I'm utterly confused. Thanks for any help!


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8/24/2005 8:52:36 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   If your lens has only one mark, at f/22, the only easy way to set the hyperfocal distance is to shoot at f/22. The infinity mark has to be set at the aperature you are using. Unfortunately, no all lenses have a full set of marks.


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8/24/2005 9:52:37 AM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  Olivia, if you line up the infinity symbol with the f22 mark, you need to set your aperture at f22.

If the lens had a DOF mark for f8, you could use f8 and set the infinity symbol there.


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8/24/2005 9:53:11 AM

 
Olivia Navarro
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/22/2005
  Ok, thanks, that makes sense. Too bad none of my other lenses have this capability it seems. But now some other questions.

I keep reading that the picture will "look blurry" in the viewfinder. Well, when I tried it this morning, not only did it LOOK blurry, it WAS blurry. But if I try to focus it, then the infinity mark isn't on the 22 anymore.


Now to the DOF charts. What do the near and far points mean? For instance, if the nearest number is 1.5 ft, does that mean that everything from 1.5 ft away from where I'm standing with my camera to say infinity will be in "acceptable sharpness"?


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8/24/2005 12:40:24 PM

 
Olivia Navarro
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/22/2005
  Also, I came across some DOF scales that someone on BP posted in his gallery but I forgot to bookmark them. Anyone have the link to his gallery? I forget his name.


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8/24/2005 1:06:38 PM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Yes, the picture will look blurry in the viewfinder because you are seeing what it would look like at maximum aperature. If you hold in the DOF preview button, your lens will close down to the aperature you have set (f/22). Everything will appear dark but in focus. Mainly, just trust the scale on your lens. Everything from the nearest number to infinity will be in acceptable focus.

Can't help you with the link for the DOF scales.


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8/24/2005 2:34:59 PM

 
Olivia Navarro
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/22/2005
  Kerry, thanks for your continued help. What I was saying was that not only did the picture appear blurry in the viewfinder, the shot that came up on my screen after taking the shot was obviously out of focus. I think I really need to find those DOF charts. :-) Maybe it was the distance that was my problem. The 85 is a bit short for inside shots.


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8/24/2005 2:56:33 PM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  If you took the picture at f8 like you said above, then yes, the picture would be blurry.

The 85mm f1.8 is a great lens, but if you're trying to shoot a landscape with maximized DOF, you would be much better off with a shorter lens. A 28mm lens will have much more DOF than the 85.

The 85 does a great job of blurring the background in shallow DOF portraits and closeups.


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8/24/2005 8:58:22 PM

 
Olivia Navarro
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/22/2005
  Well, I took the shot at f/22 but when I went outside and started trying it, the technique seemed to get better though none of the shots were perfectly sharp. The lens that I would prefer to use for landscapes is my kit lens however, there are no markings on it to determine the hyperfocal distance. Then I have the 50mm 1.8 and the Sigma 55-200.

I do love my 85 for portraits and since that is primarily what I do, it's a wonderful lens for me. But I would love to capture some great landscape shots and so I'd really like to get a handle on this.


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8/25/2005 6:07:56 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Olivia, your 85 is indead a great lens for portraits. I use a 150mm on my Pentax 645N, which is equivalent to a 90mm in 35mm format. However, as Chris said, you need to use a shorter lens, like a 28mm, for landscape shots. An 85mm is not going to give you a lot of DOF. It certainly won't give you accepatable focus from 1.5 ft. to infinity. Wide angle lenses will give you a lot more DOF when shot at hyperfocal distance.


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8/25/2005 6:27:45 AM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  I don't think the 50mm f1.8 lens has a distance scale on it either, right?

Out of all your choices, I think the kit lens would be best for landscapes. Even if you just manually focus to infinity, at 18mm and f22 you will get much more DOF than with any of your other lenses.

You can try manually backing off of infinity a little to estimate where the f22 mark would be if it were there. Then see how that affects the focus of near objects while still keeping far objects in focus. Let's call this method "Hyperfocal Fudging". ;-)


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8/25/2005 12:55:17 PM

 
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