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View Poll Results: Whats Your landscape Focusing Method

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  • Focus on the Hyperfocal Point

    11 61.11%
  • Focus on the Subject

    7 38.89%
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Thread: Hyperfocal Focusing

  1. #1
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    Hyperfocal Focusing

    Hey Guys,

    Just wondering what methods people use for their focusing when it comes to landscapes. I do alot of panoramas and I mainly find the focal point (or closest thing to) to focus on (manual focus) then keep it consitent throughout the range. I usually shoot my landscapes at f/16, So do people focus on the subject (if one) or focus to the Hyperfocal distance? What Pro's and Con's are there?

    Cheers,

    Dylan
    Website - www.dylanbenton.com.au

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  2. #2
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I focus usually about 2/3rd of the way into the scene for landscapes! The only time I don't is if I am using a large aperture and trying to capture something as the subject but relative to the scene. Like a fencepost, or an ice covered leaf
    Last edited by ricktas; 29-06-2012 at 1:30pm.
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    My answer: Neither

    I generally just focus 1/3 into the shot if at f16 or above.

    If it is a super close up job on an ultra wide, then it's subject, but I will more often then not take a second shot focused further into the scene anyway.
    Greg Bartle,
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    Cool, is there a way of working out (via exif data incamera) at what distance your focusing at?

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    I usually focus with the 10-20 @f8 1/3 into the shot on landscapes , But after your question I had a look at the exif (Kuso) and it says 2.82mtrs as shown, Dunno if that is the Hyperfocal for that lens @f8,11mm or that is where I focused ?

    Here's a screen shot
    Attached Images Attached Images
    • File Type: jpg A.jpg (168.3 KB, 177 views)
    Canon : 30D, and sometimes the 5D mkIII , Sigma 10-20, 50mm 1.8, Canon 24-105 f4 L , On loan Sigma 120-400 DG and Canon 17 - 40 f4 L , Cokin Filters




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    You'll find that a lens size (focal length/aperture) of around 3-5mm is ideal for the best compromise between contrast and diffraction limited spot size. Therefore, with a 35mm lens, around f9.5 is usually ideal. A 24mm lens would be around f4 or f5.6 or f8, depending on the subject/composition. Modern landscape composition techniques, which differ from those employed by say Ansel Adams, do work well with hyperfocusing. But the compromise with hf'ing is that the background focus suffers, but it does yield sharper foreground. For an overall sharpness, then infinity focus is usually best.

    What is in focus will depend on the effective lens size (focal length/aperture) and the objects distance in relation to the lens and the exact focal point. if, for expample, you have a 90mm lens and set it to f8, then your lens size is 11.25mm. you focus at 20 metres (infinity). if you have an object that you wish to resolve that is half the distance of the lens to focal point, which would be 10 metres in this case, then the object at 10 metres would need to be half the size of the lens (11.25mm) to be resolved. so the smallest object that would be resolved at 10 metres would need to be at least 5.5mm or thereabouts. if the object is double the distance from the focal point, then the object would need to be 11.25mm in size to be resolved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dylfish View Post
    Cool, is there a way of working out (via exif data incamera) at what distance your focusing at?
    Yep! most exif viewers will show this info, and they all differ on exactly where they display the info, but the image has to be 'unadulterated' from the original.

    That is, if you've used a program like Lightroom to edit the image and saved it to a more readily viewed format, this new format may not have the required info still embedded.
    I used LR as the example, as it's one of the worst offenders for destroying exif info(that I've come across).
    Other programs also do it, even tho you specify for the program not to ouch the exif info!! and it does.
    One of the better programs for keeping exif intact is FSViewer.
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    Ive always gone about 2/3 into the frame as well
    Darren
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  9. #9
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    Depends! If there is a special subject then that, but 1/3 - 2/3 for general landscape.
    I also use live view on a tripod and zoom on that to check, esp sunsets and the like.
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    Usually 1/3 into the shot at the smallest aperture I can get away with , keeping a balance between the DoF I want and trying not to increase the ISO sensitivity too much that I introduce noise.

    What I miss from my old lenses is the DoF markings on them. It was easy – just put infinity on one edge, and as long as the focusing distance on the other edge was within the range you want, compose and snap.

    I've never worked out how to use the DoF preview effectively for me
    Cheers,

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    I personally use live view on a tripod @ f/16 then zoom in to x10 to check sharpness.

    Dont really know if anyone else does it like that.

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    Thanks - I'll try that. I often haven't got a tripod with me, but that's a good tip for when I do.

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    I don't shoot landscapes all that often, but when I do, I'm usually looking for maximum DoF as I tend to work close to the ground and get very close to my foreground elements and want everything through to the horizon in focus.

    I'm fortunate that all of my lenses have focus scales on them so, combined with a DoF app on the iPhone (I use DoFMaster), I'm able to workout exactly where I need to focus.

    By complete fluke, I found out that when I'm shooting with my 17-40 at the 17mm end and at f/16, I can get everything from 0.31m to inf "in focus" by focussing at 0.62m - which happens to be the length of my remote shutter release cable when it's attached to the camera It obviously only works at this combination of focal length, aperture and sensor.

    I know of landscape photographers who use a tape measure and piece of string to get the focal distance spot on.

    Here's one shot with my "length of remote release cable technique"......

    Turrimetta | 25 July 2012 | 002.jpg

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    Mongo always uses hyperfocal when the lens allows for it. Mongos old manual AI-s 20mm has just come back into use after a 6 year absence now that he has a full frame camera. The first thing that came back with the use of that lens is the use of hyperfocal distance at f8 and f11.
    Nikon and Pentax user



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dylfish View Post
    I personally use live view on a tripod @ f/16 then zoom in to x10 to check sharpness.

    Dont really know if anyone else does it like that.
    Do you check sharpness or focus point?

    With you on this. I went to Katoomba/Blue Mountains a couple of weeks back, did the walk to the base of the falls. Set up tripod, mucked around with F-Stops from around F8 to F22, using several different filter arrangments. Used my Canon 50D and either my Sigma 10-20 or my Canon 24-70, was able to achieve some great shots, with focal depth, some where shot about 1/3rd into the shot, others I set the lens in MF to infinity for depth and used the metering/focal marker to get the required shot in Liveview.

    So I guess i'm saying it is really depdant on what you want out of the shot, AP = DOF for the main subject will be you guiding factor, more foreground or more depth in you shot.

    The Hyperfocal chart puts the spot light on a main image for Before and Behind DOF, but if your shooting a wide plain or snowy mountain range from a distance, with little to nothing in the background, it's not going to come into play. But compair that to a sports shot on a long lens wide open, and you'll have no BG and those wonderful sports shots we all enjoy.

    If you look at some of the High Diving shots around at the monent from the Olympics, the Diver is all you can see in frame and the BG is black, Hyperfocal at its best, but if seen throught the TV, you can see all the colour and light in the Pool Complex.

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    no option for infinity focus?

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