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Hyperfocal Shooting on Digital ?
Old 09-26-2015   #1
ferider
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Hyperfocal Shooting on Digital ?

Please don't make this a film/digital debate. I'm a long time film user (love it, see my smugmug link below), and 6 months into shooting digital.

So here is my question:

When shooting 35mm landscapes with 28-35mm on film, I often would focus on the hyperfocal distance. For example: light and shutter speed ask for f11, I subtract one or two stops, set the lens such the the respective - say - f5.6 DOF scale reaches infinity and shoot to have maximum DOF.

On digital, results that I get with this technique feel disappointing. No "kick"/micro-contrast. So I decided from now on to focus on infinity instead. If I need more forward DOF, I'll push the ISO.

Anybody have the same experience ? Thanks,

Roland.
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Old 09-26-2015   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
When shooting 35mm landscapes with 28-35mm on film, I often would focus on the hyperfocal distance. For example: light and shutter speed ask for f11, I subtract one or two stops, set the lens such the the respective - say - f5.6 DOF scale reaches infinity and shoot to have maximum DOF.
I don't understand why you would substract one or two stops, neither what that has to do with hyperfocal distance.

Did you went from film to pas-c or full-frame digital? Did you use raw of jpeg out of camera?
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Old 09-26-2015   #3
ferider
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Full frame, and yes, I use raw.

Let me clarify: in the example I shoot @f11, but use the f5.6 or f8 DOF scale and the respective hyperfocal distance. I subtract a stop or two of the actual aperture used to be on the conservative side when it comes to enlargement/viewing distance. I know many others do the same on film at least.
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A picture says more than 1000s words ...
Old 09-26-2015   #4
ferider
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A picture says more than 1000s words ...

Alright, an older film example of mine (35mm):



If you would take that shot today in digital, where would you focus: at infinity, or closer ?

Thanks.
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Old 09-26-2015   #5
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Might it be related to the diffraction limitation of the camera? Not sure what you are using, but a good description can be found here
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Old 09-26-2015   #6
DNG
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I'd focus on INF at f/5.6 or f/8 with a 28mm or 24mm... with these focal lengths, at INF, you have 8 feet or so to INF in focus anyway. you could use a DOF calculator for exact DOF.

35mm FF used for
my Nikon 24mm f/2.8 hits INF at around 25' (though 12'-INF is a very short throw)... and at INF f/8 I get 6' to INF with my DOF App...

With a 28mm, everything else the same, I get 7'6"" to INF.


If you have an APC-S with a FF lens, you shoot at f/11 and use f/16
The slightly smaller sensor gives you one stop MORE DOF... so you use a SMALLER f/stop, not larger, if you want to use the scales on the lens barrel.

("Smaller f/stop" is OLD SCHOOL for a smaller iris opening....... f/stop is a fraction, the larger the denominator, the smaller the unit size..... f/11 has a larger hole than f/16 by 2x the light gathering power)
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Old 09-26-2015   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
Full frame, and yes, I use raw.

Let me clarify: in the example I shoot @f11, but use the f5.6 or f8 DOF scale and the respective hyperfocal distance. I subtract a stop or two of the actual aperture used to be on the conservative side when it comes to enlargement/viewing distance. I know many others do the same on film at least.
Doing this is equivalent of using DOF tables generated using a smaller Circle of Confusion. It is a very valid technique that makes using the fixed DOF scale on a particular lens usable for situations when you want a table using a smaller CoC than the lens manufacturer used.
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Old 09-26-2015   #8
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It works better than it ever did on 35 mm film, if you use a tiny sensor and a significantly wide angle lens - hyperfocal is my standard setting on the Ricoh GX100. But on large sensor cameras, it has become increasingly difficult, as pixel counts and sensor sizes grew - I rarely can get away with the DOF and CoC assumptions of 35mm any more. The break even must have been around 12MP FF or 16MP APS-C - current cameras are already more like medium format when it comes to (careful) focusing...
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Old 09-26-2015   #9
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Film, digital. I don't care. Focus and dof works always.
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Old 09-26-2015   #10
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Ok, you use the mark one to two stops lower, not shoot at other stops. Sorry, got that wrong.

If you kept the same size of sensor then I don't think it would change. But film and digital render differently. Whatever other say, I still see a difference. Maybe you do to and it is that what you see, not any change in "focus".
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Old 09-27-2015   #11
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Of course digital and film render differently.

But microcontrast has nothing to do with focus.

For some lenses (I'm thinkig of the 20/1.5 Zeiss ZM Sonnar C) aperture does affect microcontrast. But It's hard to imagine how the difference between f 8 and f 11 could change microcontrast. Obviously at some point aperture induced diffraction can degrade perceived acuity.
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Old 09-27-2015   #12
ferider
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Thanks a lot for the replies all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DNG View Post
I'd focus on INF at f/5.6 or f/8 with a 28mm or 24mm... with these focal lengths, at INF, you have 8 feet or so to INF in focus anyway.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sevo View Post
It works better than it ever did on 35 mm film, if you use a tiny sensor and a significantly wide angle lens - hyperfocal is my standard setting on the Ricoh GX100. But on large sensor cameras, it has become increasingly difficult, as pixel counts and sensor sizes grew - I rarely can get away with the DOF and CoC assumptions of 35mm any more. The break even must have been around 12MP FF or 16MP APS-C - current cameras are already more like medium format when it comes to (careful) focusing...
DNG, Sevo, this is very helpful.

Roland.
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Old 09-27-2015   #13
ferider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willie_901 View Post
But microcontrast has nothing to do with focus.
As I understand/use it, micro contrast is measured in an image, independent on how the image was taken. If you front focus an infinity shot, than the micro contrast at infinity is affected by how much you front focus. And I feel also by the medium, or as Sevo suggests, by the available image resolution.

Maybe I abused the term. In any case, where would you focus my example picture (post #4) ?
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Old 09-27-2015   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
..., where would you focus my example picture (post #4) ?
Personally, I would cheat by making two pix and judging later.

Pic 1: focus on the nearest edge of the far shore.

Pic 2: focus on the furthest grass in the foreground in the portion to the far right.

or a 3rd cheat:

Pic 1: focus on the large trees
Pic 2: focus on the near shore grass at a point about 1/3 of the way between the nearest and furthest.
Final image: Merge these two, with a seam across the water, retaining the sharpest portions of each. Masking by hand would likely be required to allow for changes in the water reflections between the two images.

In this picture, the edges of hills are not really critical to the image and a little loss of sharpness wouldn't be significant. The trees do need to be sharp as does the grass on the far shore. The near shore grass needs to be reasonable sharp, though being very sharp would be better IMHO.
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Old 09-27-2015   #15
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Good option, Dwig. I didn't even consider this, and I'll need to use a tripod. Note that the anti-HDR folks will snob you for this

Another 28mm film example that I like. Where would you focus ?

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Old 09-27-2015   #16
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From indirect knowledge ( I don't shoot digital ), you have three options:
- use 1 f stop more to adjust the DOF to smaller COC's
- given that you have a scientific mind, test the real DOF yourself for each FL
- in landscape, focus at infinity, as you do now, and work out for each lens, at which stop the diffraction starts bothering you
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Old 09-27-2015   #17
ferider
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Thanks, Marek.

"....given that you have a scientific mind..."

Too much so, I'm afraid sometimes. Maybe the foreground doesn't matter as much as I used to think ... that's the core of my question, really.

Here is a recent digital example:



I don't really like this photo. Too much emphasis on (ugly) foreground, or is it just that the light was bad (3pm) ?

Roland.
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Old 09-27-2015   #18
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Maybe you are sort of fooled by colour. If you look at colours, the green and white of the water becomes dominant, if you look at the form (B&W), the edge of the cliff takes over - there is little interest in the upper right part of the frame. For me the best part of this frame is the lower right quarter. Personally, I don't shoot colour, but if I did, I would mainly play colours, disregarding everything else.
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