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Thread: landscape infintity focus: what aperture do you prefer or use?

  1. #11

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    Re: landscape infintity focus: what aperture do you prefer or use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Noel View Post
    During my 80+ years in photography my approach has changed dramatically. For most o the time I have tried to achieve sharpness over the entire image. During the most recent 15-20 years my vision has moved more toward the way the eye sees. In most of my images I now attempt to have one area of sharp focus while the remainder gradually becomes softer and softer. There are still times during which I attempt to reach overall sharpness as was the case during my recent trip to the Giant Redwoods. In this case I felt it important for the viewer to be able to focus sharply on any area of interest to them.
    Indeed, for me it seems more natural. When I go through my images from the 1980 until now I see that I have ‘evolved’ this way. And sometimes it need to be compleet sharp.

  2. #12
    (Shrek)
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    Re: landscape infintity focus: what aperture do you prefer or use?

    At infinity I'll optimize shutter speed over aperture. If there's even a hint of wind, that usually means f11.

  3. #13

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    Re: landscape infintity focus: what aperture do you prefer or use?

    Do keep in mind a couple of variables.

    One - Apparent diffraction for a given aperture varies with focal length...so that your (theoretical) "ideal" aperture with, say, a 150mm lens might indeed be f/11 to f/16, while that of a 210mm might be f/16 to f/22, etc. (not sure if these are exact figures, and certain lenses, like the 150mm G-Claron, are "optimized" at values which are slightly different).

    Two - depending on the size of eventual enlargement (assuming you are enlarging), you may or may not notice any visible effects of diffraction until well beyond a theoretical value. I've often noticed how many folks on this forum comment on how many lenses can be stopped down well beyond "theoretical" (diffraction) limits, with virtually no deleterious effects...even when the resulting negatives are enlarged significantly. I share this view for the most part. Other aspects such as intensity and direction of lighting and apparent contrast can also influence the appearance of diffraction...just as they can apparent depth of focus. This can be a bit subjective of course, and in your particular case of not needing to introduce much extra apparent depth, you might as well not try to push the "diffraction envelope" too far...but also consider another variable (#3):

    Which is more cautionary - as you will be transporting your gear into the great outdoors (as most of us here do), the stability of the "micro-climate" inside both your film holders and camera itself could be compromised enough to cause your film to warp enough to warrant utilizing an aperture value at least one stop smaller than what you might otherwise consider "ideal," to add just a bit of extra depth as compensation.
    Just some more things to ponder!

  4. #14
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: landscape infintity focus: what aperture do you prefer or use?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Layton View Post
    The stability of the "micro-climate" inside both your film holders and camera itself could be compromised enough to cause your film to warp enough to warrant utilizing an aperture value at least one stop smaller than what you might otherwise consider "ideal," to add just a bit of extra depth as compensation.
    A unique tip indeed. Iím always finding myself in the famous micro-climates of the Cascade mountain range, but not until reading your useful remark have I considered mile-by-mile climate changes, and elevation-change climate changes, making their way into my film holder and causing possible problems. As I think back on my history of exposures, I have no doubt that f/22 has been my go-to aperture for infinity focus for my Schneider 110, 150 g-claron, and Fuji A 240. On some occasions, maybe I should have made that f/32!

  5. #15
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: landscape infintity focus: what aperture do you prefer or use?

    Long exposures in cool humid conditions with 8x10 -- many negatives ruined from negative 'popping' during exposure. I'll pull the darkslide a little earlier with the darkcloth over the camera to let everything stabalize if I feel it is needed.

    And occasionally the film dropping during exposure -- the film starts out slightly catiswhompish in the holder, and then sometime in the multi-minute exposure, it drops down square in the holder. One corner will be sharp and the opposite corner showing the most movement. Tapping the holder with the heel of my hand before inserting it into the camera cured that*.

    * I did run into issues with old 11x14 holders doing this for vertical images -- the film would slide down under the flap unless I held the flap tight while I bumped the holder.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  6. #16

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    Re: landscape infintity focus: what aperture do you prefer or use?

    Aperture used depends on what needs to be in focus. Couple this with a given lens that meets this requirement driven by the image goals.
    View camera movements applied has a significant influence on aperture used.

    Generally, taking aperture used is never smaller than f45, largest aperture used being lens full aperture.

    The chronic f22 syndrome ("optimized aperture" for modern lenses) died circa late 1980's and been dead since. That said, the West Coast ideology of Group f64 with everything being "sharp" died about that time also. No longer convinced everything in the image MUST have apparent sharpness. Also come to appreciated the visual expressive abilities of "Sorta Focus" lenses and the value of Out of Focus rendition. These are more tools in the image making tool box no different than view camera movements.

    As for projection enlargements, IMO should be no more than 4x for B&W, ideally about 2x. This is less about apparent sharpness-resolution in the print it is more about the tonal smoothness and all those other visual qualities tied to sheet film and qualities that come with GOOD contact prints.

    Brings up another question, for those that apply taking apertures f16 to muchs maller, why lug around a HUGE modern f5.6 plasmat on a field folder when a smaller full aperture lens could be a far better choice? Yes, the f5.6 is brighter and easier to focus in dark areas, but there is a cost tied to that luxury.


    Bernice

  7. #17

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    Re: landscape infintity focus: what aperture do you prefer or use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    Aperture used depends on what needs to be in focus. Couple this with a given lens that meets this requirement driven by the image goals. View camera movements applied has a significant influence on aperture used.

    Generally, taking aperture used is never smaller than f45, largest aperture used being lens full aperture.

    The chronic f22 syndrome ("optimized aperture" for modern lenses) died circa late 1980's and been dead since. That said, the West Coast ideology of Group f64 with everything being "sharp" died about that time also. No longer convinced everything in the image MUST have apparent sharpness. Also come to appreciated the visual expressive abilities of "Sorta Focus" lenses and the value of Out of Focus rendition. These are more tools in the image making tool box no different than view camera movements.

    As for projection enlargements, IMO should be no more than 4x for B&W, ideally about 2x. This is less about apparent sharpness-resolution in the print it is more about the tonal smoothness and all those other visual qualities tied to sheet film and qualities that come with GOOD contact prints.

    Brings up another question, for those that apply taking apertures f16 to much smaller, why lug around a HUGE modern f5.6 plasmat on a field folder when a smaller full aperture lens could be a far better choice? Yes, the f5.6 is brighter and easier to focus in dark areas, but there is a cost tied to that luxury.


    Bernice
    Good points all, Bernice.

    However, I'm still alive and kicking and making photographs with everything in them as sharp as I can possibly get them. I really believe that the eye needs to be able to move about a well-composed image and not be distracted by out-of-focus details. My eye immediately goes to any out-of-focus object in a photo and stays there, trapped by the distraction, which often ruins an image for me.

    The human eye only focuses on a small area of its field of view, however, we get to scan our surroundings and focus sharply on everything we take in, building a psychological perception of everything being in focus. I like the viewers of my photographs to be able to do the same.

    We obviously have markedly different approaches to our work. But, one doesn't exclude the other. And, yes, I'm from the West Coast

    For those of us, then, who are trying to balance depth of field with diffraction degradation, there is an optimal f-stop for every scene, which depends on how deep the depth of field needs to be. The balance is between the size out-of-focus circles of confusion at the extremes of the depth of field and the size of the unsharp circles caused by diffraction degradation.

    A subject that requires little depth of field to get everything sharp can simply be made at the lens' optimum aperture. However, the greater the depth of field desired, the more one must stop down for acceptable sharpness. Often, this means stopping down past the onset of diffraction. The degradation thus introduced is balanced against the unsharpness at the extremes of the depth of field; ideally, one should not be greater than the other.

    It is worth noting that greater depth of field ends up limiting the size of enlargement that can be made before the diffraction degradation/out-of-focus blur becomes objectionable in the final print, which speaks to your second point. Relatively two-dimensional subjects with shallow depth of field can be made at closer to the lens' optimum aperture, which often allows rather great degrees of enlargement, say 5x-6x for fine-grained black-and-white films. Other subjects with greater depth of field and made at appropriately smaller apertures shouldn't be enlarged more than 2x-3x. All this, of course, depends on one's personal standards for sharpness and focus (and grain) in the final print.

    I rarely use f/45, and when I do, I note that the enlargement factor must be very small. I really like the f/22-f/32 range for 4x5.

    To your last point: Since I am one of those that almost never make a photograph at an aperture larger than f/16, my collection of lenses is centered around small size and portability. The only f/5.6 Plasmats I have is a rather small and light 135mm lens and a 150mm that I rarely use. A 210mm Plasmat is way past my size and weight limit . I've got a 75mm SW f/5.6 too, but it, too, is rather small. All the rest are lenses with approx. f/8-f/9 maximum apertures. I love my Fujinon As.

    Best,

    Doremus

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