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Thread: New to LF - First shot - Focusing

  1. #11
    http://www.spiritsofsilver.com tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: New to LF - First shot - Focusing

    At first glance I don't think that it would be necessary to use tilt to get the meter into fine focus. But if you also wanted to get the texture of the street in front of the meter into fine focus also, then tilt would probably be necessary. First focus wide open as suggested above. Then depending on how it looks on the GG, focus on the far point (with respect to you) and then tilt for the nearer point that you want to be in focus (could be the reverse depending on whether you are using base or axial tilt camera) and refocus. After a couple of iterations of this both points should be in fine focus. If everything looks good on the GG, stop down to as appropriate and take the shot. If the negative sees it differently, then you have a camera problem. Would I would try on this shot is to first focus wide open on the numbers and then stop down while looking on the GG to see where the meter (which is closest to you)comes into sharp focus. Personally I would have wanted the street in the foreground to be in sharp focus also.

    Thomas

  2. #12

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    Re: New to LF - First shot - Focusing

    Quote Originally Posted by djdister View Post
    If you are just getting started and want to check the accuracy of your focus, don't stop down to f/32. Shoot near wide open, like f/8 to ensure the focus in the shot is what you focused on. And like Bernice said, ensure the front and rear standards are zeroed and parallel to each other, and in an architectural shot, parallel to the front plane of the building. Make sure the camera is level for architecture shots.
    Yes, this- absolutely. And while I agree it is unlikely that Austin made an installation error- I supervise 6 technicians at work and even though I would consider them experts mistakes are made once in awhile. After you make a focal plane determination shooting wide open if there seems to be an issue I think you should call your repair facility and discuss how to go forward.

  3. #13

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    Re: New to LF - First shot - Focusing

    I, too, have a hard time seeing why the meter should not also be acceptably sharp if you focused on the numbers and shot at f/32. Depth of field should have been enough.

    So, I suspect there's something else going on. Maybe as simple as camera movement, film "pop" during the exposure, etc.

    Do do a test to ensure you're Fresnel and ground glass are properly placed. Easiest for me is to photograph a ruler set at an oblique angle to the camera back. Use a longish lens, shoot wide open (to get the shallowest depth of field possible) and focus on a mark in the middle of the ruler (e.g., the 6-inch mark). Develop the film and check the negative with a loupe (10x is good - 8x is okay). If your mark is in sharp focus, then you are fine. If another mark is sharper, you've likely got a discrepancy between the gg focus plane and the film (but repeat the test to make sure it wasn't operator error).

    I do this fairly regularly with my cameras when I'm in the middle of a printing session. It's easy: set up the shot, shoot, toss the negatives into the print developer for five minutes or so, stop, fix for a couple minutes and check with the loupe while wet. Then the negs get tossed.

    As for focusing: I recommend, as others here have, the method described on the LF home page, especially in the article on how to find the optimum f-stop.

    It is a beginners mistake to focus on something far away and then stop down to get nearer objects acceptably sharp. Depth of field extends both in front of and behind the plane of sharp focus, so you really want to focus in between the nearest and farthest points you want acceptably sharp and stop down to the appropriate f-stop depending on the "focus spread," i.e., the distance between the near and far points on your camera bed or rail when you focus on each separately. All the details are in the article here: https://www.largeformatphotography.info/fstop.html .

    As far as movements go for the shot you posted: Many would just set up the camera with standard in "zero" position and make sure the back was parallel to the fašade of the building, focus halfway between near and far points and stop down as needed. I might have applied a little tilt, if it helped (I check focus spread to see - less focus spread means the movement helps). I'd choose the nearest foreground point I wanted acceptably sharp and then on the closest vertical, which in this case might be the top of the parking meter or the top of the face of the building, depending on the tilt and the distances in the scene, and then tilt to get both these in sharp focus. Then I'd find my near and far focus points and see if the focus spread were better than just using zero position. If so, I'd use the tilt.

    As you can see, there's a lot to figure out about how to optimize movements, focus and f-stops, so don't hesitate to come back here regularly with your questions.

    Best,

    Doremus

  4. #14
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: New to LF - First shot - Focusing

    Maybe a few test shots or just dry focusing set ups on a vacant foot ball field would help. Looking for edge/corner coverage or fall off and curvature of field. Then a few tries working with front tilt and if the sun is really bright watching the GG as the lens is stopped down.
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  5. #15

    Re: New to LF - First shot - Focusing

    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    I, too, have a hard time seeing why the meter should not also be acceptably sharp if you focused on the numbers and shot at f/32. Depth of field should have been enough.

    So, I suspect there's something else going on. Maybe as simple as camera movement, film "pop" during the exposure, etc.

    Do do a test to ensure you're Fresnel and ground glass are properly placed. Easiest for me is to photograph a ruler set at an oblique angle to the camera back. Use a longish lens, shoot wide open (to get the shallowest depth of field possible) and focus on a mark in the middle of the ruler (e.g., the 6-inch mark). Develop the film and check the negative with a loupe (10x is good - 8x is okay). If your mark is in sharp focus, then you are fine. If another mark is sharper, you've likely got a discrepancy between the gg focus plane and the film (but repeat the test to make sure it wasn't operator error).

    I do this fairly regularly with my cameras when I'm in the middle of a printing session. It's easy: set up the shot, shoot, toss the negatives into the print developer for five minutes or so, stop, fix for a couple minutes and check with the loupe while wet. Then the negs get tossed.

    As for focusing: I recommend, as others here have, the method described on the LF home page, especially in the article on how to find the optimum f-stop.

    It is a beginners mistake to focus on something far away and then stop down to get nearer objects acceptably sharp. Depth of field extends both in front of and behind the plane of sharp focus, so you really want to focus in between the nearest and farthest points you want acceptably sharp and stop down to the appropriate f-stop depending on the "focus spread," i.e., the distance between the near and far points on your camera bed or rail when you focus on each separately. All the details are in the article here: https://www.largeformatphotography.info/fstop.html .

    As far as movements go for the shot you posted: Many would just set up the camera with standard in "zero" position and make sure the back was parallel to the fašade of the building, focus halfway between near and far points and stop down as needed. I might have applied a little tilt, if it helped (I check focus spread to see - less focus spread means the movement helps). I'd choose the nearest foreground point I wanted acceptably sharp and then on the closest vertical, which in this case might be the top of the parking meter or the top of the face of the building, depending on the tilt and the distances in the scene, and then tilt to get both these in sharp focus. Then I'd find my near and far focus points and see if the focus spread were better than just using zero position. If so, I'd use the tilt.

    As you can see, there's a lot to figure out about how to optimize movements, focus and f-stops, so don't hesitate to come back here regularly with your questions.

    Best,

    Doremus
    Thank you Doremus and everyone else!!

    So in my picture it would have been the numbers, refocus on parking meter and then read the difference in standard distance between those two points? Just want to clarify. Slightly dyslexic.

    I am guessing it doesn't need to be exact distance?

    Thank you!

  6. #16

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    Re: New to LF - First shot - Focusing

    Quote Originally Posted by Christianganko View Post
    Thank you Doremus and everyone else!!

    So in my picture it would have been the numbers, refocus on parking meter and then read the difference in standard distance between those two points? Just want to clarify. Slightly dyslexic.

    I am guessing it doesn't need to be exact distance?

    Thank you!
    Yep, if those things are the ones you want to place at the extremes of your depth of field. Being exact, however, helps. I've got millimeter scales on all my cameras so I can not the exact positions of the extremes and find the middle point of the camera bed rather precisely. I then note the focus spread and use the appropriate f-stop that I get from a table I have made (or, you can simply use the table from the "How to Select the f-stop" article on the LF home page here: https://www.largeformatphotography.info/fstop.html .

    Note that when you start using tilts and swings that you need to be careful choosing "near" and "far" focus points. With extreme tilt, for example, the "far" ends up being below the plane of sharp focus and the "near" is above the plane. Hence, a rather near-to-the-camera object that is significantly below the plane of sharp focus can end up being the point that ends up being your "far" reference point and vice-versa.

    Best,

    Doremus

  7. #17

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    Re: New to LF - First shot - Focusing

    Here you can download a focus scale for connection to your camera
    https://www.alexburkephoto.com/blog/...format-cameras

  8. #18

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    Re: New to LF - First shot - Focusing

    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickMarq View Post
    Here you can download a focus scale for connection to your camera
    https://www.alexburkephoto.com/blog/...format-cameras
    or if he wants something more durable, https://www.amazon.ca/Miter-Track-Me...07MGGRJQ1&th=1

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