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Thread: How to best estimate subject distance

  1. #1

    Default How to best estimate subject distance

    I am trying to improve my landscape photo skills. Most of my pictures are OK but either the foreground or background is typically not as sharp as it could be. From what I am reading on hyperfocal distance it is critical to focus the camera on that point for maximum sharpness (1/2 of HD to infinity).

    Can some help me understand how to best estimate subject distance while shooting? As an example, how does one exactly focus say at a point that is 4.5 meters ahead? Do you folks just approximate or use some other tool?

    I cannot find subject distance being returned on the camera displays (D90 or old D70).


  2. #2

    Default Re: How to best estimate subject distance

    not sure if u have read this, but it should help...

    http://www.dofmaster.com/hyperfocal.html

  3. #3
    Member enzeru21's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to best estimate subject distance

    Quote Originally Posted by liventune View Post
    I am trying to improve my landscape photo skills. Most of my pictures are OK but either the foreground or background is typically not as sharp as it could be. From what I am reading on hyperfocal distance it is critical to focus the camera on that point for maximum sharpness (1/2 of HD to infinity).

    Can some help me understand how to best estimate subject distance while shooting? As an example, how does one exactly focus say at a point that is 4.5 meters ahead? Do you folks just approximate or use some other tool?

    I cannot find subject distance being returned on the camera displays (D90 or old D70).

    what mode do you shoot in for ur landscapes? what settings do you use?? alot of things are in play here, and we don't know can't really diagnose..
    when your foreground or background not sharp could be because you aperture wide open, then shallow depth of field.. set your aperture settings to f8-f16...

    usually landscapes we will just set to infinity focus... unless you are really trying to focus on something right infront of you and leaving the background slightly OOF...

    some lens have a scale window, to show the distance of focusing.. if not then you just have to take some time to use manual focus and see when the "subject" you wan to be in focus is sharp lor..
    enzeru21 Canon 500D |Tamron17-50mm f/2.8| Sigma30mm f/1.4 | 580EX II
    mylightedreams

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to best estimate subject distance

    manual, F11, on tripod with mirror-up, ISO 100, cable shutter release. Was cautioned to not go smaller than F11 to avoid diffraction related issues.
    Was just trying to understand how to best focus on a partiicular distance accurately (example at the calculated HD). From chiangkxv article, looks like it is approximated.
    many thanks chiangkxv, very good read

  5. #5
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to best estimate subject distance

    Quote Originally Posted by liventune View Post
    I am trying to improve my landscape photo skills. Most of my pictures are OK but either the foreground or background is typically not as sharp as it could be. From what I am reading on hyperfocal distance it is critical to focus the camera on that point for maximum sharpness (1/2 of HD to infinity).

    Can some help me understand how to best estimate subject distance while shooting? As an example, how does one exactly focus say at a point that is 4.5 meters ahead? Do you folks just approximate or use some other tool?

    I cannot find subject distance being returned on the camera displays (D90 or old D70).

    For hyperfocal distance, you do not have to focus at the exact hyperfocal distance. You can focus a little further out and it will still work...

    For explanation and examples see this article:
    http://darthbertz.blogspot.com/2010/...nto-focus.html

    Look under the section:
    What if I do not have a distance scale on my lens, and/or I do not know whether I can focus at the exact spot?

  6. #6
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to best estimate subject distance

    Quote Originally Posted by liventune View Post
    manual, F11, on tripod with mirror-up, ISO 100, cable shutter release. Was cautioned to not go smaller than F11 to avoid diffraction related issues.
    Was just trying to understand how to best focus on a partiicular distance accurately (example at the calculated HD). From chiangkxv article, looks like it is approximated.
    many thanks chiangkxv, very good read
    Depending on which camera, the smallest aperture you should use will change.

    For most modern APS-C cameras like D90, D60, D3000, D5000, 550D , 500D. The smallest you should use is about F16. Any smaller diffraction will be significant.

    For me personally, I choose between F13 and F16.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 15th August 2010 at 09:23 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to best estimate subject distance

    Thanks daredevil123.

    Excellent reference article. I very much appreciate you passing this along and also your suggestions on the aperture value. I will practise....

  8. #8
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to best estimate subject distance

    Quote Originally Posted by liventune View Post
    Thanks daredevil123.

    Excellent reference article. I very much appreciate you passing this along and also your suggestions on the aperture value. I will practise....
    Great to know you find it helpful. Feel free to post a comment in that article. Thanks for reading my article.

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