How to best estimate subject distance


liventune

New Member
Jul 11, 2009
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#1
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).

:)
 

enzeru21

New Member
Apr 7, 2010
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upper thomson
#3
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..
 

liventune

New Member
Jul 11, 2009
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0
#4
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
 

daredevil123

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
21,660
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lil red dot
#5
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/2010/07/getting-everything-into-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?
 

daredevil123

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
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lil red dot
#6
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.
 

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liventune

New Member
Jul 11, 2009
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0
#7
Thanks daredevil123.

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

daredevil123

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
21,660
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lil red dot
#8
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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