One third in….

With all the bells and whistles that cameras have at this time, I suppose it’s easy to overlook something or not read the manual properly.

I have been doing photography from the time I bought a brand new Olympus OM10 SLR. So I learnt how to use aperture priority first and then manual. Other cameras followed and I learnt about other technicalities such as reciprocity failure (anyone else remember that) and hyperfocal distance.

With the latter, I abandoned the tables and charts after getting fed up and just used the “down and dirty” method of focussing a third of the way into the picture and using a small aperture. I’ve used this method ever since. Of course with the advent of digital cameras and especially the excellent focus aids such as those on the Fuji cameras it’s a lot easier to see what is in focus and what isn’t.

Every now and again though I can be out with a camera and something on the settings or in the viewfinder makes me think, “Do I use that, and if I don’t why not?” This happened the other day when I was taking a photograph of something in the distance and using the old “third of a way in” to get the focus sharp to where I wanted it in the picture. I noticed the hyperfocal distance marker on the focus scale in the viewfinder. I knew it was there, of course, I had just never used it. I had the “one third in” rule, didn’t I?
Once I was back home, I looked it up in the Fuji manual and Rico Pfirstinger’s excellent Fujifilm X-Pro2 – 115 X-Pert Tips. I tried it out a couple of times in the garden and it seemed to work clearly and logically.

So, on the next shoot if it calls for hyperfocal distance at some point I’ll use the scale in the Fuji. It might work well, it might not – but you never know. Focussing “one-third in” may be a thing of the past for me.

Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon XF18-135mm F/3.5 – 5.6 R LM OIS WR

This first image is one that I would have used the “focus a third in” rule for. I really liked the shape of the gaps in the crop against the sky. A little bit of sky enhancement and the picture was done.

Fujifilm X-E2, Fujinon XF35mm F/2 R WR

This next shot was deliberately shot with the largest aperture the XF35mm F/2 lens could do in order that the background would blur in order to enhance the foreground.


Fujifilm X-E2, Fujinon XF35mm F/2 R WR

It was the shadow of the tongs and the texture of the wall that drew my attention to this shot. I didn’t feel that I needed all of the tongs in the picture as it was the curved top and its attendant shadow that provided the interest in my composition. It was taken indoors and it wasn’t important to have a great depth of field in this shot as long as the tongs and wall were in focus so I used F/3.2 to keep the ISO low.

Fujifilm X-E2, Fujinon XF35mm F/2 R

The composition of this last picture meant that I had to keep the depth of field as high as I could in order that all of the jugs are in focus. For that reason, I increased the ISO and used an aperture of F/6.4 on the 35mm lens.


Nikon D800 firmware updates

Nikon have just announced a firmware update for the D800 and D800E. These re updates A1.10 and B1.10. They can be downloaded from the Nikon Europe website here.

The update changes a couple of the menu designations for video and for the communications unit UT-1, but for me the main change has been on putting right the coding error which meant that trap focussing could not be done.

Now Nikon have enabled modifications which means that the shutter will fail to release if the camera fails to focus. The conditions required to do this are:
• Set Autofocus mode to AF-S
• Set AF-area mode to single-point autofocus and
• Custom setting A2 (AF-S priority selection) is set to focus.

This new setting (which should have been on the camera to start with) will enable you to focus on a particular spot where you expect the subject to be or to pass through with the AF-On button. You then move the camera a fraction so that the centre focus point now reads the area as out of focus. You depress the shutter button and keep it depressed but because the camera AF system deems the area is out of focus, no shots get taken. As your chosen subject then gets to the pre-focused distance the camera detects the subject is sharp and so takes the shot. One of the most used scenarios for this is for taking the newly married couple walking down the aisle towards the camera.

Useful stuff.