Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7

Started Aug 21, 2012 | Discussions
dellaaa
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Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
Aug 21, 2012

Is there a way to set the focusing distance to the hyperfocal distance for a given F stop on the NEX7.

It would help for landscapes.

Thanks in advance

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EinsteinsGhost
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to dellaaa, Aug 21, 2012

The best way to do it is carry an app (I use iDOF Calc) if you have a smart phone. Keep it set to NEX-7 (or any Sony APS-C would do). When needed, set aperture and focal length, and you're set.

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FuzzyQball
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to dellaaa, Aug 21, 2012

I have to wonder if autofocus limits out at the hyper focal distance for the aperture selected anyway. It makes sense that it would work this way. Why go further? Wonder it there is any way to test?
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RGBCMYK
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to FuzzyQball, Aug 22, 2012

Are you aware that you can see dof with focus peaking on the NEX 7 ? I can say it is amazing to watch the plane of focus / dof move through the image but it takes a little work. I only shoot raw so setting the image mode to b/w and the highest contrast and sharpness with focus peaking at yellow really helps. As you stop down the lens you will see the dof increase and as you focus your camera you can see it move. Using the manual focus mode and zooming in on your image even allows you to check focus at areas. When using my lens baby and the new 80 optic with a tilt as I focus I literally watch the adjusted plane of focus in yellow move across the image. This isn't exactly setting the hyperfocal distance but you do get to see the dof of your image.
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FuzzyQball
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to RGBCMYK, Aug 22, 2012

I have used peaking. I had it on while using Landscape mode and some much turned yellow that I could not see anything. Not much use for that type of photography.
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dellaaa
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to FuzzyQball, Aug 22, 2012

Is it possible for the camera to display the distance it is currently focused at?

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probert500
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to dellaaa, Aug 22, 2012

You could buy a lens with a distance scale and just go old school.Voightlander 15mm?

I think with aps you use the scale for the next largest aperture to gauge your range of focus. Not positive though.

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RGBCMYK
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to FuzzyQball, Aug 22, 2012

If you are shooting raw turn the mode to B/W and the yellow focus peaking will be very useful. I can see if you are shooting a field of wheat and your mode was color it would be impossible to use yellow focus peaking but switching it to b/w will make the yellow stand out perfectly.

FuzzyQball wrote:

I have used peaking. I had it on while using Landscape mode and some much turned yellow that I could not see anything. Not much use for that type of photography.
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ZOIP
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to dellaaa, Aug 22, 2012

Unfortunately without distance markings on the lens and locking of the focus mechanism you will find that conventional methods don't work.

It is possible to scale the focus ring and use manual focus methods but it's messy and of course defaces your lens, though I have done exactly this.

However an easy workaround is as follows.

Choose the aperture and focal lenght you require.

Select manual focus

Zoom in to the maximum view (14.8 times I think)

Turn the focus ring until the horizon (infinity distance objects) are just in focus.

Rack the focus back and forth a couple of times to ensure you have nailed it.

This will be the hyperfocal setting for the aperture and focal lenght you have chosen, if you change either then you will need to repeat the process.

If you want to get a little more foreground clarity you can bias the focus back towards you a little, in other words allow the infinity object to be just a tiny bit soft, this often works very well.

Ultimately you will probably find this often gives better focus than the cameras auto focus for landscapes, you will also probably be surprised at just how tiny the adjustments need to be to reach peak clarity.

Even for lenses with distance scales on them the use of DOF scales are pretty useless as the scales are rarely accurate or fine enough to facilitate precise focus placement, additionally they cannot take into account field curvature of the lens.

In the end the above method using live view will give the most reliable results unless you are prepared to fully test and create your own fine distance scale for the lens, and this is only practical for fixed focal lenght lenses.

The exceptions are expensive cine lenses which are set up to be used with focus pulling and thus have the fine scales etc needed, but of course they are ultra expensive and too bulky for most peoples needs.

Hope it helps

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EinsteinsGhost
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to dellaaa, Aug 22, 2012

dellaaa wrote:

Is it possible for the camera to display the distance it is currently focused at?

It is possible, and EXIF standards have room for it, but usually it is not an information carried forward.

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EinsteinsGhost
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If you're willing to do the math...
In reply to dellaaa, Aug 22, 2012

dellaaa wrote:

Is there a way to set the focusing distance to the hyperfocal distance for a given F stop on the NEX7.

It would help for landscapes.

Thanks in advance

Besides use of an app, as I recommended earlier, I also have a baseline hyperfocal distance for self, when I'm too lazy to either pull out or remember to carry my smart phone.

But, it requires a little math. Here is where I start:
Focal Length: 20mm
Aperture: f/8
Hyperfocal Distance: 2.5m

I've discovered that 20-35mm is the typical FL I shoot landscapes with, generally f/8-11 but f/8 is a good starting point, and hyperfocal distance is an area of interest. Besides, it becomes increasingly difficult to guess distance as it gets further out. Hence my choice: 20mm, f/8.

Now, to estimate hyper-focal distance...

Focal Length, 30mm: 30/20 = 1.5. Square of 1.5 is 2.25. Multiply 2.25 * 2.50 (hyperfocal at 20mm) and we have about 5.5m (approximations work fine).

So, the formula:

Square of (Focal Length Selected/20) multiplied by 2.50 = Hyperfocal Distance in meters for the Focal Length at f/8.

Hence, if FL = 40mm, we have:
(40/20)^2 * 2.50 = 10m

It is also (similarly) easy to manipulate for f/5.6 or f/11 apertures...

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Karsten Meyer
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to EinsteinsGhost, Aug 22, 2012

dellaaa wrote:

Is it possible for the camera to display the distance it is currently focused at?

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

It is possible, and EXIF standards have room for it, but usually it is not an information carried forward.

I don't think Sony made is posssible in the specs of the NEX.
How about Sony's DSLRs? I don't know.

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EinsteinsGhost
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to Karsten Meyer, Aug 22, 2012

Karsten Meyer wrote:

dellaaa wrote:

Is it possible for the camera to display the distance it is currently focused at?

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

It is possible, and EXIF standards have room for it, but usually it is not an information carried forward.

I don't think Sony made is posssible in the specs of the NEX.
How about Sony's DSLRs? I don't know.

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The feature is there (that is how ADI flash works) but unsure if it gets written somewhere.

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Dennis
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to dellaaa, Aug 22, 2012

I think quite a number of the replies are missing the fact that you have no clue how far away you're focused on a native e-mount lens. One posted suggested using adapted lenses with focus guides. (I'm not sure how accurate focus guides are anyway; they'll get you in the ballpark, but you can also try AFing on something you judge to be that far away).

You might also consider another approach. Harold Merklinger. in his book "The Ins and Outs of Focus", suggests an alternate approach to focusing, and this method would work better on lenses without focus scales. The book is published online here:
http://www.trenholm.org/hmmerk/TIAOOFe.pdf

and the summary on page 73 describes the simple alternate method. (There's plenty of background information in the book that explains why he recommends the method).

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Karsten Meyer
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to EinsteinsGhost, Aug 22, 2012

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

Karsten Meyer wrote:

dellaaa wrote:

Is it possible for the camera to display the distance it is currently focused at?

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

It is possible, and EXIF standards have room for it, but usually it is not an information carried forward.

I don't think Sony made is posssible in the specs of the NEX.
How about Sony's DSLRs? I don't know.

-- hide signature --

The feature is there (that is how ADI flash works) but unsure if it gets written somewhere.

Then it's a shame that there's no display, not even a gauge for that.
Even my little LX3 has such a display - in manual focus mode.

The other difficulty about this is that it's almost impossible to focus on infinity in the dark, e.g. for fireworks.
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EinsteinsGhost
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to Karsten Meyer, Aug 22, 2012

Karsten Meyer wrote:

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

Karsten Meyer wrote:

dellaaa wrote:

Is it possible for the camera to display the distance it is currently focused at?

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

It is possible, and EXIF standards have room for it, but usually it is not an information carried forward.

I don't think Sony made is posssible in the specs of the NEX.
How about Sony's DSLRs? I don't know.

-- hide signature --

The feature is there (that is how ADI flash works) but unsure if it gets written somewhere.

Then it's a shame that there's no display, not even a gauge for that.
Even my little LX3 has such a display - in manual focus mode.

The other difficulty about this is that it's almost impossible to focus on infinity in the dark, e.g. for fireworks.
--
--> http://gplus.to/KarstenMeyer

Distance information isn't always accurate, or usable. It is one of the issues with presenting it correctly. For fireworks, it is best to just get a distant object in focus. For that matter, lenses usually have distance scales, but they don't necessarily coincide with real distances. Best is to set focus on your own...

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Karsten Meyer
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to EinsteinsGhost, Aug 22, 2012

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

Karsten Meyer wrote:

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

Karsten Meyer wrote:

dellaaa wrote:

Is it possible for the camera to display the distance it is currently focused at?

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

It is possible, and EXIF standards have room for it, but usually it is not an information carried forward.

I don't think Sony made is posssible in the specs of the NEX.
How about Sony's DSLRs? I don't know.

-- hide signature --

The feature is there (that is how ADI flash works) but unsure if it gets written somewhere.

Then it's a shame that there's no display, not even a gauge for that.
Even my little LX3 has such a display - in manual focus mode.

The other difficulty about this is that it's almost impossible to focus on infinity in the dark, e.g. for fireworks.
--
--> http://gplus.to/KarstenMeyer

Distance information isn't always accurate, or usable. It is one of the issues with presenting it correctly. For fireworks, it is best to just get a distant object in focus.

This is almost impossible in the dark.

For that matter, lenses usually have distance scales, but they don't necessarily coincide with real distances.

Which also are very inaccurate - the modern ones. I'm dreaming on the good old times.
Very nice picture, btw!
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Dennis
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to Karsten Meyer, Aug 22, 2012

Karsten Meyer wrote:

Distance information isn't always accurate, or usable. It is one of the issues with presenting it correctly. For fireworks, it is best to just get a distant object in focus.

This is almost impossible in the dark.

It's a nuisance ... but shooting lightning last month, I just had to figure out which way to focus - which meant shining a light on a couple close objects so I could tell which direction to turn the ring ... then I just turned it enough that I knew it had to be out at infinity. (Results were sharp enough - no concern over going past infinity). It was a bit jarring, though. DSLRs may be old tech dinosaurs, but I'm just not finding focus-by-wire, view-by-electrons all that satisfying. Thank goodness I'm not using a power zoom lens !

  • Dennis

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FuzzyQball
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to RGBCMYK, Aug 22, 2012

When you are shooting things at a distance, and a smaller aperture, you can have a lot in focus!
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Elyharbour
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Re: Set focus to hyperfocal distance on NEX7
In reply to EinsteinsGhost, Aug 22, 2012

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

The best way to do it is carry an app (I use iDOF Calc) if you have a smart phone. Keep it set to NEX-7 (or any Sony APS-C would do). When needed, set aperture and focal length, and you're set.

If you check on DOFMaster, the hyperfocal distance for NEX cameras is different to Sony DSLRs (and not 2.5m for 20mm/F8). Does anybody know if this is correct and why?

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