Usability of Zone Focusing

Started Oct 22, 2020 | Questions thread
Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 19,063
Re: Usability of Zone Focusing

Gurusathiy wrote:

You have marked this reply as answering your question but it doesn't really do that satisfactorily.

As I said in another post, DOF depends (among other things) on the size of sensor. The markings on old lenses are calculated for 35mm film - full frame on digital - so unless you are using a FF camera (and you aren't) the scales give wrong answers.

You can work out how to convert the scales, of course, but that's something extra to think about.

Note, too, that while this reply doesn't recommend f/11, that is not a very good aperture to use on your camera. The exact aperture depends on factors including the focal length of the lens but in a lot of cases you'll get betterr esults at f/5.6-8.

Autonerd wrote:

Gurusathiy wrote:

A newbie here!!


  1. If I use a high quality manual focus lens with DOF scale printed, set it to 10' to Infinity and leave it there, will it help in achieving sharp photos without any need to recompose and focus again? (please don't route me to point & shoot)
  2. Will the above trick help in snapping up moving subjects within that range as well?

Yes and yes. Here's a 28mm lens zone-focused for f/11:

Here, with the lens set at f/11, everything from just under 5 feet (let's call it 4.5) to infinity will be in focus. If, say, a caribou walked into the shot 20' from the camera, it'd be in focus.

It wouldn't be in focus (according to the scale focus is at about 10'); it would be slightly out of focus but acceptably sharp. "Focus" and "sharpness" are different things; it doesn't help a beginner to confuse them.

The whole pint about DOF is that things can look sharp (that is, they are "acceptably" sharp) even when they are slightly out of focus. DOF is the range of distances about the distance where things are in focus that things look sharp. To set the desired DOF one needs to know that distance: moving the focus distance moves the DOF.

Pin-sharp? Can't say, as I'm shooting traditional-grain film, and besides, nothing in this life is perfect. With my Sony, I've found that objects within the DOF range are plenty sharp.


Hi Aaron,

Thanks a lot, this is exactly my query was when using a manual focus lens. I'll see how this works for me and update the thread here but that may take a while:-( as I'm occupied with my day job!!
Guru raj

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I'm happy for anyone to edit any of my photos and display the results
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006

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