How do zoom shooters actually calculate their shots?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
OP deednets Forum Pro • Posts: 11,914
Re: How do zoom shooters actually calculate their shots?

GreatOceanSoftware wrote:

deednets wrote:

Maybe they don't at all and simply shoot what they see without too much of a worry??


I am not a zoom shooter and possibly never will be one as I find zooms way too complicated to use. I heard somebody mention that with a zoom lens you can simply frame your shot easier. I replied that this would constantly change the depth of field, how does one keep track of those changes? He asked me what I meant by that ...

To illustrate what I mean and maybe get some input from those (like Jerry??) who use and breathe "zoom", how do you guys who use zooms work around this (using the 16-80/4 as an example):

If you accept that this tool is correct you have between 455cm and 10cm of DOF when you use the zoom lens "wide" open.

So, coming back to the "framing" of any given shot: how do zoom shooters actually do this? Look at a café scene in Montparnasse and frame a certain shot. 16mm is too wide, 23mm a bit so-so but 31mm just right.

That is the frame, so far I can follow.

But how do those that work this way calculate what "type" of gentle roll off they want. Or are aiming for? I mean, if you look at the difference between 23mm and 35mm the DOF is almost 3x as much.

I have to admit that I simply don't get this. Read comments about the 16-55/2.8 being a bag of primes etc. how do people who actually use this bag-o-primes work around the DOF issue whilst framing?

Dunno ... maybe I am just a dinosaur, but when I use a prime and cannot zoom, when I have to move to frame I will get a more homogeneous image when compared to me not moving and using a zoom instead.

A zoom, in my opinion, is like a hammer that changes shape and weight whilst being used, depending on the distance from the wall.

So happy to learn how this is done (not so much like one "could" do this e.g. setting the focal length at a certain mm, then calculate the roll-off, but like people actually DO this).



*I just used a zoom during my time in Rarotonga and set this to the appropriate ff lengths, but then asked myself what to do with the DOF as it changes whilst framing ... decided the zoom wasn't for me and will possibly sell it, but haven't done so yet.

Wow, Deed. Nice can of worms. Thanks for spurring the discussion.

As a zoom shooter I don’t find myself thinking about this too much. But after reading some of the responses, I guess my best understanding is this: notice that the calculator doesn’t ask whether it’s a zoom or prime. 50mm is 50mm when it calculates the DOF.

I recently bought a 16-80 and just happened to notice that the zoom ring marks are 16, 23, 35, 50, and 80mm. Every time I look down at it I can’t help but think “Wow, 5 primes in 1” šŸ˜

I wish I had never asked ...

The difference as you can see from the graphs show a difference from 455cm to 139cm from 16-23mm. THAT is a lot of loss of DOF I thought.

My question was how people calculated this when using a zoom and within the process of framing (which wouldn't necessarily stop at the 16-23-35 etc stops).

Got my fair bashing over this so a bit frustrated, but most seem to think that I didn#t deserve any better. That's life aye?

Appreciate your post!


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