Usability of Zone Focusing

Started Oct 22, 2020 | Questions thread
Jessica M Regular Member • Posts: 244
Re: Solving the wrong problem

Gurusathiy wrote:

May be I'm not an expert on how to focus quickly, as I said earlier, autofocus is not something that suits me nor I'm enjoying the need to magnify each time in MF to see if things are sharp in landscapes.. That's the reason for the post, to get some advise from experts on zone/hyperfocal...

Okay - now I understand, thank you for explaining.

Perhaps this might help your understanding and answer your question.

There are several levels of  ‘focus’ or ‘sharpness - at least this is how I think of it.

  1. The first is ‘critical sharp’.  I need critical sharp when the image will be printed very large (greater than 20”) and people are likely to view this image at a close distance and study its details. This is typically how I shoot landscapes.  I go through the effort of using a solid tripod, locking up the mirror, and (as you mentioned) magnifying in MF.  
  2. Next would be what I consider ‘sharp’.  I just use AF and make sure I have the correct AF settings that make sense given the scene.  That is matrix for a soccer game or the zoo.  Single point for portrait.  AF on modern cameras are darn fast and accurate.
  3. Lastly, there’s what I call ‘sharp enough’.  In this category, there are two techniques: zone focus and hyperfocal.  Both rely on depth-of-field but have different uses. I would say, IMHO, that the zone focus technique is only really useful for cameras which don’t have AF and where there’s no time to focus.  It’s good for situations where capturing the ‘moment’ is by far the priority, such as in street photography. Hyperfocal is a specific technique used to get the subject plus the entire scene (foreground to background) reasonably sharp.  Hyperfocal technique requires some calculations and distance estimates.  

One of the reasons I’m struggling with your question is that you want ‘critical sharp’ using techniques for ‘sharp enough’.  The thing you’re asking is not possible.

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