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chris_tribble

Oh well, why not?

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Learning to see your shot on the print or on the wall, before you raise the camera to your eye, was the best bit of advice I was ever given, back in the day. Thanks go to Charles Koltz, the man that made me want a Leica in the first place.

 

I don't manage it every time, but sometimes you just get in the groove. As an amateur, sometimes is fine with me.

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Guest guy_mancuso

It was great advice Andy although today we don't always print for the wall but the same applies. When you get to this point in photography you really are at the top of your game. It takes a lot of learning and patience but that is the fun part also.

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Learn to have the shot in your head before you even raise the camera to your eye. Than you know you finally jumped a huge hurdle in photography.

 

Yep, I have always read that, but now I think I get it.

 

I have been trying of late to see the picture more with my mind's eye rather than bringing the camera to my face and searching around in the view finder for the picture.

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I think the RF really emphasizes seeing the shot before the camera reaches the eye. I think the SLR emphasizes what the photo will look like, whereas the RF emphasizes when and what falls within the lines.

 

Anyway, I hate distortion and CA. I think those are my two biggest beefs with lenses these days.

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Sharpness is usually overplayed in these photography forums but none of these shots appear to have the focus where I'd expect it to be. Touch of backfocus or 'focus and recompose' issues?

 

Ian - This is part of the issue with my technique / the problem of RF over auto on long lenses. With an SLR I tend work with a single focus point most of the time - so I can spot an eye, lock on that and shoot with reasonable certainty that it will be the bit that's in focus. With long lenses on the M, I know that I tend to look at the edge of things - because frankly (especially when the head's in semi-profile) it's hard to differentiate between the eye itself and the side of the face. Fully open, this can lead to problems. In the case of the girl in the 100% crop below, I know that I took focus off the edge of the face. This means that at 1/125th with the lens fully open, I've not got much latitude to play with. For me, the shot's usable. Maybe I should have stopped down - and maybe that would have been the right decision - but I don't think that the lens is at fault.

 

Anyone else's experience with techique on longer lens focus would be interesting to hear.

 

Best

Edited by chris_tribble

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In the case of the girl in the 100% crop below, I know that I took focus off the edge of the face.

 

Since neither the edge of the face nor any one of the eyes seems to be in focus, and since the lens you have used is one of the potentially sharpest lenses around, I would assume either a focus error on your part or a front or back focus error on the lens. In the small image it's hard to tell where the plane of focus actually lies.

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I'm going to try to start making the focus continuous with the shoot step when shooting stuff that is moving.

 

I have been trying of late to see the picture more with my mind's eye rather than bringing the camera to my face and searching around in the view finder for the picture.

 

Apologies to answering this in this thread--wanted to comment on it here in proximity to the original comment.

 

Auni--Interesting observation on the way of working. Here's a bit of my process, for what that's worth:

 

Before shooting . . . I'm "seeing" what I want to shoot and I pre-set my exposure for incident light conditions (I use a Gossen DigiSix). Not everyone does this, but I've found it gets me to a good starting place exposure-wise.

 

Then, I raise the M8 to my eye and shoot:

 

(1) I'm running the focus ring down until the instant I take the shot. (This is the shot I think I want.) I *might* tinker with speed here to expose the shot differently. I rarely change the aperture. This is shot#1.

 

(2) Then, it's instant re-evaluation time to find other opportunities through the finder. I re-focus on something else to get a different focus emphasis. Simultaneously, I reposition the subject in the viewfinder left/right/up/down to get different framing emphasis. I might tinker with speed to alter exposure. I repeat that process for shots #2 through #4ish. (Sometimes 3 shots sometime 6 or 7 shots.)

 

I work as fast as I can--shooting through the shots in 10 to 15 seconds. Focus ring is going pretty much all the time EXCEPT when I have "locked" my focus and I'm shifting the camera to reposition the subject.

 

Shot#1: Nets the photo I end up using, about 60% of the time.

Shot#2+: Nets at least one good alternative to shot#1, about 90% of the time.

 

If I'm very interested in a subject and decide to explore it further, I make sure I physically move to a different spot and repeat the process.

 

Not sure if this matters, but shooting is a physical act for me. When shooting I pivot at my waist left/right/forward/back and also use my knees/toes to push up/down. If that isn't working, I'll step in/out and left/right. (This is all going on while I'm composing and running focus as described above.) Helps me get exactly the composition I want from the position I've selected. Don't know how common this is--haven't heard much comment on it--but approaching the shots physically--as if it's an active sport--helps, also.

 

Cheers,

Will

Edited by wstotler

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Anyone else's experience with techique on longer lens focus would be interesting to hear.

 

Chris,

 

I don't have the 75--but I do use an older 90 Summicron Type II pretty frequently. I rarely stop down.

 

It takes some work to find focus--even with the 1.25x magnifier.

(You didn't say if you were using that--it will certainly help. I use the 1.25x magnifier for 50mm and longer lenses on the M8.)

 

Here are my favorite targets for getting good focus on a face with the 90:

 

* If there is "eye light" (sparkles/points of lights reflected in the eyes), I line up the lit points on the eye's surface. Your subject didn't have eye light. (I love eye light focusing--easy.)

 

* No eye light: Outer edges of the iris on one or the other eye. (Using rim of iris and white of eye.) I watch both eyes to slam it in close but then pay close attention to one or the other eye, depending on where I want the focus plane to be. (If slightly from the side.)

 

* Outer edges of irises just not giving a "positive" focus feeling: Focus on something else in the same plane of focus as the eyes but NOT the eyes. (In your case, specific points on her shirt collar are in the same apparent plane of focus).

 

That's what I do with the 90mm, anyway.

 

Love the shots--critical focus or not!

 

Thanks,

Will

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In the case of the girl in the 100% crop below, I know that I took focus off the edge of the face. This means that at 1/125th with the lens fully open, I've not got much latitude to play with. For me, the shot's usable. Maybe I should have stopped down - and maybe that would have been the right decision - but I don't think that the lens is at fault.

 

To be honest Chris, if the focus had been nailed on the edge of the girl's face I'd expect to see the eyelashes of her right eye in pretty sharp focus. It's possible that there's a bit of camera shake going on here (I'd personally find it difficult to handhold a 75mm at 1/125 and get critically sharp results) but it does look to me that the focus has been missed. This could either be because of a touch of backfocus or through focussing and recomposing. The latter issue is my one personal bugbear with RF focussing of fast lenses wide-open. I'm a bit obsessed with having at least one eye in focus and have found that the easiest way for me to achieve this with any consistency (when shooting wide open with subjects that are 'moving') is to pretty much keep the 'thing in focus' (the eyes) in the central area of the composition - i.e. to avoid any substantial post-focus recomposing. In shooting this way I accept that I'll almost certainly be cropping away 20% or so of the image area in post processing in order to move the eyes away from the centre of the composition but it's a price I find worth paying (I don't care much for the shape of the 35mm format anyway).

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Ian - interesting comments.

 

1/ I do agree that shake is part of the equation ... 1/125th is not ideal for a lens which thinks it's 90mm on the M8. However - in the same shoot I was able to get the example below - where the eyes are sharp (but it was still 1/125th and at ISO 1250) -- full image + 100% crop - so it's possible to get things that are pretty reasonable.

 

2/ I think it's my technique (or eyes) that are more of a problem. I tend not to use this length that often - looking back over recent stuff one of the better images (in terms of focus) was the image of the musician - this time bright light / ISO 160 and 1/350 second. Not perfect - but I don't think it's back focus (but I'm willing to bow to others - and as the M8.2, M8u and 75 are under passport, I might put the time into getting them sorted.

 

Thanks for helpful comments.

Edited by chris_tribble

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This could either be because of a touch of backfocus or through focussing and recomposing. The latter issue is my one personal bugbear with RF focussing of fast lenses wide-open.

 

This may also be an issue - it's a habit I've not yet been able to break...

 

Heigh ho - you're never to old to learn.

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I think the musician is still slightly backfocussed, Chris. The lefthand side of his moustache (what is visible of it..)is considerably sharper than the righthand side.

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Tribble, looking at your posts I presume your CRB check is up to date?

Mancuso, can you remind us what Leica gear you are currently using?

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Guest stnami

Looks like Tribble has to learn to focus properly............. maybe he should try practising instead of talking about it

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. With long lenses on the M, I know that I tend to look at the edge of things

 

That is the basic technique. However, if the viewfinder is perfectly adjusted to the eye, the experienced user will focus by maximum contrast of the RF patch, which is far more accurate. However, the eyepiece must be within 1/2 a diopter for this, especially with older eyes which don't accomodate as easily.

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I think the musician is still slightly backfocussed, Chris. The lefthand side of his moustache (what is visible of it..)is considerably sharper than the righthand side.

 

I'll test the lens against both bodies and see if there's empirical evidence one way or the other ... this done, at least I'll know what the starting point is.

 

Looks like Tribble has to learn to focus properly............. maybe he should try practising instead of talking about it

 

Ah Imants, that Latvian humour again... but you're probably right...

 

Diopter lenses, back focus, recomposing... I'm still betting it's the wine.

 

I think it's the re-composing... thinking back to the original shots (my squalid kitchen) the numbering on the microwave came out sharper from the 75 Summicron than I was able to get with the 85 1.2 (though camera shake was a major issue here too)... and this was the where I was taking the focus. Maybe I just need to go back to using the 1.4 magnifier with longer lenses...

 

Thanks to every one for comments. Guess I've taken up enough of your time on this one!

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Diopter lenses, back focus, recomposing... I'm still betting it's the wine.

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Guest stnami
. but you're probably right
... it's better to work in good light until you have it down without thinking . I never recompose just start again, chances are that I have missed the shot by then so it's better to move on with a new thought

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