Focus: How To and Should You!

I, for one, feel that focus is highly over-rated. As a matter of fact- for almost 2 years I would argue that none of my images were “in focus” or at least not sharp. Did that make them less photographic or less of an Artwork?


Focus is just one element of an image and not the most important by any means. I often find the bokeh (or the out-of-focus qualities) of an image much more engaging than an image with sharpness throughout.

All of this being said- how do you focus a camera to ensure the exact point or plan of focus that you have chosen is sharp? Easy! Just follow these 4 steps:

1. Turn off the F$#cking auto focus.
2. Turn your lens to the point of focus and then just beyond.
3. Now turn your lens back in the opposite direction and just past the point that appears sharp.
4. Now turn your lens back to the point of focus.

By focusing back and forth and with each pass closing in tighter and tighter to your chosen point of focus it allows you to see just exactly where the point of focus is and what it looks like just before and just after. This technique is really quite fast and will ensure the best possible focus…something which is really important when you are working with a fast lens say at f2.0 – there is no margin for error with a depth of field that shallow.

And one final tip…use good glass!

Photo Expo…Same old, same old

By Stephen M. Schaub

Yesterday was a marathon trek from Vermont to NYC and back to witness first hand Photo Expo 2007. Was it worth it? Am I a changed person? Are my images now sharper?

In one word, NO.

Some new products that are worth mentioning (note how small the list is):

New E3 by Olympus and new lenses by Olympus
New Satin Canvas by IJ Technologies

That’s about it for things new and worthy. Much of the show was a rehash of PMA from last winter. Sure there were new systems from Nikon and Canon and tweaks to current software and stuff but nothing earth shattering. Everyone I met kept asking “have you seen anything good- anything new?” Universal answer- NO.

It seems to me that the industry (The Photo Industrial Complex) is suffering from the recoil effect of the last few years…when there is huge growth there is always a healthy contraction for a breather. Lets hope that accompanied with this breather is a bit of long term planning or else we may find ourselves very soon on a respirator!

I also notice that several companies had come out with or were about to launch in the coming months cheaper versions of their current products…is this to strike a new market, or to help keep their current and now impoverished one? You decide.

I know there will be web sites proclaiming this amazing new gizmo or that fantastic new optic but in the end the best part about expo for me was chance to reconnect with some friends and just talk.

Where Have All the Point and Shoots Gone!

OK- so where HAVE all the professional point and shoots gone? To the grave yard or Ebay as the Photo Industrial Complex has realized that there is alot more money selling crappy little digital point and shoots with upgrades every month rather than making quality ones like:

Olympus XA
Nikon 28Ti and 35Ti
Leica CM
Leica Minilux
Konica Hexar
Contax T2, T3
Rollei S, SE

Now we get tons of plastic with resolution that is subpar and noise (digital grain) oozing out of every crack and crevice. Having a quality point and shoot in your bag in my opinion is a must but now days it is getting harder and harder to find one. Ever seen a great drum scan from a negative made by one of the above listed cameras? Compare it with the new digitals and you may find yourself singing along with the Figital Revolution…