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!
By Stephen M. Schaub
My predictions are usually right…I have successfully predicted over the last few years with clairvoyant accuracy many of the new trends in the photographic community (it’s a gift… and a curse).
So what is next, you ask?Let me gaze into my crystal monitor…
I see in our collective future…LENSES and more LENSES. Think about it…you’ve upgraded everything you own and the world is not perfect…a-hah! Caught you enjoying the remaining few dollars left in your wallet, didn’t we? Never fear …it’s time for new digitally optimized glass (lenses). This does make sense? Well, as most glass used by photographers today was designed for film and not digital capture… yes there is a difference, especially on the wide angle. But who will this really affect? Not all glass is created equal. Which systems will benefit the most from these new “future” offering (code for: the current glass is kinda sucky)?
Nikon and Canon users get ready for new glass. Nikon and Canon do have some good lenses to offer (a few) but nothing I would regard as really amazing and as such it’s UPGRADE time. Leica users are pretty much ok especially with many of the new lenses released over the last decade or so…even old Leica glass can go toe to toe with the best made by most other company’s lenses. I know Nikon and Canon users will bitch forever that I said that their lenses are of a lesser qualtity than Leica but they ARE- so get over it. Ever see an M8 digital capture using a great 50mm Leica lens, say a Summilux 1.4 and compare that to any Canon or Nikon with their best 50mm…have ya?… once you’ve seen it, all becomes clear.
Also interesting is that Zeiss and Schneider are getting into the SLR game and offering what is predicted to be some amazing glass (Schneider already offers a 28mm PC lens in Nikon mount that I looked at a year ago…it was simply stunning with a huge image circle.
Olympus and their 4 thirds system seems in my opinion to be right on track as their lenses are optimized already for their current digital generation cameras. No hold-overs here, they built the whole system from ground up…this took guts I’m sure but from what I’ve seen they may have been right.
So now that you’ve spent all your money on software, printers and a new camera body and were filling pretty smug with more resolution than you need, get ready for one of the biggest real advances in photographic technology that will really make your images sharper…new digitally optimized glass.