1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links to get to your favorite stores for holiday shopping!

Loving my G3...not the Manual Focus...No Hyperfocal Distance.

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Dave in Wales, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. Dave in Wales

    Dave in Wales Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 5, 2011
    West Wales
    My complaint with the G3 MF is that the lens cannot be set to the hyperfocal distance to give me the maximum DOF.

    I know there is the MF Guide but it's a bit hit and miss moving a pointer between the 'mountain' and the 'flower' with nothing in between.

    I can't even see why it's there other than to let you know you are at the extremes of the focus range.
    The lens focus ring is free to rotate, there are no stops.

    An actual distance scale, somewhere, would have been far better for an enthusiasts camera.

    D in W
     
  2. Eternal Newbie

    Eternal Newbie Mu-43 Regular

    39
    Nov 2, 2011
    Wakefield, UK
    Paul Hardy
    Despite my previous post I do agree with you -- hyperfocal distance is so important that this is a serious omission. Having just moved to digital last month (yes I know:rolleyes:) it seems this is something regularly overlooked
     
  3. Howi

    Howi Mu-43 Veteran

    208
    Feb 23, 2011
    Sheffield
    Howard
    No m43 or 4/3 lenses have HF markings, the 4/3 lenses that have distance scales only show an aproximation, useless for manual setting.
    Most m43 lenses use Fly by wire focusing not true manual focusing (I think you will find this on most digital camera lenses (some of the more expensive lenses using Ultrasonic motors (e.g Olympus 12-60) that have a direct drive to the focusing mech.
    So! how to get round the obvious difficulty - there have been lots of posts covering this very subject - have a trawl, you might be surprised.
    Method I use, is to use DOF calc to get some basic readings for the lens in question (Pany 20mm for instance).
    lets say @ F8 HF distance of 10ft (3mtr) will get anything in focus from 6ft (2mtr) to infinity.
    Point your focus spot (single focus area, smallest size focus area) at something roughly 10 feet away, half press shutter to lock focus, recompose and take the shot - job done.
    Another way is to use the camera in manual focus mode, set focus to something 10 ft away (Don't touch the focus ring after this) and shoot away - you need to be in Aperture Priority mode or manual exp as you don't want the aperture to move.

    No! its not tha same as we used to do on 35mm camera lenses, but there is usually some other way to most similar problems
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. John_Dear

    John_Dear New to Mu-43

    8
    Nov 29, 2011
    I had the same problem trying to take some photos of a starry sky with my GF1/20mm f1.7.

    It was a super dark (no moon) night in the middle of nowhere and the stars were amazingly bright. I wanted the aperture wide open to grab as much light as possible, but it was so dark I couldn't find a distant object to focus on. (I was trying to use the viewfinder as little as possible because it'd leave me practically blind in one eye for a few minutes.)

    So, in this case, would I try to focus on something as far as possible inside the house with aperture at 1.7, then lock focus and go outside with my tripod?
     
  5. Howi

    Howi Mu-43 Veteran

    208
    Feb 23, 2011
    Sheffield
    Howard
    No!, most cameras these days set the focus to infinity when the camera is switched off (watch for the lens clicking and whirring).
    Switch the camera back on in manual mode (and don't touch the focus ring) and there you have it.
    If you are trying to photograph the moon, remember it is a very bright object in a very dark sky. Auto exposure WILL get it wrong unless you use spot metering with the spot on the moon.
    Also, when you just want the night sky, remember the 18% grey rule which the auto exposure system is trying to evaluate to, you WILL need lots of negative exposure compensation - 2 or 3 full stops.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. rgeorge911

    rgeorge911 Mu-43 Regular

    45
    Jan 8, 2012
    I was able to find out that the DMC-GF1 automatically sets hyperfocal distance if you do what the message above states - basically set the f-stop, put the camera in manual focus mode, then cycle the power.

    I have not completely confirmed that the same works on the G3, but a quick test now sure looks that way.

    Here is a brief description on my blog, which is specifically about Lumix cameras and how I use and enjoy them:

    DMC-365 - My Year with Lumix Camera Equipment: Hyperfocal Distance and How to Use It on the Lumix DMC-GF1

    Tomorrow's post will show examples shot woth the GF1 using this technique.

    Reed
    DMC-365.blogspot.com
     
  7. ripleys baby

    ripleys baby Straw clutcher

    606
    Aug 10, 2011
    It appears the G3 also does this when switched off in manual focus mode.
    So thanks for the info.
    I will try it out on the next night with clear skies. :smile:
     
  8. ripleys baby

    ripleys baby Straw clutcher

    606
    Aug 10, 2011
    Just tried my G3. When switched off then on in manual focus, the focus point is always the same regardless of aperture setting.
    So i would assume this is not the hyperfocal distance (with G3) but infinity.
     
  9. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    That's right. The focus mechanism resets to infinity upon power-off. There may also be a menu item to do this (on the Olympus bodies, it's called 'reset lens').

    DH
     
  10. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Personally I think you have to simply accept that when it comes to native lenses for this system, manual focusing feels poor. And by the way, our lenses all focus a touch past infinity (I gather this is for weather tolerance or something), so relying on turning the camera off to find the infinity point won't work -- you'll overshoot.
     
  11. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    532
    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    Mark
    I can't think of a lens made for any system today that has a good distance and dof scale except Leica M lenses. Autofocus has become so much the norm.
     
  12. Howi

    Howi Mu-43 Veteran

    208
    Feb 23, 2011
    Sheffield
    Howard
    There seems to be some confusion setting in to the post - There is NO camera available that will set hyperfocal distance for you, even on old manual lenses you had to make a gestimate via the lens markings.
    There are ways and means of doing it with modern cameras and lenses as described in earlier posts, it just requires some lateral thinking.
    Your right Promit, manual focus on (most) modern lenses leaves a lot to be desired.
    I can assure you though, as will others, that the way described for setting infinity DOES work.
    Think about it, infinity, by it's very nature, is not a single point but an approximation.
    look at DOF calculators to see that you don't have to bet that accurate when shooting objects a fair distance away, it is only the shorter distances and longer focal length lenses that you have to be more accurate.
    In reality, it is more about knowing and understanding your equipment to get it to do what you want, rather than the camera manufactures (trying) to do it all for you.
    Hyperfocal distance to MOST camera users, wouldn't mean anything.........
     
  13. ripleys baby

    ripleys baby Straw clutcher

    606
    Aug 10, 2011
    Well the rather childlike focus distance scale of my G3 seems to take the overshoot into account, as it is not right up against the mountain :biggrin:
    In fact its probably not even in the foothills :smile:

    I'll find out later if i can find some stars !
     
  14. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Amen!

    I just returned from a trip to Southern Africa, where I struggled with the issue that the AF insisted on grabbing grass or twigs between me and the animal subjects. Also with the difficulty of using MF with a 100-300mm lens fully zoomed out. I don't know how much magnification the MF assist gives, but it felt like I was hand-holding about a 3000mm lens! We need a distance scale (or at least an infinity symbol) plus software equivalent to something like the old split-image centers we could get on Nikon "A" screens. They were a little tough to use with long telephotos but not the nearly-impossible ordeal that we now have.

    For that matter, the software weenies could give us choice of an assortment of screens just like we used to have physically available on the film SLRs.

    I don't buy any of that. Manual focus on these cameras is a poorly designed afterthought. The fact that there are workarounds in some situations is not an excuse for designer incompetence, particularly since getting it right does not cost a dime in recurring production cost.
     
  15. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 4, 2010
    I thought the 12mm Oly snap-focus-ring kind of let you set a fixed distance ?
     
  16. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I am guilty of overgeneralization. The camera I am mad at is the G1. If there is an M43 camera that does MF well, I would love to hear about it.
     
  17. PeterB666

    PeterB666 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    780
    Jan 14, 2010
    Tura Beach, Australia
    Peter
    It certainly does and is no problem on Olympus camera as you can switch off infinity-reset. In any event, leaving the focus collar in the MF positin should be fine (I would have thought). The DOF scale on the 12mm lens is good but I have heard some claim the focus scale can be a little off on some lenses. Mine is OK.

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk
     
  18. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    It really shouldn't though. It'd be trivial for the camera to allow you to display the current focal distance and the correct hyperfocal distance on the display.

    My guess however is that neither Olympus nor Panasonic are really all that concerned with manual focus for general use. It's a niche, and a small one at that.

    DH
     
  19. ripleys baby

    ripleys baby Straw clutcher

    606
    Aug 10, 2011
    Well the old Eos 650 35mm camera still comes up secondhand now and again.
    That had a depth mode that allowed the user to set the closest focus and the farthest focus, The camera then worked out the optimum aperture (if available)
    and the hyperfocal focus point.
    And it worked quite well too. 1987 ! Am i really that old !:eek:
     
  20. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Very few AF lense from any vendor have usable hyperfocal markings any more. Unfortunately.

    Both of these things are also true for most AF lenses from most manufacturers. I love the feel of a good double helical focus movement on a high quality 35mm lens, but those days are pretty much gone. A focus motor that would drive such a system would be really big and really heavy.