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Panasonic 20mm lens zone focusing

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by NikonD300, May 26, 2012.

  1. NikonD300

    NikonD300 Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Nov 24, 2011
    These Panasonic lenses don't have focusing distances indicated. H
    ow can I set the lens for zone focusing, for street photography, like you could do "in the old days?"
     
  2. atomic

    atomic Mu-43 Veteran

    224
    Nov 3, 2011
    When I shoot motorsports with the 45-200, which also does not have focus zone indicators, I simply set to manual focus and then focus in on something that is at the same distance that I want the subject to be in focus at. Then when the subject reaches that distance I shoot.
     
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  3. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    It's not an easy task. You'll need an DOF app for your phone or computer.
    Online Depth of Field Calculator works well.
    Then you'll have to figure out distances that are repeatable and somewhat consistant.
    Example.... I'm 6' tall. If I hold the camera at eye level and point it down to the ground and hit AF, I'm now focused at 5.5'. This works and maybe is not the most scientific method but it's better then what Oly and Panny give us.... which is nothing.
     
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  4. ^^ As above. I let the camera AF to a set distance that I've guesstimated and use that. It's not exact, but DOF is an inexact science anyway.
     
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  5. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    May 12, 2011
    This is brilliant advice! Now I want to go try it...
     
  6. F1L1P

    F1L1P Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Jan 2, 2010
    Europe
    and put some rubber band on the focus ring to prevent it from moving.
     
  7. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Don't forget that for this to work you have to decouple the AF from the shutter button. If you don't, every time you hit the shutter button the lens will refocus. So you need to move the AF to the AFL/AEL button. I know how to do that on Olympus cameras - I used to know how on Panasonics.

    Or you can get the Olympus 12mm lens which DOES have a focus ring with distance markings on it and can easily be snapped back and forth between manual and auto focus. That's the lens I use when I want to zone focus with m43. But its not for everyone. Its expensive, for one, and its a bit wider than a lot of people are comfortable with for street shooting. I personally wish there was a 14mm with this feature, but until there is (which may be a LOOOOONG time, or never), I'm fine with 12...

    -Ray
     
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  8. vinay

    vinay Mu-43 Regular

    137
    Mar 18, 2012
    Toronto
    The e-p3 let's me set function buttons (i use record button) to MF. When I need to zone focus, I guess distance to a nearby object (floor,wall,etc), half press to focus, then press record to disengage AF. Now I'm zone focussed until I press record again.
     
  9. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Agree with what the other posters say above. Note that m4/3 lenses use focus-by-wire. That means that rotating the focus ring to the same point will not necessarily give you the same areas in focus. For this reason, the only lenses I would bother with zone focusing are adapted ones.

    DH
     
  10. ...or, set your focus distance using the AF and then switch the camera to MF. Not ideal if you need AF in a hurry, though.
     
  11. G1 User

    G1 User Mu-43 Veteran

    411
    Jul 20, 2010
    It really is quite simple.


    1. Go to the DOF calculator on the link in a previous post
    2. Pick any m4/3 camera
    3. Pick the lens you want to use, in this case, 20mm
    4. Set it for f/11 and find the DOF you want from choosing different "Focus Points" (5', 10', 15' etc)
    5. Pick 10 feet
    6. At 10' "Focused distance, about 4.5 feet to INF is in focus
    7. Set you Camera in "A" mode
    8. Set the f/stop to f/11
    9. Focus on a object 10 feet away (You can pace it off, as long as you are close enough)
    10. TURN OFF "AF"
    11. Set your ISO to "Auto ISO" 200-800 (to keep a higher shutter speed in shadow and lower light)
    12. You are ready to go...
    13. Works for zooms lenses also set at one focal length.
    14. DO NOT TURN OFF CAMERA, (or have the sleep mode on), the lens may reset when it wakes, or when it is turned back on, and you will have to start again.. (Takes a few seconds once you get this workflow down though)
     
  12. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    There are laser rangefinders available.
    The Leica version is around $550.00.
    The Oly & Panny versions are around $89.00.
    The Joe da Carpenter version available at any good Home Depot, Lowes or hardware store is around $12.95.

    This will shoot out a beam visible in most light and give a reading in feet, inches or meters on a screen.
     
  13. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Right, but you're essentially setting it for a hyperfocal distance. For a lot of uses where zone focussing makes sense, you may not want a hyperfocal setting because you may want subjects closer than 5 feet in focus and you probably don't care about extending focus to infinity. And f11 on a m43 lens tends to be overkill and well into diffraction territory. I rarely shoot smaller than f 5.6 or at most f8 with my m43 lenses. So its handy to know your camera lens combination, know a few good combinations of aperture and focus distance that will give you the zones of focus you most want in varying light conditions and then go from there. I rarely use auto-ISO when I'm using zone focus because the aperture is obviously critical and I generally want a pretty firm grasp on the shutter speed too, so I generally set ISO manually to assure a fast enough shutter.

    But this is all getting pretty far afield of the original question. And the key there is to know the distance you want to focus on, focus on it, and make sure that a half press of the shutter won't RE-focus the lens.

    -Ray
     
  14. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I forgot that I actually own a pretty nice laser measurement device I have from my planning days (great for checking building setbacks, heights, angles, etc - amazing tool really), but I'd be hesitant to use it for this! I think you'd look a bit too much like a mad-scientist pointing lasers at stuff, and then pointing your camera at it after. When I don't have an actual distance scale available (physical or electronic - either is OK with me), I've used your stated method of shooting the ground near my feet from about my chin level (about 5 feet), belly level (about a meter), or arms outstretched above my head (about 7 feet, unless I accidentally focus on the top of my head, in which case its about a foot and a half!). I don't like doing this either, but I think I'd do it before pulling out the electronic gadgets! :cool:

    But I love that 12mm - you have very accurate markings at 1 meter, 5 feet, and 3 meters, and those'll get me through anything and I can change it easily on the fly.

    -Ray
     
  15. F1L1P

    F1L1P Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Jan 2, 2010
    Europe
    On G1, If you set it to manual focus, and don't mess with focus ring, your focus will remain the same regardless of camera being switched on or off.
     
  16. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Ray I agree about looking like a mad scientist.
    But then again, I will not accept the fact that with all the technology, all the computers, all the ideas that the Mad Scientist that design these cameras can't figure out how to tell what distance the lens is focusing.
    Maybe Panny & Oly should call 1-800-Ricoh and ask how to do it.

    So none of that will happen so we users must improvise to get what we need. The lasar unfortunately is a real alternative.
    You've got enough experience on the street to know about where things are at any given fstop, on any lens you use.
    There are many that can't grasp that and so other means are required.

    I believe all users of these cameras deserve all the options they need or want.
    Unfortunately the manufacturers don't agree.
     
  17. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I agree. Which is why once I came to understand the wonderfulness of zone focussing I mostly stopped using my m43 gear for street shooting until the Oly 12mm came along and saved the day - with that I can combine a great zone focus system with my favorite viewing method ever (flip up screen), a good trade-off sensor size between IQ and DOF, and now even good enough sensors to do it at night...

    And its not only Ricoh (although their implementation is particularly nice), but Fuji and others also have a good distance scale built in, with accurate focus distance measurements even if the DOF information is fer-the-birds. Panasonic does it in the LX5 and I've seen others that did it well enough too.

    I read somewhere about the challenge of doing this calculation in an interchangeable lens system using CDAF, like m43. I'm not at all sure I understood it, but it seemed to make sense. But then again Fuji does a fine old job of it with the X-Pro and that's got interchangeable lenses, so I know it CAN be done. If Oly/Pany would do the same, it would open up a world of possibilities for zone focusers and make our lives a lot easier. I guess they figure its an obscure art by this time, but Oly clearly had zone focus in mind when they developed the 12mm because that snap focus ring is terrible for critical manual focus but its da BOMB for zone focussing...

    -Ray
     
  18. G1 User

    G1 User Mu-43 Veteran

    411
    Jul 20, 2010
    Just plug in a shorter distance then, and measure on THAT distance...
    My post was an example for 10' on a 20mm on a m4/3 body...

    F/11 may have some diffraction... But, I don't think it has much if any effect for street photography. And many "Lab Results" never show up in real life anyway. It just distracts use from Photography, and burdans us down with worries and concerns that also distract us from Photography.

    YES, it is real, BUT overstated unnecessary. Manufacturers do take diffraction into consideration when setting the minimum f/stop each lens. PLUS sometimes a little is the compromise you choose to have what YOU WANT in focus.

    The same principle can be said shooting wide open, because the lens is always soft compared to a few stops down. But, YOU MAY WANT the shallower DOF, and the DOF is more important than a little softness... It may even add to the portrait actually. a few lenses were made to be soft wide open, and where quite expensive, a Canon Portrait lens had 10 settings for softness as I recall. And if it was on "0" the lens performed normally.

    I get it, but, don't get so caught in the high scrutiny pixel peeking end, it will distract you from Photography. Which is a list of compromises anyway between Lens Quality, ISO Quality, Shutter Speed used, Diffraction Quality, etc...

    Cheers :smile:
     
  19. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Chrome
    What a great tool. Thanks!

     
  20. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Not to worry - if you know me or how I shoot, you know I'm probably the LEAST concerned with pixel-peeping of anyone here. I was mostly just making the point that hyperfocal shooting isn't the same thing as zone focus and f11 is rarely necessary with m43 gear to assure very good DOF. Otherwise, I think we're on the same page here...

    -Ray
     
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