Friday, 20 November 2015

The advantage of zone focusing

Out in the streets there are many situations were you have to act quick to get the photo you want without fiddling with too much settings. A simple technique is to use zone focusing. When you own a mirrorless camera like I do, it is simple as 1-2-3. After you set the camera to manual mode you notice a new scale on the bottom of the viewfinder:

the distance scale of my trusty Fuji X-PRO1
This little ruler at the bottom gives you a scale from 0 to infinity (greetings to Mr. Möbius). The red line will show you where your actual focus is set to. And the white bar will tell you what will be in focus at this specific aperture/distance setting. That is the "zone"! ;-)

When I go out with my X-PRO1 I put the 18mm on and set the aperture to f8 and the focus manually to a range between 2 to 8 meters or 3.5 to infinity. It depends on what you want to have sharp and crisp in the focus range. In dense urban environments I use the short setting, because there is no far away background. When the background is important and the subject is not less than 3 meters away I use the second setting. But you can use different settings to your liking. But bear in mind that your have to compensate with a higher (auto)ISO values to get usable shutter speeds (even at daylight). So you may loose some details in the resulting images.

a cowboy in my zone!
I also love to use the exposure compensation wheel and center weighted metering in conjunction with that settings. This combination works great for me and is fast enough to get the right shot at the right time.

I always check my settings from time to time. After taking a shot with different values I always set the camera back to zone. That guarantees me a good shoot-from-the-hip-experience all the time without thinking to much about the right settings or auto-focus.

Are you also using this technique? How are your experiences?

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