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Hyperfocal focussing

23 Sep

Fly Away

Leica M6 50mm f/2.0 Summicron
Fuji X-TRA 400

I love this image. Its a little grainy and attribute that to the consumer grade film which I am using. There’s a steep learning curve for me and the Fuji X-TRA 400 is cheap enough to finance my learnings. I’m now going to try professional film such as the velvia and see how it compares.

This image was taken from a moving car. I saw the birds coming my way. I had about 20 seconds to decide what to do. I decided to focus at the hyperfocal distance at f/8. I metered for the sky (which was getting dark) and focussed at the hyperfocal distance for f8 with a shutter speed of 1/500. I knew I had only 1 attempt at making the shot. I put the camera to me eye and as soon as the birds came into view the top branches of the tree came peeping out. I included the top branches and took the shot. All this happened in about 5 seconds. 1 shot was all that I could do.

This is one of the most useful learnings I got from using the Leica and its only been about 5 days. I find that I am actually faster using the all manual Leica than I am when using my dSLRs.

Focussing at the hyperfocal distance is easy.

Just select the aperture you want to take the shot with. Once that’s done, align the infinity symbol on the focussing barrel with the aperture setting at f/8. Once that’s done you’ll see that the minimum focussing distance at f/8 is 5 feet. See diagram below. Therefore all objects falling between 5 meters and infinity will be rendered ‘sharp’. I say sharp with inverted commas because it’s actually acceptably sharp rather than absolutely sharp.

Hyperfocal Distance

Taking pictures with a rangefinder is such a joy. Hmmm. I can feel the calling of a digital rangefinder….

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