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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:45 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands
Hi all,
Id like to hear your opinions on focussing on the street. Im using a 350D +18-55, mostly at 24mm and f/3,5 or f/8-13.

Is there a best way to focus? I take pictures of people who dont expect me to take a picture of them, and of course there's differences between scenes regarding to have slow or fast shutter speeds or a small or big DOF.
And here it goes: is it better to AF when using a bigger aperture, as you have less DOF and maybe no time enough to focus manually? And should one use all AF-points then? I can imagine using all of them is better when someone is walking to you and you dont want to center the camera on his face first to focus.

Other times I use f/8-13 and use the hyperfocal distance to have everything sharp. Then it's best to stay on MF I guess.

What do you think? Using MF and a hyperfocal distance with f/4 isnt that great with the 18-55 I think, and then the AF can come in handy.

Thanks for reading!

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Ruben

Panasonic DMC-FZ18, Panasonic DMC-FZ28, Canon G5, Canon 350D, Canon 50D + BG-E2N
Tamron 17-50 2.8, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM,
Canon 18-55 II plus lots of Minolta MD/M42 lenses and bodies


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:38 am 
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Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
You need decent light to set the hyperfocal distance, so with a cropped sensor, f5-6 to f8 might be the best balance between gathering enough light and having a large enough DOF. You need quick access to AF though for when you need to switch.

Modern lenses/camera focus quickly enough so that there's less need for setting the hyperfocal distance. One problem I've found with shooting from hip is that it's difficult to ensure your focus point is on the subject which tends to result in lots of in-focus backgrounds with blurred subjects. This is another use for the hyperfical distance.

I tend to shoot a lot in low light though which means bringing out the primes and wide apertures.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:13 am 
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Location: The Netherlands, Ridderkerk
Ever since I got the M9-P, I've been zone-focusing. Though I typically love bokeh, and the 50 Lux does a pretty good job in that regard :wink: , it's an ideal way to shoot quickly on the street. Partly, of course, because the Leica has no autofocus. Back when I shot street with a DSLR though (which is really long ago, I used the D-Lux 5 before the M9-P), I did typically resort to AF. Never liked manual focus on a DSLR, and now that I use a rangefinder, I can see why. It's just not accurate enough, not under the kind of pressure you shoot street under.

So if you want to use MF, do it only in the kinds of circumstances where zone-focusing is applicable (i.e. plenty of light). Just set your aperture to around f/8, pre-focus, and learn where the distance markers are on your lens so you can adjust if need be.

- Bjorn -

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:11 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:52 pm
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Location: The Netherlands
Ah, great! Thanks for the help guys :) Ill let the camera AF then for shallow(-er) DoF shots and use MF with the hyperfocal distance for the ''extended'' street shots.

EDIT:
And Ive discovered that all the focus points turned on do their work quite well if somebody's coming towards you from the opposite direction. And I guess it's better to hope that the corner AF points will do their work then pointing the center AF point in somebody's face who's just a few feet in front of you.

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Ruben

Panasonic DMC-FZ18, Panasonic DMC-FZ28, Canon G5, Canon 350D, Canon 50D + BG-E2N
Tamron 17-50 2.8, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM,
Canon 18-55 II plus lots of Minolta MD/M42 lenses and bodies


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:08 am 
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For street work I would go with AF every time. Trying to maintain manual focus on someone who is moving while grabbing a split second shot before they walk past is just more than my slow old brain could manage.

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I am learning photo graphee - see the results at www.danmarchant.com


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:16 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:55 pm
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Location: SE Texas
usernametaken wrote:
For street work I would go with AF every time. Trying to maintain manual focus on someone who is moving while grabbing a split second shot before they walk past is just more than my slow old brain could manage.


My old eyes cannot see so well anymore, especially in less-than-bright conditions, but if you are already focused at a certain distance, and know your depth of field for your aperture setting, just sit and wait for a subject move into that zone, snap your photo, and voila! Perfect focus on a moving subject! That is what Bjorn was describing, above, and that is how the late, great Henri Cartier-Bresson captured many of his now-famous street images, especially images in which the human subject is so wonderfully framed by an architectural feature, such as an arch.

Yes, auto-focus is wonderful for "running and gunning" photography, and I love AF for those times, but there are times when I would rather hold one of my petite manual-focus FM3A film SLR cameras, and let a subject come to me. This is especially useful after my high arches have demanded a rest period, after walking for a while.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:52 pm
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Location: The Netherlands
Thanks for the replies, Ive been so busy that I even didnt have time to reply!

Few things I think are worth mentioning:

In the places where I shoot (smaller citiy), people are more aware of you photographing them. They run out of my picture when they see me only moving my camera to my eye, like ''oh, lets go away, he wants to take a picture of that thing behind us''. Only because of that I find AF with multiple points and a small aperture (f/8) works quite fine, the AF just locks on them without having to point my ''big'' camera at them. I also find myself shooting at around 24-28mm (actual), because of people seem not to see me that fast if Im just that bit further away. The shuttersound of the 350D makes many people look at me too, not too great everytime...
Im thinking again of buying something like the Canon G5. Why? It has a tilt and shift screen, RAW recording, fast lens, MF etc. Oh, and a viewfinder!
While I know the AF is quite slow, the DoF is also quite large, so at 35mm (35mm eq.) and f/5,6 you get everything from 1,5m-infinite in focus. Maybe this is something Im looking for, as theres also no WHIEP shuttersound of my 350D, not the size, big DoF and a good lens, great screen, many manual settings and the price is just... nothing? $50?
I think this may help to get closer to the people, instead of scaring them...

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Ruben

Panasonic DMC-FZ18, Panasonic DMC-FZ28, Canon G5, Canon 350D, Canon 50D + BG-E2N
Tamron 17-50 2.8, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM,
Canon 18-55 II plus lots of Minolta MD/M42 lenses and bodies


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:13 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands
Got the G5!

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Ruben

Panasonic DMC-FZ18, Panasonic DMC-FZ28, Canon G5, Canon 350D, Canon 50D + BG-E2N
Tamron 17-50 2.8, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM,
Canon 18-55 II plus lots of Minolta MD/M42 lenses and bodies


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