D800E Circle of Confusion (CoC)
I'm developing a small chart for Hyperfocal Distance for the D800E. However when looking online for the CoC for the D800E I get mixed results! I thought it was 0.03 for full screen, but want to make sure. I used the following website to calculate the CoC and was given a valus of CoC as: 0.0265515531. For this calculation I used 35.9mm by 24mm for the sensor.
Anyone with knowledge of this please help, I'm totally confused I'm using the following link to develop the Hyperfocal Distance chart:
If you know of a better site, please let me know!
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#1. "RE: D800E Circle of Confusion (CoC)" | In response to Reply # 0walkerr Nikonian since 05th May 2002Fri 03-Jan-14 09:51 PM
I think you're trying to put too much precision on something that isn't actually that precise. Depth of field charts are based on an average set of eyes, looking at an 8x10 print, from a viewing distance that's about the length of the diagonal of the print. If all of that holds true for what you're doing, it's a decent guideline and 0.026 rounds to 0.03, so you're getting consistent answers. If you're printing larger, but are backing up from your print to view it, it can still be an okay guideline. If you're printing large, but looking really close at it (photographers have a bad habit of looking at their prints completely different than everything else who look at them), you may need to use a smaller CoC. How much smaller? It's a bit arbitrary, quite honestly.
What the depth of field charts don't tell you is the range of distances within which everything is exactly the same sharpness and super sharp. They simply tell you what might look acceptably sharp in one real world situation. If you zoom into 100% on your monitor, you'll quickly find that everything isn't sharp within that depth of field zone.
#2. "RE: D800E Circle of Confusion (CoC)" | In response to Reply # 1Fri 03-Jan-14 10:04 PM
Thanks Rick for the clarification on CoC, that really helps. I've always have classified myself as a nature and wildlife photographer, but now I want to add landscape photography to my collection. I have a trip planned to Grand Tetons NP and Yellowstone NP and it may be the last time I get a change to get out there!
So I'm trying to determine the best way to get great scenic landscape shots with everything in focus from near to far, so is a Hyperfocal Distance chart my best option, or is there a better method or option?
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#3. "RE: D800E Circle of Confusion (CoC)" | In response to Reply # 2walkerr Nikonian since 05th May 2002Fri 03-Jan-14 10:18 PM
It's fine - just realize that it's not an exact thing. Personally, I tend to use a slightly modified technique where I get a bit more conservative with the CoC and use the equivalent of something like 0.015 or 0.2 (kind of like a DX-sized sensor's standard CoC), but then bias the focus toward what is most important in the image. If it's something in the foreground, I'm okay with distant items being a little less sharp. If the distant scene is most important, but I'm okay with the foreground being slightly soft, I bias the focus further away. If I think everything is more or less equal, there's no bias.
Quite honestly, I don't really use charts anymore. I know about where I need to focus for given focal lengths, and pretty much just set it at those spots. Given that I'm basing my focusing points on relatively small CoC's, relatively small errors in focused distance don't matter a lot. If I think something is ten feet away, but it's actually twelve feet or vice versa, that's okay.
#9. "RE: D800E Circle of Confusion (CoC)" | In response to Reply # 3MotoMannequin Registered since 11th Jan 2006Tue 07-Jan-14 11:04 PM
>bias the focus toward what is most important in the image.
Great advice and to me it's the key point in focusing on a landscape. If what draws your eye is critically sharp, then it gives the impression of an overall sharper image, even if that's not objectively true.
Hyperfocal technique tries to maximize DOF by spreading it over the largest possible distance, essentially leaving you with the boundary of "acceptably sharp" from about focus distance/2 to infinity. So, if you have a flower at 5' from your camera, hyper-focus at 10' and set your aperture according to hyperfocal chart, and everything from the flower to the distant mountains should be sharp.
My technique is: focus on the flower, then stop down the aperture until the distant stuff looks acceptably sharp using DOF preview. If that aperture starts getting smaller than f/14, then I might start to cheat focus somewhat behind the flower. If I have time, I'll bracket DOF by shooting at a few different apertures, but for wide-angle stuff I try to work in the f/8-f/11 range. Doing this, I am squandering some DOF in front of the foreground, but like I say, the thing that draws your eye should be critically sharp. Some softening of distant objects is a natural visual cue for distance, and tricks our brains into interpreting the scene with more depth. Great thing is, this requires no chart.
If you do decide to shoot with a hyperfocal chart, then absolutely get out locally and experiment before your trip to the Tetons. Often I find when people start to experiment with hyperfocal, the first thing they find is that "acceptably sharp" isn't nearly so, and you wouldn't want a "teachable moment" like that to happen in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
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#4. "RE: D800E Circle of Confusion (CoC)" | In response to Reply # 0
I agree with Rick's comments. It's not an exact science. I am probably one of a few who still uses the DOF preview button when light is sufficient. That tells me more than the charts and more accurately I think.
Even with chart data, my eyes are not that calibrated and I'm a poor judge of distances to that level of precision. The DOF preview visual works far better for me.
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#6. "RE: D800E Circle of Confusion (CoC)" | In response to Reply # 5lukaswerth Registered since 24th May 2012Sat 04-Jan-14 06:52 AM
Adding to the chorus: I also think that in these days, in particular with cameras like the d800, hyperfocal distance is a concept which has somewhat outlived its practicality - at least for me it has.It is based on a convention, of a print size which needs to be envisaged, and on what is perceived as still sharp. This very easily leads to disappointing results for large prints. In particular, the common viewer expects to see more detail at the horizon (where things are small) than in the foreground (where they are large). This means that if you use the hf principle it is very easy to get an image whose sharpness ends up subjectively disappointing.
A very good read on this topic is Harold Merklinger's "The Ins and Outs of Focus", found here:
It was written with analog cameras in mind, but its general principles hold true as far as I can see.
Trying to be a keeper of the light
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#7. "RE: D800E Circle of Confusion (CoC)" | In response to Reply # 6
#8. "RE: D800E Circle of Confusion (CoC)" | In response to Reply # 0
That is a great link (johnhendry.com) - thanks for sharing.
As far as getting things 'in focus' - I think it's very useful to know the HF distance, as I think being informed is always better than guessing. But solely relying on one stat or fact is also not ideal, especially when shooting somewhere that you don't visit frequently.
When I take a photo trip, I always take more time setting up a position after looking around without the camera. Then, I exposure bracket and focus bracket. I might end up with dozens of shots of the same composition - and when I get home, it's a bit of a pain to go through so many shots. But when I leave a location, I'm fairly confident that I'll have something that will 'work'.
I'd rather shoot fewer (better thought out, better composed) scenes with a lot of bracketing - just to be safe. It's similar to exposure/metering: the meter is a source of information, as is the histogram and display, but why leave anything to chance - just bracket and give yourself some choices when you get some to work with.
btw - focus bracketing also helps you from going crazy because if you really start investigating your lens' focusing capabilities, you start to learn about field curvature and focus shifting - both of which will drive you crazy and conspire against any HF calcs/worksheets you bring with.
This was a primary reason that I recently sold 100% of my Nikon gear and am waiting to see what advances are made in 2014 with respect to electronic-viewfinders. I've been "playing" with the Sony A7R for the past few weeks and have thoroughly enjoyed the EVF and focus magnification and focus peaking in the viewfinder to help 'see' what is in focus (at the shooting aperture, no less!). I would love to see a D810 that had an EVF!
#10. "RE: D800E Circle of Confusion (CoC)" | In response to Reply # 0
Back in the day lenses used to have colored lines on the lens barrel in front of the aperture ring at associated f/ stops for DOF. It was easier to put one of those lines (on the left side between infinity) and the f- stop you were using and everything between the corresponding distance to infinity (or the area between the corresponding line on the right) would be in "acceptable focus".
Now days if I want lots of stuff in good focus I often select "manual focus" and start somewhere in-between the closest point and furthest distance that I want in good focus. With the intention to bring the viewers eye to my point of interest in sharp focus.
Also the wider the angle of the lens the greater the area of DOF. Longer lenses have shorter DOF and long tele's can compress distance between images such as mountains.
You might ant to experiment with the "Auto" setting as it will show you the focus points it selected, which you can change, before you take the photo. Experiment, take lots of shots -pixels are free- see what works best for you - before your trip.
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#11. "RE: D800E Circle of Confusion (CoC)" | In response to Reply # 10johnnie5 Nikonian since 16th Jan 2007Tue 14-Jan-14 08:24 PM | edited Wed 15-Jan-14 05:08 PM by johnnie5
Hyperfocus and depth of field are generally 2 different things, allthough they are related.
The advantage of hyperfocus is mainly used for landscape photography.
When you use f11 on a 50 mm lens the hyperfocus distance is appr. 7.50 meter
Using this will get you (as stated : acceptable ) sharp images from 3.75 meter ( 50% of the hyperfocal distance) to infinity.
When you use autofocus you have to decide on witch point you focus.
Lets say a point at 20 meters: your depth of field will be from 14.6 Meter to infinity, so you miss 10 meters of “sharpness” in front.
It is told that professional postcard photogs use this hyper focus.
There is a (quite complicated) explanation fort this lens-behaviour
The CoC is, as Rick explained, not that important in the equation, and, as stated by the others: try this before you go!
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