Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/07/31

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Subject: Re: [Leica] WAS: Focusing a 280 F2.8??? And lots more
From: "Rick Dykstra" <>
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 21:19:35 +1000

Hi Frank, 

thanks for reminding us how this thread got started.

Yesterday I used both auto focus and manual 300s to shoot model aeroplanes
flying by.  Using the auto was difficult - keeping the sensor on the planes
as they bucked around was a nightmare.  I lost a lot of shots.

So I switched to the manual.  Much easier.  What I did was: prefocus on a
spot about 50 meters away and pick up the planes as they swung around toward
me.  Then as they became larger in the viewfinder I would dial the focus in
closer in short steps keeping the focal plane ahead of the aeroplane.  Once
I was happy with the subject's looming size and appearance, I stopped
focussing in and waited for the aeroplane to fly into the focal plane and
become clearly focussed.  Then shoot.  This really was easier than with the
auto system - an F5 by the way (duck, here come those Nikon guys!).  Using
the manual system gave me freedom to compose, without worrying about an
autofocus sensor.

I use this method with sports action as well, when using manual gear.  Let
the players run into the focal plane.  Then you only have to concentrate on
timing the shutter, rather than focussing and shooting simultaneously (which
my brain and hands can't do, it seems).

With static nature shots, I had the unfortunate habit of focussing behind
the subject. I even thought there was something wrong with my R8.  Nope, it
was just me needing to get the hang of it.  A Plain Ground Glass screen
helped a lot with focussing with action and wildlife shooting.

Does this help?


Rick Dykstra

Replies: Reply from Harrison McClary <> ([Leica] Is again: Focusing a 280 F2.8???)