Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/09/08

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Subject: Re: [Leica] RF question from an SLR kind of guy
From: "Steve LeHuray" <>
Date: Sun, 08 Sep 2002 15:54:52 -0400

Aram Langhans asks:

> Just been looking through some of the photos referenced in the last digest.
> While looking at Neal's sunflowers, it hit me (the question, not the
> sunflower).  How do you rangefinder people know the appropriate f-stop to
> use to get the DOF you want?  I know there is a DOF scale, but that doesn't
> tell you how a particular background will react to a given f-stop.  Do you
> take many photos at different stops and choose the best?????  Is it just
> experience?

I know that this will be no help, but I give almost no thought to
depth-of-field other than knowing if I am at f1.4 to f4.0 I will have a soft
background depending on focal length and distance. My goal is to get the
main element in focus. I am not one who's holy grail is having a wonderful
OOF portion of the photo, if it happens it is not because I planned it that
> I am constantly using the DOF preview button on my SLR's.

In 30+ years of SLR work have almost never used the DOF preview button. I
just intuitively know approximately what will be in focus. Same thing with
the Leica Ms. While I can appreciate nice looking bokeh I really think bokeh
is meaningless without a compelling main element to a picture.
> Anyway, I have always thought that f-stop is more important than shutter
> speed in most situations, and pass this on to my students.

I always think about camera shake, so consiously try to have the fastest
shutter speed possible, which sometimes forces you into a wide open aperture
and the possibility of ruining the picture because of camera shake.

> The FAST rule is Focus, Aperture, Shutter,

FAST rule for me means eliminating the "Aperture" part of the rule. That is
why I prefer an incident meter, which means I already know the aperture
setting, so just have to focus and shoot.

> Take
> your time.

For my Street Photography I do not have the luxury of taking my time,
because once I see a shot there is only a few seconds at the most to get the

> I had never heard this rule at that time, and I have used it in
> my class ever since (25 years).
> Thanks, and thanks to all those who post pictures even in these turbulent
> LUG times.  Pictures are what it is all about.
> Aram


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