Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/07/08

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Subject: [Leica] Ted, Tina, Henning and Bob on "focus and recompose"
From: s.jessurun95 at (animal)
Date: Thu Jul 8 04:52:04 2004
References: <>

> Ted Grant wrote the following regarding this "focus and recompose"
> thread:
> Richard, thank you. ;-)
> I read the focusing formula and I figured by the time I read that and
> then
> tried to figure out exactly what it says and is supposed to do with near
> every frame I'd still be shooting my first roll of film from 55 years
> ago.
> ;-)
> Jeeeeeeeeeeeesh why is it an old fart like me who's shot thousands upon
> thousands of frames and never encountered this focus thing, never knew
> about
> it and never had it happen that I'm aware of.
> Absolutely wild stuff gang, man it's hard enough just getting the damn
> shot
> without having some other thing to clutter one's mind on how to take
> sharp
> pictures. :-)  Just line-up the two images and hit the button! Well OK
> squeeze gently on the shutter release. ;-)
> I suppose I've been one extremely lucky SOB all these years and never
> knew
> anything about this messin' with the focus tab or whatever. But I seem
> to
> re-cal a hell of a lot of my frames were Leica sharp all the time even
> in
> available darkness. :-)
> Oh well one more techie thing to confuse my failing mind. :-)
> ted
> Then Tina Manley supplied the following comment:
> Hi, Dr. Jean -  Very interesting for taking photos of lens charts on the
> wall!  I can't imagine trying to figure all of that out while my
> families
> are going about their everyday lives.  People are moving around grinding
> corn and feeding chickens!  I have to focus quickly and move on.  Who
> has
> time to figure all of this out and focus and reframe?  Unless the
> subject
> is inanimate or dead!
> Tina
> Then Henning Wulff provided this additional perspective:
> While these calculations and formulae are correct, the point is still
> moot due to the almost universal field curvature, especially of fast
> lenses, at shorter distances.
> After these calculations, you won't be closer to the truth or focus,
> _and_ your subject will be gone to sleep or just plain gone.
> -- 
>     *            Henning J. Wulff
> And now I feel a strong need to comment on all of the above, despite the
> unfortunate fact that I'll be out of town and out of touch for several
> days and therefore unable to respond to possible responses:
> As is so often the case, all of you grasp some part of the truth of the
> matter.
> Ted, I can't begin to express my gratitude to you not only for your
> grace with the tools and the medium, but with your generosity in sharing
> the benefits of your years of experience.  In fact, your last lengthy
> dispatch regarding your shooting technique reminded me that while my
> reflexes for capturing what I'm after keep improving, it's the quantum
> leap into being able to anticipate the best instant to push the button
> that is still out of reach.
> Tina, you also get the "life and its representatives wait for no nerd"
> concept.
> Henning, I'm glad someone besides me recognises the reality of field
> curvature for our work.
> However, I'm here to tell you that anyone who thinks that they can just
> focus with the rangefinder and then put the main subject anywhere else
> in the frame with a 35mm f2 lens wide open is missing an important
> refinement in Leica M technique.
> I have frames on my contact sheets that I know were focussed accurately
> according to the rangefinder with a fast enough shutter speed where the
> reframed faces are just plain out of focus.
> Now; whether or not we can become facile enough to pull off an
> appropriate compensation maneuver without losing the thing that makes us
> want to shoot this frame in the first place is the real question.  But
> anyone who claims that the effect just doesn't exist is wrong.
> Ted, the "never had it happen that I'm aware of" part of your response
> may be all too true.  And Tina, this ain't about charts on walls - it's
> about people's eyes being in focus.
> One of the potential benefits of this list is the possibility that
> intuitive artists and those who sometimes resort to basic arithmetic and
> trigonometric principals will learn something from each other.
> Bob Palmieri
> _______________________________________________
Also the people who do not should realise that without those who do they
would travel on foot and practise PJ with a sketchbook.
best regards
simon jessurun

Replies: Reply from s.jessurun95 at (animal) ([Leica] panorama try with old summicron R and Fuji Acros)
Reply from henningw at (Henning Wulff) ([Leica] Ted, Tina, Henning and Bob on "focus and recompose")
In reply to: Message from rpalmier at (Robert Palmieri) ([Leica] Ted, Tina, Henning and Bob on "focus and recompose")