Step by step Fo­cus­ing from front to back

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

01 Set a small aper­ture (but not too small)

Of the three vari­ables that in­flu­ence depth of field (DOF), aper­ture is ar­guably the most im­por­tant, and the one you have most con­trol over. In or­der to max­imise DOF, set a small aper­ture, but not too small (at aper­tures smaller than around f/16, some­thing called dif­frac­tion ac­tu­ally starts to soften im­ages). Un­less it’s very bright this will re­sult in a slow shut­ter speed, so use a tri­pod and set mir­ror lock-up, and use a re­mote re­lease or Nikon’s two-sec­ond timer, to avoid cam­era shake.

02 Fo­cus on the right area

Ir­re­spec­tive of fo­cal the length you choose, al­ways en­sure that you fo­cus ac­cu­rately in or­der to op­ti­mise depth of field in your im­age. Re­mem­ber that more of the scene will be brought into fo­cus behind the fo­cus point than in front, which means you need to fo­cus on the op­ti­mal part of the scene (the so-called hy­per­fo­cal dis­tance) to max­imise depth of field. (See Pro Tips!, left, for more de­tails on how to do this if you don’t have a hy­per­fo­cal dis­tance chart to hand).

03 Swi tch to man­ual fo­cus

If you use aut­o­fo­cus, make sure that the ac­tive fo­cus­ing point is aligned pre­cisely on the spot you want to fo­cus on. Al­ter­na­tively, use the de­fault cen­tral fo­cus­ing point to aut­o­fo­cus, and then lock the fo­cus by switch­ing your lens to man­ual mode, be­fore re­com­pos­ing your shot. Another op­tion is to use Live View to mag­nify the im­age on the LCD on the back of the cam­era to 100% view, and then man­u­ally fo­cus on a de­tail or edge that you know is on or near the hy­per­fo­cal dis­tance.

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