One camera one lens …….mmmm problems maybe.

So my New Year resolution is to stick with one camera and one lens for the year. I chose the fantastic 35mm f1.4 and of course my X-e1. Now this is a wonderful combination and although I am still practicing street I am loving the results. However recently I have been reading about “zone focus”. I have come across thus before and tried it out a while back using my X100. I wanted to give it another try but here I now have a problem. In order to zone focus you need to narrow the apertures to get longer depth of focus field, ok I understand that but what I clearly have not understood is the ability to achieve a long depth of field you also need wider angles.

My X100 has a 23mm lens therefore an effective 35mm in full frame speak. Now I don’t know yet if the crop factor plays a part in the optical wizardry yet but my x-e1 has the 35mm therefore making it roughly 50mm. Now when I set both of them to focus on something 6ft away from me an at f/11 they show vastly different values in the focus distance bar in the optical view finder. So when trying to shoot street with the 35mm in “zone focus” mode AKA no focus time for extra speedy shooting its much more difficult to judge what will be in focus and out with the 35mm than it is with 23mm. What I would like is focus depth to be 6ft to infinity, but this is not possible. I clearly need to learn some optics know how here and work out what can be done.


So here are the numbers.
On my X100 23mm at f16 and focus on something 6ft away I get a range of 6-15ft.
On my x-e1 35mm at f16 and focus on something 6ft away I get a range of 6-10ft
On my x-e1 18-55 set at 18mm and at f16 and focus on something 6ft away I get a range of 4-13ft. If I select f22 it changes to 4-28ft.
So in need to understand just what is going on optically and what I can hope to achieve in the future, begging the question just what would be the best lens for street. This is what I love about this craft and why it takes years to master. Photography ha simples……. Not.
Off to find out more …… If you know please post some links. Thanks.

8 thoughts on “One camera one lens …….mmmm problems maybe.

  1. I can’t help you, but I’m at the same place as you so will be watching this thread for feeddback. However, a couple of thoughts. To me 6 feet is quite up close and personal and F16 seems to be in landscape territory. I think F8 is your street photography friend and move your near point out a couple of feet and then manual focus and all should be sharp? But seriously you have already been more scientific about this than I ever have but having the exact same camera and two lenses as in this test boy am I interested in how this pans out.

    1. Hi Adrain I agree f/8 would be the default normally however street shooting at say f/11 or more is very appealing to me. Getting focus to infinity 8-10ft away provides a host of detail. It’s really cool looking into this stuff. Hyper focal distance calculator App ……check it out. However I still don’t understand the physics and optics yet. I will post more when I learn more. Lol.

  2. Simon, you seem to need a depth of field calculator.

    ‘DOFMaster’ ( ) is convenient but you can find others and apps for most smartphones. You can also a chart from the same site, but as you are on a “One camera one lens” project you could also get a table.

    The only parameter is the “circle of confusion”.

    Fujifilm is very pessimistic in the DOF display – more precisely it seems to have been calculated for the maximum resolution for the pixel size.

    A 0.02mm size should suit general photographic usages, it is the DOFMaster for fuji XPRO1 (works for the E1 as the optical/captor are the same).

    For that 0.02 Circle of confusion, DOFMaster gives
    * 23mm / f16 / focus = 6ft : range 2.87 ft-Infinity
    * 35mm / f16 / focus = 6ft : range 4.09 ft-11.3 ft

    Some references : wikipedia / cambridgeincolour ( which cites normankoren : great and luminous-landscape : a bit miss leading as the shots are not made from the same sistance of the gremlin puppet.

    By the way, there seems to be an error in you data as the DOF has always a part in front of the focus point and another part behind it.

    1. Hi. This is brilliant thank you. So much to learn. You are quite correct about my data it’s my misunderstanding, I realised now that the hyper focal point has in focus area in front as well as behind.
      Thanks again.

  3. I’ve also found that hyper-focal focusing is pretty much useless with digital, as many of the digital imaging chips used today can out-resolve the lenses that are mounted on them. Where the circle-of-confusion calculations were film with film, they’re too crude for digital, which requires much higher tolerances.

    I used to do hyper-focal focusing all the time with film, with excellent results. But I found that using the exact same lenses with digital and using the same hyper-focal settings resulted in missed focusing with digital.

    Going wide will help offset this to a point, but then you have difficulty actually seeing when the wide-angle lenses are in sharp focus (most wide-angle lenses are pretty slow, which hampers visual confirmation of focusing).

    I’ve pretty much dismissed shooting hyper-focal images anymore.

    1. Hi Mitch thank you for your comment. It’s and interesting subject. It might explain why the digital distance meter does not seem to work when trying to use the zone focus method. I’m still struggling to be honest to find good settings where I and get repeatable results. Wider and narrower seems to be getting the best results so far. But this means deviating from my project so it’s going to have to remain in the background for some time. Many thanks.

      Sent from my iPad


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