Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

Focusing fun

I went for a walk before work again this morning and shot a few more frames with the Bronica.

One of the things I always find a little tricky with medium format cameras is focusing – specifically those with focusing screens as opposed to rangefinders. I find it easy to get the focus looking good on the screen at initial glance, and for medium / long / infinity distances, especially at smaller apertures, that’s usually fine. But when it comes to close subjects, particularly if I’m shooting wide open, then it’s a different matter.

I find that I’m second guessing myself, twisting the focus ring back-and-forth by marginal amounts, never quite sute if a fraction of a degree one way or the other is the setting that will nail perfect focus on my subject. Flicking up the magnifier, squinting at split prisms and sparkling polygons of ground glass until my eyes ache. I think it stems from a number of images where I was feeling confident of my focusing only to discover later that the negs were soft in the places it mattered.

It’s not too bad with a tripod, where I usually have the gift of time to get things spot on, but on situations like today where I was shooting handheld and at wide apertures, it’s trickier (my fault for loading 100asa film I guess). Even a slight momentary sway of my body is easily enough to spoil a shot.

Will today’s shots suffer from bad focusing? I guess I’ll have to wait until I finish the roll and develop them, but I’m certainly looking forward to the days where I’ll be able to leave the house purely for photography, carry a tripod if required, and not have to bolt the attempt to make photographs onto an exercise outing.

Today’s photographs come from Magpie Mine again. If you’ve followed my blog over the fast few months, you may find the first of the three familiar – some of the compositions are very close to those I shot on the same day with my Zeiss Mess-Ikonta and a roll of 30-year expired Kodacolor Gold.

Two trees a chimney and a gate

History on a hill

Magpie Mine

Yashica Mat 124G & Fomapan 100.

Taken on 16 March 2020

4 thoughts on “Focusing fun

  1. I have the same problem with medium format. I think my problem derives from the fact that I position myself differently when I’m using the magnifier to focus. After I’ve done that, I straighten up a bit to make the final composition and I’m thinking that this motion throws off my posture enough to affect focus in wide aperture situations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve thought the very same thing on many occasions. A couple of the close-focus shots I made earlier were using slightly smaller apertures of around f/5.6, so I’m hoping that it will give me a little margin of error. Then again, even on a 6×4.5 medium format camera, that’s probably not going to give me much to play with.

      I think that what I really need to do is practice. I guess that if I were to use a medium format camera exclusively for a while then it would become much more intuitive, as it tends to be when I shoot 35mm.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s