Best way to determine distance when focusing

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Justin F. Knotzke, Oct 16, 2003.

  1. Hi,

    I have a Nikon CoolPix 995 and I would like to start using the manual
    features more and more. I have been fiddling with the manual focus and its
    often a bit of a crapshoot, of what I am focusing on, is actually in focus. I
    can guess the distance and look at the LCD, but often there is too much light
    shining on the LCD and I can't get a decent read..

    What sort of tricks do you people use when determining distance for


    Justin F. Knotzke, Oct 16, 2003
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  2. Justin F. Knotzke

    Ed Ruf Guest

    First, be forewarned the distance calc is woefully inaccurate. Enough
    so that in subsequent models Nikon gave up on this much to my dismay.

    You might consider a Photosolve eXtend-a-view for using the LCD in
    situations such as this. I use mine with my 990 and 5700.
    Ed Ruf Lifetime AMA# 344007 ()
    See images taken with my CP-990 and 5700 at
    Ed Ruf, Oct 16, 2003
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  3. Justin F. Knotzke

    Lionel Guest

    Word has it that on 16 Oct 2003 16:48:30 GMT, in this august forum,
    To be honest, I wouldn't even attempt to manually focus with an LCD
    viewfinder. There just isn't enough LCD resolution to be sure that your
    focus is spot on.
    The times that I usually want to do that is in dim lighting, & where I
    don't want to distract the (human) subject with the cameras focus-assist
    light. My trick then is to autofocus on something else at the same
    distance, keep the release button half down, aim at the subject, then
    push the button the rest of the way. It works pretty well if I'm
    shooting with any reasonable (DoF > 6") aperture.
    Lionel, Oct 16, 2003
  4. Justin F. Knotzke

    Don Stauffer Guest

    This is an experience thing. Start by going to places you know distance
    to, and seeing what they look like. If you own a house, you should have
    a plat map. The dimensions of your house may be known. Anything beyond
    about a hundred feet is essentially infinity unless you are at a good
    telephoto distance.

    For shorter distances, you can pace it out. If I remember right, one
    pace is about 30 inches (2 and a half feet).

    In days before SLRs and rangefinders, all photographers (except those
    using view cameras) needed to learn this.

    You can also use LCD screen. Estimate a distance. Now, focus as best
    you can on LCD screen and see what lens says. Keep doing this until you
    get good at it.
    Don Stauffer, Oct 17, 2003
  5. Hi Thanks to everyone who posted. Much appreciated. Most seem to say that
    practice makes perfect. Makes sense.

    The reason I don't want to use the autofocus is that it is pig slow on the
    995. I usually shoot bike races. I know where the riders will be so I like
    to focus on a line in the road, set it to continuous and wait. When they hit
    that line, click, click, click. With the autofocus, even if I press the
    shutter half way, wait, the camera tries to focus again on the second shot and
    I have missed it. The other problem is it requires me to hold that button down
    half way as I wait for the riders to come around. Serious pain.

    I'll practice some more.

    Thanks again

    Justin F. Knotzke, Oct 17, 2003
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