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First Ricoh Outing. Snap focus misses. I'm close. Advice needed.

Discussion in 'Ricoh GR (APS-C) Forum' started by Tom K., Sep 8, 2013.

  1. Tom K.

    Tom K. SC Regular

    185
    Aug 17, 2013
    Connecticut.
    Tom
    Ladies and gentleman. I went out yesterday and shot my new Ricoh GR for the first time. There is a thread here I started asking for advice about using the camera: https://www.photographerslounge.org/f103/1st-ricoh-gr-outing-saturday-advice-needed-21641/

    Well.....I took over 500 shots and missed focus on my primary subject on almost every shot. Keep on mind I shoot VERY close to people. My primary subjects are candid portraits of people and I shoot from the hip or chest high. The photos come close but they are frustratingly not sharp where I need them to be. The subject ended up being enough out of focus to annoy me yet roughly a few feet behind the subject all the way to infinity were razor sharp.

    I shot Tav with f/6.3 at 1/500th of a second auto-ISO. Plenty of light so no problems there. In some darker areas the ISO was up pretty high but the grain was gorgeous. I have no qualms about shooting ISO 6400 with that camera. ISO 10000 didn't bother me either. Most shots were ISO 400 I believe.

    I had SNAP focus set to 2 meters. I am wondering if 1.5 meters would have worked for me in this case.

    I am new to snap focus but man if I can get it to work the way I need then this will be the greatest photo related revaluation of all time for me personally. I absolulty love the way it works and to me the Ricoh GR is a dream camera. Small, unobtrusive, easy to operate with one hand. No one even knew I was shooting its so discreet. I just need to figure out this SNAP focus thing and if I can get it to do what I need then man will I be happy.

    If you look at the street photos in my Flickr photostream you can see how close I like to get. Flickr: Tom Kaszuba's Photostream

    The fact that I shot with SNAP focus at 2 meters......would my problem have been solved if I just cranked it back to 1.5 meters? Or........should I use another method of zone focusing? I never use auto-focus in these street shooting situations. Always zone. Hopefully SNAP will work out for me. I am new to Ricoh and SNAP focusing so any and all advice will be heeded.

    Here is an example of what I am talking about.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomkaz/9696154333/" title="Test photo. by Tom Kaszuba, on Flickr">"800" height="530" alt="Test photo. "></a>

    Please view the full size image on Flickr. As you can see the young woman is not tack sharp at all. The people in the background are tack sharp. The full size image on my computer shows this in a much more pronounced way. She is not in sharp focus. Probably a couple of feet behind her is.

    I am telling you folks.....I love this Ricoh GR. It is incredible. It's my first time out with it so I didn't expect perfection. In fact I expected to have something like this happen. Previewing the images on the LCD didn't quite cut it for me as far as zooming in on the face to see if it was razor sharp or just out of focus. On those small LCD's it's hard to tell the difference between tack sharp and out of focus....unless it's extreme.

    I have to figure this out. I was sooooo close. I missed a ton of great photos by probably a couple of feet of focus zone. I need tack sharp subjects that are close to me. My signature shot is shooting the camera from the hip pointing up as I frame from say about belt high to the top of the subjects head. I sometimes cut off the top of the head which I sometimes like. My Flickr photostream shows the deal on my style.

    I am sorry to ramble on here. I am just so dad gum close to getting this thing right. I need the advise of folks like you who have shot the GR for a while and know it well.

    Thank you all so very much.

    PS....I am not sure why the exif data didn't show up on Flickr. All my shots were f/6.3, 1/500th of a second. Various ISO's but mostly 400.
     
  2. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Looking in my iPhone 5, she looks pretty sharp. Although maybe not as sharp as the people on the background. But still pretty sharp. But it sure sounds like you have figured it out already. Snap away at 1.5!

    I pulled a measuring tape out today to measure what 2 meters looks like, just for the purposes of using the GR's snap focus!
     
  3. Tom K.

    Tom K. SC Regular

    185
    Aug 17, 2013
    Connecticut.
    Tom
    It will look sharp enough on a small screen such as an iPhone but on a computer monitor its clearly out of focus. The other stuff I the background is tack sharp. I am just missing. I wonder if shooting f/10 or f/13 would stretch out that focus zone.
     
  4. Will

    Will SC All-Pro

    Aug 30, 2010
    England
    You have already answered your own question.
     
  5. Garylh

    Garylh SC Veteran

    I used my ricoh gxr in manual focus mode to double check your setup.

    The distance and dof info when set for around 2m (my approximation since the is only 1 & 3 m marks)

    Dof info at f6.3
    -- slightly more than 1 m away for near focus and greater than 5 m for far
    At f7.1
    -- about 1 m for near and almost inf for far
    At f8
    -- still about 1m for near (moved a hair closer) and inf for far
    At f9
    -- in the middle of the 1m mark for near

    Change distance to 1.5m focus point

    At 6.3
    -- in middle of 1 m mark for near and far is about 4 m
    At 7.1
    -- almost at bottom of the 1m mark, guest maybe close to 3 ft slight movement at far side
    At 8
    -- almost bottom of 1 m mark for close and looks slightly greater then 5 m for far
    At f9
    -- bottom of 1m mark for close and almost to inf mark for far
    At f10
    -- maybe 2ft and inf at far end

    So if the dof (green bar) on the distance scale is accurate, the sweet spot on the lens is f8 about 2m.

    Hope that helps.. Your guess as good as mine in terms of how accurate the camera scale truly is. Most of my shoots so far have been greater then 2m so I don't have any evidence to support how good anything about a meter out looks.

    I decide to go back to a traditional fixed zone approach (myconfig 3 setting that I have setup which uses f8 at 2m) when I know it is going to be something like street. But the snap focus distance I ave setup is really for thos times I am in af and I know something is going to happen that is faster then the af lck for the camera..

    Good luck

    Gary
     
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Yeah, for super close shooting, try 1.5 or even 1 and see what works. You'll lose more focus at longer distances but you don't need that anyway shooting this close. You know the basic deal - now you just have to experiment to see what works for the shooting YOU do. 2 almost always works for me, but in a really tight crowd I'll sometimes use 1.5. And you're shooting really close, so try that.

    -Ray
     
  7. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    You look closer than 2m from your subjects. You could use a larger aperture if you wanted, but it would just degrade image quality more than necessary by forcing higher ISOs. The examples show that you are struggling to get acceptable focus close-up but you have a huge margin to play in the background so bring the focus point towards you. That's why I don't understand the need for working out hyperfocal distances for street photography because everything is happening close to you, not far away.

    Having said that, I still would have thought that focusing at 2m wouldn't have created such a discrepancy between foreground and background focus, but I have never bothered to play around with the snap focus on my old Ricoh GXR. I assume that Ricoh's snap focus of 2m means that the lens focuses to 2m, unless it instead means something weird like the zone of focus begins at 2m??? I used to just prefocus on the ground at what I thought would be my approximate distance to subject and shoot with that.
     
  8. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I'd set it at 1m. When you're in that close, you want everything up close in focus. If distant background stuff is soft, it doesn't matter.
     
  9. Tom K.

    Tom K. SC Regular

    185
    Aug 17, 2013
    Connecticut.
    Tom
    Thank you.

    Comparing the gxr and the new GR? I assume it matters that the sensor size is different.
     
  10. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    The GXR and the GR have the same size sensor (assuming one is speaking of the 28mm A12 module)
     
  11. Garylh

    Garylh SC Veteran

    Ohhh boy.. My bad :(. My apologies for the confusion everyone.

    In my original post, substitute gxr w/ gr-d. Not sure how that happened. All I can say us that it was late last night.. Around 2am here I think. Couldn't get to sleep. The values I got were from the Ricoh gr digital manual focus display.

    But to your other question, as Luke has said, if we are talking about the a12 or a16 modules they are all the same size sensor, apsc, just different mega pixels.. Not sure if they all came from same manufacturer.

    Gary
     
  12. Tom K.

    Tom K. SC Regular

    185
    Aug 17, 2013
    Connecticut.
    Tom
    I am thinking next time out that 1 might be the way to go. I get pretty darn close. For example:
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomkaz/9630269223/" title="Untitled by Tom Kaszuba, on Flickr"> 9630269223_73596c80a5_c. "800" height="558" alt="Untitled"></a>


    or
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomkaz/9596987698/" title="Untitled by Tom Kaszuba, on Flickr"> 9596987698_8fc73277d0_c. "738" height="800" alt="Untitled"></a>

    or
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomkaz/9633000348/" title="Untitled by Tom Kaszuba, on Flickr"> 9633000348_290d5b62dd_c. "800" height="566" alt="Untitled"></a>

    I just hope the subject in something like this distance will be razor sharp as well if I use SNAP 1 meter.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomkaz/9656764316/" title="Untitled by Tom Kaszuba, on Flickr"> 9656764316_f906d9fba1_c. "800" height="534" alt="Untitled"></a>

    or this distance:
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomkaz/9628222049/" title="Untitled by Tom Kaszuba, on Flickr"> 9628222049_5c2082cd07_c. "800" height="664" alt="Untitled"></a>
     

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  13. Tom K.

    Tom K. SC Regular

    185
    Aug 17, 2013
    Connecticut.
    Tom
    I thank you for the info Gary. I'm new to Ricoh so these sensor size issues are something I have to familiar myself with a bit more. I am grateful for your advice.
     
  14. Tom K.

    Tom K. SC Regular

    185
    Aug 17, 2013
    Connecticut.
    Tom
    Thanks very much Nic. I am 100% new to SNAP focus. The bottom line is I want to "zone" focus on these close subjects so considering Ricoh has SNAP as a feature I want to master it so I can get the kind of shots I like without thinking about autofocusing. It's zone or snap for me. Which ever works. Same concept I guess.

    Also....the sharpness of the subject matter to me. If the background does get a bit out of focus as it heads towards infinity it doesn't matter to me.

    I am looking to get shots like this:
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomkaz/9572491325/" title="Untitled by Tom Kaszuba, on Flickr"> 9572491325_318221f2d0_c. "800" height="563" alt="Untitled"></a>
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Tom K.

    Tom K. SC Regular

    185
    Aug 17, 2013
    Connecticut.
    Tom
    That's it in a nutshell.
     
  16. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Snap focus IS zone focus - Ricoh just gives it its own name because they provide a set of shortcuts to get there. But its exactly the same thing. So snap focus at 1 meter is the same thing as zone focus with the focus set to 1 meter. It's just quicker to get in and out of that mode. A relative "snap" as it were...

    -Ray
     
  17. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Mark
    Thickie alert.

    If I have the camera set to snap at 1.5m and AF/snap.
    Then:
    If I half-press it focuses and completing the press makes the exposure at that focal distance, or
    If I full-press (in a single movement) it takes the exposure at 1.5m.
    Is this right?

    Not sure as I've done some full presses in AF/snap and some don't look focused at 1.5m. So I wonder whether it only works in full snap mode. Or I haven't full pressed properly (so the camera goes for a micro-second AF). Sorry, again, for the thick question, but the manual isn't too much help on this count.
     
  18. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    You have to enable "full press snap" for that to work. Then, even when you're in AF, if you press through quickly, it'll shoot at your snap distance instead of auto focussing. Some people love this, but I've never really liked it. If you don't press hard enough fast enough you'll AF when you don't want to and if you press hard/fast enough you can get camera shake. I find that if I have AF/Snap assigned to one if the fn buttons, I can toggle between AF and snap instantly and I'd rather shoot in straight snap focus than "full press snap". But it's worth a try to see if you like it.

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Tom K.

    Tom K. SC Regular

    185
    Aug 17, 2013
    Connecticut.
    Tom
    Thanks very much Ray. Makes perfect sense. I have a lot to learn.

    Check this out though. According to the on-line DOF calculator if I shoot f/6.4 with the Ricoh GR with subject distance at 3.3 feet (which is 1 meter)....my total depth of field is less than 1 foot. .75 feet to be exact. Can that be right?
    DOF Ricoh GR.
     
  20. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Tom,

    DOF Master is thinking of the ORIGINAL Ricoh GR, which was a 35mm film camera, so its using a 35mm full frame rather than APS sensor for its assumption. Use the GXR (28mm) instead of the GR. I'd also recommend starting to think in terms of meters since that's what the GR uses on its distance scale. So, no, those numbers are wrong because you entered the wrong camera - easy enough mistake to make! But even with the Right sensor, there's not a lot of DOF when you focus that close. Which is the downside, particularly if you're shooting in lower light. But this is where using a smaller sensor camera like the GRD4 helps a lot. With the GR, if you set it at 1 meter, even at f11 you only have from .6 to about 3 meters in focus, which should be more than enough, but at f6.4 you have less than a meter of DOF, which might or might not be...

    -Ray