Fast focussing with the 501cm

I love to photograph children - fast moving portraits - and since I don't 'pin them down' I'm still trying to nail my fast focusing technique. I don't have any gadgets on my 501c/m with the 80mm planar lens.

Do you have any tips on how I can speed up my focusing? Is the speed focus ring worth spending the money?

Thank you and kind regards
Nicole
 

simonpg

New Member
Nicole, those rings I think were originally for earlier lenses that had "harder to grasp" focus rings - not so necesary/helpful on later lenses. But when I tried one I did like the extra "gearing" it provides. They are cheap used so maybe grab one and give it a go. Also they help reach the focus rind when you have the camera on a tripod, your face down into a WLF concentrating.... move your hand forward and you can't miss the speed focusing ring's handle.

Another help may be to use a PM45 prism finder. IMHO, a WLF is really a slower more considered finder. I keep one on one body for tripod shot landscapes and the pop up magnifier is a marvel for critical focusing. But on another body I have the PM45 for "walk-about" shooting like a true SLR - a little harder on the eyes to watch that split prism go perfectly sharp (lower magnification), but allows me to work a bit faster with the camera steadied against my face with the PM45 at my eye.

Come to think of it you could also try the "chimney" finder - I just think that having the whole image as the only thing you can see through a chimney or prism finder helps faster focusing a bit faster.

However, all that said I supose faster focusing is a function of practice makes perfect. I'm so oooooo slowww!

I do admire experience Hassy users who can focus sharp very fast.

But, I don't use my Hassy for "faster" stuff. For that I use my AF EOS 1vHS - with late forties eyesight, I haaaaate fast focusing without AF. Although I also shoot Leica-M - a rangefinder is much much faster to focus.
 

simonpg

New Member
I am with you on that Nicole. There is something quite beautiful about looking down into the WLF and seeing the Planar's 3D like image. It's my preferred way to go generally.

But, it is a matter of different horses for different courses and I find most of my hand-held shooting is more comfortable with the PM45 (actually rather than the PM90 as well).

VIP - Another factor that I omitted (and is quite important to focus speed and judging things like kids moving about) to say is that IMHO the prism finder's "correctly" presented image (not flipped over) is a HUGE benefit to framing, focusing and judging movement when you are "on the go".

I must add that initially I had a bit of trouble getting the square image horizontally correct with both. Adding a Hassy spirit level to the side of the camera body (that rectangular accessory shoe on the left side) allows me to turn my eye to it while I frame up to be sure levels are good. A really neat handy accessory bought used at a lowish cost.
 

fotografz

Active Member
Horses for courses.

While I do shoot children with my Hasselblad, it wouldn't be my first choice for an "active" session . An AF 35 or Leica M range-finder would be the weapon of choice.

A prism on a Hassey would be essential IMO, and fast enough film to achieve some DOF.

Here's an old PJ trick I learned from a newspaper photographer years ago. Get in the habit of racking the focus ring back to infinity after each set of shots. It then means you will move the ring one way every time you go to shoot instead of "hunting" back and forth to focus. AND, if you look at the distance scale on most normal to slightly wide lenses, you'll see that the distance you need to move the focal point is more compacted toward the infinity end of the scale. That means you need move the focus rind a shorter distance for a majority of shots. IF you are doing a lot of close-up work crank the focus ring to the middle of the distance scale after each set of shots so you still need only move the ring one way on the next set of shots.
 

simonpg

New Member
Marc, that's a very very good tip for focusing speed. Funnily enough I do that with my Leica rangefinder, and never thought of it when shooting the Hassy. Thanks.
 

brad

New Member
> I photograph children extensively. I like the waist level finder (or > chimney ) because it gets me down on their level and Its less direct > so they're not as aware that I'm taking their picture. It does take > practice getting the left/right thing down, but you can do exercises, > like following a kid on a swing and you'll get it. I also like the > quick focus handle. I like it because, aside from the added > mechanical advantage, it lets me know about where the lens is focused > by touch. If the handle is attached so it's pointed up ( 6:00 if you > look down at an upturned camera) when the lens is focused on infinity, > the lens will be focused on eight feet when it's pointing to the right > (3:00), four feet when pointing down (12:00), and three feet when > pointing left (9:00). It gets to be intuitive for your right hand to > roughly prefocus the camera before you even look in the viewfinder.
 
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