Zone Focusing with Zeiss 6x9, Western style.

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by jdrose, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. Hello, Just for grins I am going to take my Zeiss 6x9 folder to the Cowboy Action Shooting at the "Western Legends Roundup" in Kanab. I am comfortable shooting portraits and statics with a folder but a moving target is entirely different. Although, I suspect that even out the "Action Shooting" most of my pictures will be portraits. Good natured hams in costume with their firearms. I would like to take a kinetic shot or two if the opportunity shows itself. My biggest concern is focus. I am pretty sure I can handle the shutter speed/exposure. I've never zone focused a kinetic subject before with a folder. My plan is to load it with HP5, stop way down, and hyperfocal focus in that bright desert light. Any hints or suggestions? Thanks.
  2. Expect fuzzy images. DoF calculations by 6x6 and 6x9 folders' manufacturers used a fairly large CoC.

    Have you considered pre-focusing? Don't rely on the "near" and "far" focusing distances recommended by ZI, guess how far away the subject will be when you shoot and set the lens to that distance.
  3. Hi

    Go get'm Cowboy! I think Dan said it too. Kinetic object are
    difficult with any camera. The more you do it the better your estimates get. I'd sert a desired distance 4-5 feet typically
    and then just shoot. My results haven't always been good but you get a feel for how close you can get and then you find the setting that works for you the best.
  4. If you set it to hyperfokal distance, everything from half that distance to infinity
    will be "in focus." But for that kind of situation, you don't really need infinity.
    <P>I'd set it at 15 feet (or 5 meters, depending on your camera), which at f:22
    will give DOF of approximately 9' to 45'. (Google: depth of field bob atkins).
  5. Thanks guys.

    Mr. Mitchell, that is a good idea. I was thinking of setting at infinity and working from there. But I like the range you suggest because all of my subjects will fit into that field. Nice, thanks.
  6. A good idea with any of the old front focus lenses is to check to make sure that the infinity focus is correctly set. I think it is not uncommon to find that some previous owner has removed the lens for cleaning and then not screwed it back in at the proper starting point. Estimating distance is enough of a challenge without introducing additional variables.
  7. What kind of shutter release do you have with this one. My Zeiss folder has a Telma shutter that cocks and releases in one stroke of the release lever. It results in jerky shots if I'm not careful. If you can, use a tripod and shutter release cable, and pan with the tripod.
  8. There is a technique I saw on a website not long ago that involved using a small monopod, set on the camera at an angle with the end of it locked into your belt. Something like a cellphone belt case could help lock it in... that would free you to walk about and have the stability of a monopod. With that setup I would probably also be inclined to use a neck strap to keep the camera on my person. Also remember to keep the shutter speed faster than the reciprocal of the focal length of the lens.... which will mean maxing out your shutter... maybe 400 speed film at f/22 and 1/200th (1/250th) would be a good place to be.
  9. Hello JD,

    Just checked out your portfolio. Nice stuff there. That rock under Bill and Sarah's feet on the North Rim looks a but dubious to me. I understand why you chose to take the photo and not be in it. Smart man;)

    I have a later model Zeiss Ikon 6x9 folder (Nettar) which has the Prontor SVS shutter, speeds are B,1,2,5,10,25,50,100,300. Yours has the Prontor II which I believe has a similar speed configuration. Maybe 250 for the top instead? Anyways, Zeiss has a very useful method for "Zone Focusing" that is built into these cameras. To quote the finely written guide that came with my folder;

    "There are opportunities in a photographer's life which, like time and tide, wait for no man; when to bring your whole technical armament to bear - rangefinder focusing, exposure meter and the rest - would be to let your prey escape you for ever. Such situations are best delt with by applying a kind of pre-prepared depth focusing which is indicated on the camera by red dots on both the distance scale and the aperture scale."

    Sounds like your situation!

    On the 6x9 models a red dot is found on the aperture scale between f11 and f16 and on the distance scale at about 33 ft. If both the distance indicator and the f stop indicator are set to the red dots, everything from 16 ft. to infinity will be in sharp focus (well, pretty much acceptable sharp focus). Now for the hicker...I use HP5 with a green/yellow filter(filter factor 2) and in direct bright sunlight set the shutter speed at 300. I wondered about the odd jump from 1/100 to the next speed of 1/300 until I discovered or should I say read in another Zeiss publication, that if a cloud crosses in front of the sun blocking direct light, 1/100 is a good setting and for open shade like in the shade of a building, tree, what have you, 1/50 works well. So once you set the distance and aperture all you have to worry about is the three shutter speeds and by following the settings Zeiss laid out`it's almost as good as a "Point and Shoot"...well, maybe not but close.

    Give it a try and see what you think. You might have to fine tune the technique to suit the intensity of the sun where you are and the time of day but it works well for me.

    Good luck and have fun.

    Oh yah, I'm sure you know this already but for goodness sake don't try to get any full front on shots when those boys n' gals are shootin', I'd like to see some of the photos when you get back alive...;)

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