10 HOW TO ? Questions

For beginners/new to Zenit cameras.

Q 1: How can I get really sharp pictures?

A: First: Use a tripod. The heavier, the better. Sand bags to hang under the tripod head/on legs will give better results when the wind is blowing and when you use long shutter speeds and/or telephoto lenses.

Very often unsharp pictures is not reflecting the quality on the equipment/lenses, but because the photographer have hand held camera, and is unstable/blurres the picture during exposure.

The best way to avoid this, is to use fast shutter speeds, and higher film speed (ASA value). The lens will give sharper pictures by stopping down to f.5,6 f.8 or f.11.
The optical performance is best on most lenses at f.5,6.

Lens hoods will give better results when you are shooting against strong light/sun. Often the front element or filter will get stray light on the surface, and give gray surface/low contrast in the pictures. Just hold the hand up over the lens to make a bigger shadow, or place the camera lens in shadow, and your outdoor pictures will be much sharper.

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Q 2: What is the best aperture to use?

A: It depends on what effect you will get.
A general rule is 2,5 stops from full opening. A lens with max aperture at 2.0 will have the best optical performance between f. 4 and f.5,6. This is the optimal aperture.
Most lenses have their best aperture around 5,6, or in the middle of the scale.
Fast lenses/bigger aperture, slow lenses/smaller aperture at optimal aperture. Example: It means that a slow speed lens is a better performer at f.11 than a fast speed lens.
You must find out yourself, or read tests for the lens.

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Q 3: What is affecting Depth of Field(DOF)?

1: Focal lenght:
Bigger focal length /Tele = narrower DOF.
Smaller focal lenght /Wide angle= greater DOF

2: Aperture/f.stop:
Bigger aperture /narrower DOF.
Smaller aperture/greater DOF

3:Combination focal lenght/aperture
Tele+full opening=minimum DOF, narrower at increasing focal lenght.
Example: DOF at 135mm at 2,8 > 200mm at 2,8
Wide angle+stopped down (f.22-f.32) =maximum DOF, greater at decreasing focal lenght.
Example: DOF at 28mm at f. 2,8 < 28mm at f.16

Myth: DOF is sharpness in the depth of field.
Not true: DOF is relative accepted unsharpness. Focus is only at focal plan.
DOF is unsharpness all the way. It seems sharper at wide angle/stopped down because the unsharp circles is smaller, and not recognized as unsharp by the eye. At tele/full opening, the unsharp circles is so big in front an behind focus, so it is easy for the human eye to recognize it. This is called “circles of confusion”. Film photographers have to deal with this a lot because the pictures is sized up,and unsharpness in the pictures is recognized by the audience. If you blow up a picture from a compact camera on a cinema screen, you will really see the unsharpness not recognized at a 10 x15 cm copy. When you use a pinhole camera, you in fact uses small unsharp/unfocused circles of confusion to get an image.

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Q 4: How can I use hyper focal lenght?

A: Hyper focal lenght uses DOF as the safe working distance range for photographing. The purpose for using hyper focal distance, is to work fast at a preset distance on the lens. If your object is in the DOF, you will get acceptably sharp pictures. To set hyper focal distance, you can do it in different ways:
Example: Distance: 3,0 m. Set lens focus ring on the same distance readout to aperture in use.
Either at left or right of the aperture scale.
To increase DOF against near distance, turn to right side.
To increase DOF against far distance/eternity, turn to left side.
Preset for normal work/landscape: Set eternity to right side aligned with the proper aperture. Small aperture will increase DOF/preset working area. To set DOF/working distance, Examples:
By setting a 58mm at f.16 hyperfocal, the DOF will go from 2,2 m to eternity.
By setting a 35mm at f.22 hyperfocal, the DOF will go from 0,7 m to eternity.
By setting a 20mm at f.22 hyperfocal, the DOF will go from 0,35 m to eternity.

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Q 5: What is the effects of the different shutter speeds?

A: Fast shutter speeds will stop motion. Faster speeds stops faster action.
Using flash with short firing time, will give more stop of action.
Example: Flash with thyristor operation on short distances can give exposure speeds up to 1/30000 sek, even if your camera is used at x-30 (1/30 sek) or B.
The fastest shutter speed on most Zenit Cameras is 1/500 sek.
Some modern Zenits have 1/2000 sek. This will stop almost normal action, except explosions, bullets etc..

Long shutter speeds can be used for panning the object (bicycle/car etc).
You have a problem with Zenit because 1/30 sek is the slowest speed, but you can use B, and press the shutter release manually for ¼ sek, ½ sek, 1 sek or more. Remember to keep both eyes open during panning, because the finder will get black during exposure. If you want the object to get blurred, you can move the camera, or let the subject move in front of amera, and use a tripod. Do some tests.

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Q 6: What is the relationship between shutter speed and aperture?

The relationship between shutter time and aperture is opposite proportional:
Shutter time halved = aperture doubled
Shutter time doubled = aperture halved
Aperture Scale: 1-1,4- 2- 2,8-4-5,6-8-11-16-22-32
Shutter Scale: 2000-1000-500-125-60-30-15-8-4-2-1
Combinations of the scales represents same exposure.
f.1 and 1/2000 sek = f.1,4 and 1/1000 sek= f.2 and 1/500 sek etc.
One f.stop smaller requires doubling of exposure time.
One f.stop bigger requires half the exposure time.
One f.stop change represents a half or doubling of the opening surface.
One step on shutter speed represent a half or doubling of exposure time.
Example: Full sun: f.16 and 1/125 sek
Change from f.16 to f.11= 1/500 sek
Change from f.16 to f.22 = 1/60 sek
The relationship between shutter time and aperture is opposite proportional:

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Q 7: What is thumb rules for exposure in natural light?

A: Use the guide inside the card boxes for your films.
Thumb rule, anquer point: “Sunny 16”
Full sun: f.16 and shutter speed close to film speed 1/125 sek at ASA 100 Of course other combinations of same exposure: f.11 and 1/250 at 100ASA etc. Shutter speed: 1/125 at ASA 100 1/250 at ASA 200 1/500 at ASA 400 etc. Full sun/thin sky: f.16 to f.11
Against sun: f.8
Open shade(blue sky) f.5,6
Shade under trees f.4 to 2,8
More info: Look for The Ultimate Exposure Meter A manual guide, covers light levels from starlight to atomic explosions.

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Q 8: How do focal lenght affect perspective?

Normal: 43-50 mm Normal lenses have nearly a perspective like the human eye.
Elements in foreground and background have normal proportions.
Tele: 60mm-500mm
Super tele: 500mm-2000mm
The tele perspective is flattened, more the longer focal lenght. DOF is decreasing with longer focal lenght.
Wide angle: 35mm, 28mm, 24mm, 20mm, 15mm
Foreground is quite bigger compared to background. Near objects seems wrong, noses seems long, ears is distant in face, compared to the nose.The most wide angles is 180 degrees. 16mm fisheye. The widest lens ever made, was Nikon 6 mm (220 degrees coverage). DOF is increasing with shorter focal lenghts.

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Q 9: What is the thumb rules for hand held photographing?

If you can hold the camera steady, like a gun, and hold your breath, you may get pretty unblurred pictures at relatively slow shutter speeds.
A thumb rule is: Shutter speed similar or faster than focal lenght.
50mm = 1/60 sek 35mm = 1/30 sek 28mm =1/30 sek. 100mm or 135mm = 1/125 etc.
The faster shutter speed, the better. There is always safer to go up on the speed. If you must go slower, try to get more stable support for your camera, use walls, corners, tables, sit on the ground with your back against a wall, or a big stone/tree, and try to get a 3 point support (head, albough, albough).
Aerial photo from plane: At least 2x focal lenght/speed or faster. 50mm = 1/125 etc.

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Q10: When must I use a tripod?

Whenever you can. A tripod will give sharper pictures. You will really see what your lenses can doo. A heavy tripod with a heavy head on short legs is better than the opposite. If you use a tread shutter release, the result is even better. Remember to cover the eyepiece with a black tape/paper or light safe cloth.

You can never stand rock steady with your body, the breathe and heart and shaking in hands/arms will affect general blurring.

When you use tripod, you can get rid of blurring from unwanted camera movement, caused by the human body.
General rules when to use tripod:
  • Working on long shutter speeds, time exposure.
  • For telephoto use, especially at long shutter speeds.
  • Landscape and architecture.
  • Macro photo

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