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where is the sweet spot?

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where is the sweet spot? posted by lifewings March 06, 2009 05:23AM reply | quote
posted by lifewings
I am brand new to using a LB (just started playing with my COmposer today). I am also a bit dyslexic, and tend to need specific explanations at times of words others take for granted ... so please forgive the question.

Is the "sweet spot" the point of focus? or is it something different. As I follow the instructions, I first focus, the bend the lens to move the "sweet spot" and then refocus ... is this correct?

Do I need to return the lens to starting position each time I want to recompose, or pick a different point of focus or subject? Or do I just play with what I see in my viewfinder?

Also, if I lock focus with the lock focus ring, so I need to unlock it (ie, move it back toward the shutter button) each time I bend the lens or find a different focal point?

Thanks for your replies (and clearing up my confusion).
Re: where is the sweet spot? posted by ScottM March 06, 2009 07:50AM reply | quote
posted by ScottM

The sweet spot is the spot of focus and it sounds like you are doing it correctly. You dont have to return to the starting position each time you recompose but you may want to until you get comfortable with it. I dont believe the focus ring locks, the inner ring locks the bend in place. If this is what you mean then yes unlock it. Have fun and practice a bit and it will become second nature.
Scott



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/06/2009 07:51AM by ScottM.
Re: where is the sweet spot? posted by lifewings March 06, 2009 10:56AM reply | quote
posted by lifewings
Thanks Scott - that helps! I look forward to feeling that this is second nature -- right now anything but. I love the results people get with the lens, and I certainly intend to keep practicing so I can get to that point.
Re: where is the sweet spot? posted by reis March 07, 2009 12:20AM reply | quote
posted by reis
ok I am also challenged and lensbaby seems to escape me. Following the above please verify that I am doing it right.

using a bouguet of flowers

1. focus on the flower that is to be in focus
2. Bend lens (got that)
3. refocus, this is where I mess up, do I focus on the
orginal focusing spot or where I have the lens bent to?
4. What is the best mode for Nikon 700 A,S, or M?
Re: where is the sweet spot? posted by ScottM March 07, 2009 12:49AM reply | quote
posted by ScottM

Focus on what you want in focus, start with just a little bending. A little goes a long way.
Scott
Re: where is the sweet spot? posted by reis March 07, 2009 01:15AM reply | quote
posted by reis
And there was dancing.....
Re: where is the sweet spot? posted by ulrica March 10, 2009 03:29PM reply | quote
posted by ulrica
Goodmorning!
I have to follow this thread because I have tried and tried and tried and I can't find focus when I have tilted the lens. When I have the lens in "start position" I find focus just fine and I have focus in my camera focus point, but when I tilt the camera, do I have to change focus point also? Or should I find focus on the sweet spot without changing my focus point in the camera?

Have a nice day!
Ulrica
Re: where is the sweet spot? posted by ranfoto March 11, 2009 01:37PM reply | quote
posted by ranfoto

Ulrica: I feel you're working too hard at this, relax a minute .

Ok......the thing about this Bending is to see the whole picture.

The more you Bend a Lensbaby the less you will see in focus, the sweetspot will be very narrow, but that's the whole point in composing by Bending .

Find the the place in your composition that you want to hold the viewpoint on, then when refocused this area will be the center of attention or what is described as the sweetspot .

Another tip for more in focus area install a smaller aperture disk, the depth of field will get better if you're not in macro mode that is !

Last tip, but very important !

Make sure your viewfinder is dead on sharp, set the diopter so you can manually focus your Lensbaby, many people are so use to having their autofocus do the work that when using these manual focusing optics nothing is quite sharp .

Do the basics and soom enough your images will please you .

Also the drill is compose, Bend, refocus, and click .....take your time to "see" through the viewfinder and it will all come together for you .



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/11/2009 01:39PM by ranfoto.
Re: where is the sweet spot? posted by lifewings March 13, 2009 07:35AM reply | quote
posted by lifewings
Okay ... I think maybe, like Ulrica I am over-thinking this ... but I too have the same or similar question, even after reading the preceding excellent reply. Is my focus point contingent on the focus bracket I have set on my camera?

I use a Nikon D300, and with a regular lens, if I want something in, let's say, the upper right to be the focus area, I would move my focus bracket there and focus accordingly. I realize that in playing with the Composer, I have been keeping the focus bracket in the center, whether I bend the lens or not.

Am I supposed to use my camera focus brackets with the Composer, or just find the spot of focus I want (ignoring the camera focus bracket), and bend? I understand that I then have to refocus, but does the original place that I focused on remain the sweet spot, just needing fine-tuning in the re-focussing step? or does it move?

Sigh ... any help for this overly analytical person would be appreciated. Thanks.
Re: where is the sweet spot? posted by BearWoodsDavid March 13, 2009 12:22PM reply | quote
posted by BearWoodsDavid

Hi lifewings,
Let me throw in my two cents. The brackets in your Nikon are only for auto focus. Ignore them when using the Lensbaby. Learning to move the sweet spot is the toughest part of this whole thing so don't get discouraged. I did it by starting in "baby" steps. I started by doing a lot of shots without bending. Then I bent the lens ever so slightly and mastered that. I would increase the bending in small increments until I felt I was mastering some big bending. Remember the analogy: "How do you eat an elephant?...one bite at a time". If you bend in little bites I think you will find it gets easier. Ignore the brackets, when it looks sharp in the viewfinder, it should be sharp in the image. I had posted a little trick awhile back about putting a laser pointer up to the viewfinder and turning it on to emit laser light out the front of the camera. When you do this and the light is on your subject and the laser dot is crisp, clear and sharp the image is focused. This works best on a tripod and a non-moving object. It will help you learn too on how to make sure things are sharp. I hope this didn't confuse you much, if it did ignore it. Just take little steps.

David Akoubian
www.bearwoodsphotography.com

"Time is a wonderful healer, but a really bad beautician" - Unknown
Re: where is the sweet spot? posted by lifewings March 13, 2009 12:29PM reply | quote
posted by lifewings
Thanks David ... that does help, and I'll keep practicing. I think I need to slow down as you suggest and work in small increments ... I only just today realized that even without the bending, the lens itself does its special lensbaby magic (I guess I'm a little slow!). Lots to explore ...

I will look for your posted laser trick and give it a try.

Thanks again.
Re: where is the sweet spot? posted by BearWoodsDavid March 13, 2009 08:45PM reply | quote
posted by BearWoodsDavid

Also try starting at f5.6 or even f8 if you can, like Randy said, sometimes it is easier to have a smaller sweet spot and then work your way to f2 eventually. You will love it all along the learning process.

David Akoubian
www.bearwoodsphotography.com

"Time is a wonderful healer, but a really bad beautician" - Unknown
Re: where is the sweet spot? posted by Escargot March 14, 2009 01:26AM reply | quote
posted by Escargot
Hi lifewings,



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/18/2009 11:43AM by Escargot.
Re: where is the sweet spot? posted by lifewings March 14, 2009 07:11AM reply | quote
posted by lifewings
Thanks all ... I'm very encouraged by all your replies, tips and tricks, as well as by exploring the galleries of photos posted.

I am realizing how important it is to go slow, so good photos aren't just accidental, but planned based on a real understanding of the lens. I think my tendency was just to get out there & bend!

Escargot ... what software are you using for blending your images?

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