Focus to Infinity without Indicator (i.e. Nikon 18-55 kit lens)

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do you want to take shots of landscapes

stars or moons and need to focus to

infinity but have a kit lens like this

one right here which is the 18 to 55

attach to the D 3400 and it does not

have an infinity indicator and stay

tuned this videos for you


I've received a lot of questions on how

to focus to infinity so I thought I'd

create a quick video to hopefully help

you out I'm gonna start off by what is

focus to infinity then I'm gonna move in

to why you'd want to use it and then I'm

gonna touch on what are some of the

problems with modern-day lenses and I'm

gonna talk about how I focus to infinity

I'm gonna touch on a topic called hyper

focal distance and then I'm gonna do a

quick demo on an application that can

help you out and finish up with a few

final thoughts now that sounds like a

lot but I promise this is gonna be

relatively quick so fasten your seat

belts and let's have some fun

what is focus to infinity it's when you

take your camera and you focus on a

subject and from that point to infinity

so as far as your eye can see everything

is in focus why would you want to use it

typically you use it on landscape shots

think about shooting a mountain group or

stars or the moon or anything that is

far away you will typically want to

focus to infinity what are some of the

challenges with modern-day lenses well

to begin with this right here is the

fixed 50 Nikon lens most lenses on the

market today will have some kind of

manual focus ring on the outside of the

lens just like this right here it has a

distance indicator on it and on the far

side is the symbol for infinity I don't

know how well we can see it but it's

right beneath my finger here and it kind

of looks like the number 8 that is

laying on its side that's the symbol for

infinity so the challenge comes into

play with a lens like this now this is

the kit lens that's attached the Nikon d

3400 this is the 18 to 55 and on the

outside of this lens you have a manual

focus ring now this moves smoothly and

it turns 360 degrees unfortunately there

is no distance indicator and there is no

stop point for infinity now that creates

a problem when you want to find infinity

so what do I do to find infinity

well on lenses that have distance

indicators in the stop point for

infinity you might think you would just

move into manual focus mode and slide

back to infinity now many photographers

out there might say the point to

infinity on these lenses is really not

infinity you want to go to the infinity

indicator and then come back just a

little bit now what is just a little bit

well for me it's about a sixteenth of an

inch I've always found that to be a

sweet spot for infinity now rather than

try to come back a random distance to

find that sweet spot what do I do 99% of

the time I leverage autofocus to find

infinity I find it always to be a better

approach and it's the exact same for a

lens like this on the nikon d 3400 even

though you do not have an indicator to

find infinity again I use autofocus some

people will say on various lenses out

there that do not have infinity

indicator stop points that you might be

able to use something like some nail

polish or a visual indicator of some

sort to leverage autofocus to find

infinity and then mark it on the lens on

this lens right here the outer ring does

not move when you leverage autofocus so

using a visual indicator will not work

so how do how does this happen how do we

how do we do this in autofocus and what

I typically do is when I'm in autofocus

and I have a landscape shot to shoot I

go into aperture mode and I'll use a

relatively high number like 20 or 22

this closes that aperture down quite a

bit and I will focus on anything that's

relatively far away from me so it might

be a tree a lamppost anything that's got

light on it I will lock focus on it now

as many of you know if you subscribe to

my channel I use back button focus here

so once I lock the focus down I take my

thumb off and I'm in good shape and I'm

now focused to infinity and I can take

my landscape shot so that's what I do

and it it's worked well for me over the

years and I continue to use it something

I'm going to talk about real quick is

something called hyper focal distance

now I've touched on this before in

another video called depth of field I

don't post a link in the description to

blow if you haven't seen that video take

a few moments and watch it because I

think it'll really help you out but what

is hyper focal distance this is an

important concept to understand and it's

not too difficult to understand just

follow me on this right here so what is

hyper focal distance it's the point at

which you can focus and half that

distance to infinity will remain in

focus again I'm going to say that there

we go hyper focal distance is the point

to which you focus and half that

distance to infinity is in focus well

how is it determined it's determined on

two primary factors your zone and your

f-stop so those two will determine your

hyper focal distance and there's a

mathematical formula to make that happen

now I don't want to lose you in that

formula and I'm just gonna say this

there are applications out there in

sites that can quickly identify that

hyper focal distance for you now I

mention this in that depth of field that

video and one of the applications that I

use is called hyper focal Pro now I'm in

no way affiliated with them nor the

company that produces that software but

I find that application to be helpful

and what I'm gonna do right now is just

show you a quick demo of that

application I've downloaded the

hyperfocal application right here on my

Samsung Galaxy s5 now this is a

relatively old phone but it's what I

have at my disposal and it works well

for me so inside this application

there's a key section right up here at

the top that we're gonna dive into

relatively quick and what we really want

to pay attention to is the hyper focal

distance right here where my thumb is

now to begin with you want to start off

by selecting the camera type now you'll

notice I have the Nikon d3300 selected

there are many options in here but the d

3400 is not one of them but what you'll

want to do is come in and select the

camera that is closest to the one that

you have the lens right here is how far

zoomed in are you now you can see many

options here and when you shoot

landscape photography you don't have to

get a

act and choose 47 48 49 I just chose 50

because it's a nice solid number now in

the aperture I'd like to go with a ha a

higher number and close up that aperture

in this case I'm showing f-22 now when

it comes down to the subject distance

this is if you were taking a portrait

for example or a subject that's

relatively close this application

provides additional information down

here in this section

now I touch on this information in the

depth of field video so I will not get

into that but what I do want to point

out is our hyper focal distance is

saying that we are at nineteen point

four four feet so what this means is

that based on our lens in the aperture

this is telling us that we need to focus

at an object that is nineteen point four

four feet out so that we can get

infinity focus let me show you what I'm

talking about

so right here our subject distance if I

change this to say twenty feet meaning

that we are going to focus on something

that's 20 feet out you can see in the

chart down here what this is telling us

is that we have met our hyper focal

distance and that we can focus to

infinity you can see this little graph

down here that's exactly what this tells

us and it's saying that half that

distance roughly at nine point nine

seven six feet to infinity we will be in

focus now you can play with these

numbers up here and see what this does

for example if we take our aperture and

let's say we move this down to an f/8

now our hypo focal distance is now 54

feet this would mean that we need to

focus on an object that is at least 54

feet away from us in order to achieve

Infinity focus so let's do that we're

going to change the distance to subject

and let's go all the way out to 50 now

wingo 54 55 feet somewhere in that range

56 there you go

so you can see down here in the chart

that we are actually InFocus starting at

twenty seven point seven eight eight

feet all the way to infinity a quick

final thought unfocused to infinity is

this keep it simple you don't always

have to use an application to determine

the hyperfocal distance and be exact

about it it's a relatively loose

understanding and as long as you

understand the concept you'll be in good

shape going to aperture mode use a

relatively high number and focus on

anything that is relatively far away and

you'll be in good shape

I hope this videos helped you out and if

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the channel it's called real world more

often than not I post videos about

photography and technology but you never

know so until the next video take care

of yourself and be safe