• Brian Wells

Adventures with a rangefinder: Zone focusing

Posts have been a bit slow lately with the holidays and all. I also haven't found as much time to shoot as I would've liked.


Around the time this blog first started, I made a post about a Konica Auto S2 rangefinder I acquired. One of my biggest gripes with the camera is that I feel slow and clunky as I'm trying to get used to it.


I'm pleased to report that that hasn't changed even a little bit. But, I've also only put two rolls of film through the camera so far.


One technique I'm trying to learn to improve my speed with the camera is zone focusing. For those that don't know, zone focusing--sometimes called scale focusing--is where you determine the distance to the subject and set the focus using a scale printed on the lens. A lot of street photographers will set their focus and shoot without even looking through the viewfinder of the camera.


My first attempt was bad, to put it nicely. I fired a few frames with the focus set to infinity before realizing that it was in fact not set to infinity. It was actually the opposite.

One of my first attempts at zone focusing, where the distance was definitely not set to infinity.

After realizing my error and making the correction, I took a few more photos walking through town.


Unfortunately, most of the photos that came off this roll are lacking people and I don't think they're worth sharing. My town is pretty quiet under normal circumstances, but now we're falling into a balmy midwestern winter, so people are becoming even more scarce.

Hopefully once the weather warms up I can get more practice with this. In the meantime, I'm going to practice judging distances so I can start moving away from infinity focus. I figure that's probably pretty important.


Photos taken with Konica Auto S2 on Fujicolor C200 and developed by The Darkroom.


All images (C) 2019 Brian Wells. No usage without prior written consent. All rights reserved.

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Brian Wells is a visual journalist based in Port Huron, Michigan.

For limited freelance, commercial and portrait inquiries, email

bmwellsphoto@gmail.com

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