Sometimes, a simple solution to a problem takes ages to appear. I’ve been using a couple of cameras that rely on zone focusing for many years and the depth of field scale on them has been vague and difficult to work out. I have got used to them now, but the other day it suddenly occurred to me that I should look up the actual depth of field for these lenses online and find out what they were capable of when stopped right down.

I went to the website; ‘Depth of Field Master’ and put in the various settings until I had worked out maximum depth of field for these two cameras and my 24mm lens. The brainwave came when I realised that I only had to colour code five aperture markings; f5.6, f8, f11, f16 and f22 and I could establish a quick and easy way to set the lens for depth of field without any calculations or messing about.

Zeiss and Rollie with dots

I decided to mark f5.6 as dark green, f8 as light blue, f11 as red, f16 as light green and f22 as yellow. If I put the colours next to the apertures, and also at the point on the lens where the hyperfocal distance was, I could get away not worrying about focus.

Rollei dots

I used Humbrol enamel paint which is sold for model painting and I applied it with a fine brush (stir well first).


I’m not bothered about the resale value of these cameras, I expect to use them for the rest of my life, so why not make that job simpler?

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4 thoughts on “Brainwave.

  1. Michael

    I have similarly ruined the resale value of my Rollei 35, although it still requires some messing about:

    Each tick corresponds with the Rollei’s pre-marked distances (the hollow and filled circles are 6 and 10 for quicker recognition). If I hold the camera out in front on me with the 0 edge aligned with my target and one eye closed, and then switch eyes, the deflection will be what I set my range to. It works pretty well, I can shoot at much wider apertures now.


  2. Stephane Rocher

    Hi Andrew,
    I like the idea of coloured markings. With regards to calculating the DOF for any lens and film format you could just use one of many apps for your smart phone. This is a quick and easy way of getting the DOF when you are out and about.


    1. andrewsandersonphoto Post author

      Thanks Stephane. I do have the App you mention, but for street photography a simple and quick method is necessary. I find the small writing on web pages difficult to read when I’m out and about, so tend not to use it.



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