Focus bracketing

Bracketing focusing is a very simple method to get the sharpest image possible. This feature is especially useful when using non-autofocus optics.

Focus bracketing

Bracketing focusing

The essence of any bracketing - take several similar pictures with different specific parameters. In this case bracketing focusing carries out a series of shots of the same object, but with a different focusing distance of the lens. For example, a series bracketing can consist of 3 pictures, the first picture is taken with focus on the desired subject, the second picture is taken with the focus shifted behind the subject, and the third with the focus shifted in front of the subject. Then you can do anything with these pictures.

Many cameras do not have an automatic function. bracketing focusing, for example, Nikon central control centers are not able to do this at all. But like any bracketingTo perform it yourself manually is not difficult. It is enough to turn on the manual focus mode or the manual focus priority mode and shoot a series of frames with different focusing distances.

A huge number of similar shots when shooting in focus bracketing

A huge number of similar shots when shooting in focus bracketing

What is it for:

  1. When working with optics without an automatic focusing system, it is very difficult to get in sharpness the first time. Sometimes everything is sharp in the optical viewfinder, but in fact, strong focusing misses are visible. In this case, it is extremely difficult to protect yourself from focusing misses. But if you take several shots with different focusing, then the chance to get a sharp frame increases in proportion to the number of shots in the bracketing series. I use this method a lot, focus bracketing is often called 'focus broach '. For example, I focus on the subject and start taking gray pictures, while simultaneously rotating the focus ring on the lens until the area of ​​sharpness is in front of the subject. Thus, I carry out the stretching of the zone of sharpness from the focus to the front focus. Depending on the specifics of the lens, the series can consist of 3 shots, and even 50. It’s very convenient to use the focus stretch burst shooting.
  2. When working with fast autofocus optics, the focusing system can often be mistaken. This is especially noticeable when working on open apertures and long focusing distances. For example, shooting an object at 50-1.4 f / 30 50-XNUMX meters from the camera. In this case, you can use bracketing and get at least one sharp shot.
  3. Focus bracketing can be used to create unusual multi-exposure scenes; for more details, see multiple exposure.
  4. Focus bracketing can be used to depth of field programmatically. To do this, you need to take a lot of shots at different focusing distances, and then put together in one shot with a decent depth of field. This is a very useful and interesting technique for shooting landscapes, subject shooting, macro shooting. Below is an example of such an implementation based on 6 shots.
  5. You can also do focus bracketing at different focus points. This is useful when you don't know what exactly you want to show in the picture - the foreground or background, or which specific object will look better in the field of focus.
Take a few shots using bracketing. I took 6 pictures.

Photo for example (not the best one). Take multiple shots using bracketing. I took 6 pictures. In Photoshop File -> Scripts -> Load Files into Stack -> try to auto-align the original images. Then: Editing -> Auto Blending Layers -> Stacked Images

The disadvantages of focus bracketing when working with non-autofocus optics and continuous shooting are the quick wear of the shutter and a bunch of unnecessary 'shots' that you have to sort through later. But with focus bracketing, you can use the high rate of fire of modern cameras for their intended purpose, it's a pity that many cameras have a very small frame buffer. Personally, I often use focus bracketing. I usually just take a few shots by slightly turning the focus ring.


Focus bracketing is easy to do on your own. This is a very useful technique to get a sharp shot in almost any difficult situation.

Help to the project. Thanks for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

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Comments: 62, on the subject: Focus Bracketing

  • Trueash

    "All ingenious is simple." I knew about such bracketing, but I didn’t add that really - no one forbids turning the focuser while shooting!
    Thanks for your articles and reviews. I have been reading them for a long time, I just did not comment. I hope you don’t get bored

    • Alexander

      No! Do not get tired.

      • Sergos

        Sonek in playmemories has a professional bracketing program that includes focus bracketing for most cameras with phase and hybrid focusing \ who tried it, share it.

        • Sergos

          Well, how is it at 4 \ 3 when using the electronic shutter within the permissible shutter speeds \ electronic shutter does not wear out like a mechanical one?

  • Dmitriy

    Thanks for the great site! Lots of valuable information!

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