Posted on Sep 21, 2017, 2:42 pmAuthor: Jen Winter - Owner
FIRST TIME CAMERA QUARK FOCUSING PROCEDURE:
We need to make sure with 100% certainty that you are in MANUAL FOCUS MODE. Also, I know some camera software needs to disable from inside the camera to allow this. So double-triple check this.
Now if we can try getting this pointed at the sun, here are some tests.
If you are on infinity pointing at the sun with the QUARK and turn the focus by hand, you should see a CHANGE in the size of the blurry red light. If you don't see a change, then the camera has locked out manual focus.
You have to be really careful when you find the sun - because if you're close to the sun but not quite on it, that sunlight can come in at an angle and make a big red blurry blob. A lot of times people confuse that sideways light blob for the sun. You can never focus this off-axis light. It will always stay blurry. A good trick for finding the sun with a Camera QUARK is to find the sun with the lens zoomed all the way out, then zoom it back in to your desired magnification to focus. NOTE: Any time the zoom changes, you must re-focus with a Camera QUARK.
The best way to know for sure that you're on the sun and not using that off-axis light - is to position the edge of the bright red disk half in and half out of the frame. Then turn the focus knob back and forth to watch the glowing red circle get bigger and smaller. You want the circle to be the smallest possible. That's when it's in focus. The disk could get small enough to slide out the side of the frame - if it does, go chase it and get it back in, and keep focusing down to a smaller and smaller disk.
Generally, the camera should lean toward the infinity side of focus, but not ON infinity. Those marks are for that exact lens on a Nikon with no Quark in. They're different now. If, after getting your red disk as small as possible your camera still can't quite reach a small enough circular, red disk to have a clean edge and focus is at infinity, then take OUT a spacer ring. If your camera can't reach crisp focus and you are far away from infinity, then you need to put IN a spacer ring. ALL LENSES ON ALL CAMERAS SHOULD BE ABLE TO REACH NEAR FOCUS AT SOME POSITION. IF ALL YOU CAN GET IS A BLURRY BLOB, THEN YOU PROBABLY DON'T HAVE THE SUN FULLY IN THE FRAME. Focusing on the blurry blob is our NUMBER 2 CAUSE of focus problems with Camera QUARK owners.
This focusing so far is all described using your EYEBALLS. Focusing on a snapped picture has other issues. Once you get the disk as small as possible to your eye. . . (I know that's hard crouched upside-down looking up at a reflective viewscreen in bright sunlight) Then it's time to start figuring out your exposure. When you're overexposed, the camera will BLOOM and blur the edges of the image. Overexposure blooming is our NUMBER 1 CAUSE of focus problems with QUARK owners. Working outside in the sun, you'll be prone to take overexposed pictures because your eyes are adapted to the bright sunlight. Our procedure we recommend is to bracket down and down and down with shorter and shorter exposures until you can no longer visually see the sun's image on the view screen outside anymore. Exposures may be as short as 1/50 or 1/125 sec. Then, remove your chip and bring it inside to view in the controlled environment of indoors. On your desktop, open the files and take the dimmest exposure that shows the full circle of the sun's disk. It may still be a little out of focus here but now you know what exposure to focus with. WRITE THAT DOWN. Now go back outside and use that exposure to fine-focus your camera. I suggest either live-view or to snap a picture and zoom in on the edge of the sun to see in highest detail.
Now you should have a good exposure baseline and a configuration within focus range. Longer exposures show prominences better but blow out surface detail. Surface detail exposures often don't capture faint promiences against the background. Exposure techniques now come down to the skill and patience of the photographer.
Again, if you zoom, you must re-focus. But now you know how.