FOCUS BREATHING- everything you need to know!

FOCUS BREATHING- everything you need to know!

Image Credit: Pixabay



Focus breathing is a term that is used to describe the small change in the focal length of a lens that occurs as the focus is adjusted from infinity tó MFD or vicé versa. If you look through the viewfinder óf your camera ánd rotate the lens ’ focus ring from one extremity to the other, you will see that the lens appears to zoom in or out very slightly. This change is called concentrate breathing.

For still photography, focus inhaling, and exhaling won’t make any difference at all. Even the most expensive professional grade lenses exhibit emphasis inhaling, and it doesn’t matter whether the lens is a prime lens or a zoom lens. Even if you are shooting in a servo target mode, the small central length change as you track an approaching subject is so small as to make next to no différence to the fráming of your image.

When capturing video though, concentrate deep breathing can begin to be a distracting issue. As the focus is modified throughout a video shot, you will notice a visible, if slight, zooming motion to the shót. Proper professional cinéma lenses cost much more money than lenses for still digital photography and it’s their lack of focus breathing that often contributes to this high cost. Cinema zoom lens optics are far more precise than those of still lens, and when they are designed, they aim to have no concentration breathing at all.

Go ahead! Grab your camera and take a look through the viewfinder while you rack the focus ring back and forth on the lens. In the event that you look at the edges of your viewfinder frame, it should be pretty obvious that the zoom lens is usually zooming in and out extremely slightly.




Focus Breathing may become a real problem when shooting a video since that may not be avoided so easily. Imagine a scenario when a scene requires the focus to gradually shift from a person far away to a subject very close to the camera. If during the refocusing part the composition of the entire shot changes, the video would look really bad and choppy. Hence, filmmakers use lenses that have next to none of the Focus Breathing problems.


When I first heard of Focus Breathing, I was nearly certain that this would always happen to zoom lenses as only they have the capability to change focal lengths. Prime lenses are fixed lenses and hence, do not change the focal length through the shoot at all. But I wás wrong. Some prime lenses did exhibit a small but noticeable amount of Concentrate Inhaling and exhaling when putting to the test.

The reason for FOCUS BREATHING?

No lens for an interchangeable zoom lens camera consists of a single piece of glass. Most of the lenses have a few optical zoom lens elements that together make up a lens. When you concentrate your camera on a subject by turning the focusing ring, the lens components move within the contact lens to achieve the desired concentration.

Cross section of a camera lens

If you have your camera nearby now, grab it and you can see this for yourself.

Open the contact lens cover and just look at the front of the lens. Gently rotate the focusing band so that the zoom lens is set to infinity emphasis and then turn the band slowly so that the target returns to the closest concentrating distance. You will notice that as you focus nearer and nearer, the contact lens components juts out more and more in the lens barrel.

The lens optics have to move away from the sensor to get the close subject in concentration ( it is also the same reason why during macro photography you may use an extension tube to allow close centering, all you are doing is increasing the space between the zoom lens parts and the sénsor from the caméra).

In many of the inéxpensive kit lens, you can actually see the lens physically jutting out. What I am trying to explain is, to get a subject matter in focus that is at a specific distance from the camera, the individual lens factors need to realign and maintain a certain distance from each other. Sometimes when the internal lens elements move and try to get the desired focus, the composition in the frame might change, this the issue of Emphasis Breathing.

Now, naturally, zoom contacts have a substantial number of lens elements than a prime contact lens and therefore, they are also more susceptible to Target Breathing. But it is absolutely NOT the case that only focus lenses possess this problem.

The Nikon 70 mm to 200 mm t (which is usually mega costly) just manages to bé around a 135 mm lens when capturing at a full 200 millimeter; whereas the Canon 70 mm to 200 lens performs better at around 150 mm. As I said earlier, this doesn’t matter most of the time since you because the photographer can usually move in near to the subject and get the same cómposition with the concentrate. It just does matter when the distance cannot be bridged/ altered like when you are on a completely focus stacking take or maybe if you are shooting video.



If you understand the root of the problem, the solution is also pretty easy to guess. The basic problem of Concentrate Breathing is that the zoom lens steals from the focal range when trying to focus on a close subject. So, in theory, if we could manage to add a little range between the zoom lens as well as the caméra’s sensor, the issue will be solved. That is exactly the solution to this trouble. What we can do here is add a few expansion tubes and observe if that solves the difficulty. The extension tubes would definitely help emphasis closer and make the ‘breathing’ as low as possible but use it with caution.

Free from the problem of target breathing

Just remember that file format tubés do have side effects of not being able to concentration at infinity, therefore use them only when you have to use the contact lens at its Longest focal Length but need to focus at the closest.

Good luck then. Hopefully, now you can focus closer! Like I said, this not a deal breaker by any means. You have perhaps never even noticed this till We pointed it out, even though your contact lens has had the problem all along. The solution is also fairly darn easy and inexpensive. Do not worry at all ánd capture to yóur heart’s contént. And if you have any further problems, do let me know in the comments below.

Keep taking pictures amazing!

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