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6d Focusing Problems

perklax
Contributor

Hello,

 

I've recently purchased a 6d. It's a great camera and I love the look it has, but I'm having all sorts of troubles focusing. I mainly do portraits, and that requires me to consitently hit sharp focus on the eyes. For the life of me I can't do that. I'll focus on the eye using the middle autofocus point and then will recompose and take the picture, but it still won't work. It works half the time, but that's not good enough at all. It's been driving me crazy and I can't confidently go into a shoot. I'm getting paid for shoots also, so this isn't acceptable. 

61 REPLIES 61


@RobertTheFat wrote:

@perklax wrote:

It's been soft or just plain out of focus up to f/6.3 or 7.1. But it's weird because I can sometimes nail focus at f/2.8. It's just so hit or miss that it's confusing me. I'm assuming it's something I'm doing but I've never had this problem until now. 


By "until now", I assume you mean "until I started using the 6D with these lenses".

 

Find a scene that has considerable depth, and take a series of pictures, focusing on ogjects at different distances from the camera. Then examine each picture with a photo editor that will tell you which AF points thought they had their part of the image in focus. Is the actual focus consistently nearer, or consistently farther away, than the AF points indicated? If so, get out your 6D manual and read about "Autofocus Microadjustment". Fortunately, that condition, though rather rare, is easily corrected. (Well, it's easily corrected on a camera that supports AFMA, and the 6D does.)


I have found that an empty parking lot, one with all of the parallel stripes demarking the spaces, is perfect.  Hash marks on a football field work pretty well, too, but in both cases you need to slightly elevated, though, about 8-10 feet camera height.

 

Mounting the camera on a tripod works best for auto focus testing.  I have had better results making AFMA adjustments by keeping the AF turned on, and entering adjustments to nail down my focus target, instead of focusing manually.

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."


@perklax wrote:

It's been soft or just plain out of focus up to f/6.3 or 7.1. But it's weird because I can sometimes nail focus at f/2.8. It's just so hit or miss that it's confusing me. I'm assuming it's something I'm doing but I've never had this problem until now. 


Are you using a UV filter on your lenses?

Yes


@RobertTheFat wrote:

If you're shooting in a studio with a tripod, you might find that you get better results using live view and manual focus.

 


+1

Waddizzle
Legend

What are your camera settings, specifically shutter speed?  You could be seeing motion blur from the camera, the subject, or both.  I assume you're indoors for the portraits, so are you using a flash? 

 

When you recompose your shots, make sure the camera does not re-focus before you take the picture.  I have been on a Back Button AF binge of late, and I have found it really helpful to prevent the camera from refocusing when I depress the shutter.  I'm not very good at holding the shutter halfway and moving the camera at the same time.

 

Always use a tripod for precise focus, especially with portraits, is good advice.  I will chime in and add using the 2 second timer on the shutter release can help reduce camera motion, too. 

 

If you have not invested in a sturdy, robust tripod, then you should consider doing so.  I would advise buying tripods and heads rated at least 30 pounds, or more.  Manufacturer load ratings frequently tend to be over-optimistic.  Most of the tripod load ratings are probably done with the center column fully retracted, but they don't tell you that.  I use tripods without center columns, or at least very short ones.

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."

Just starting back button focusing today, so we'll see how that helps. I might start using a tripod indoors when I can. But unfortunately for my outdoor shooting I like to be more mobile. I try and keep my shutter speed over 1/250th when I can cause I also don't want to crank up the iso. 


@perklax wrote:

Just starting back button focusing today, so we'll see how that helps. I might start using a tripod indoors when I can. But unfortunately for my outdoor shooting I like to be more mobile. I try and keep my shutter speed over 1/250th when I can cause I also don't want to crank up the iso. 


That's not very fast for outdoor shots taken in sunny daylight.  In fact, that would be rather slow, not unless your aperture was stopped way down, which should bring most everything into focus, anyway.

 

Another issue could be how you are holding the camera.  Where's Ernie with his "triangle" shot?

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."


@Waddizzle wrote:

@perklax wrote:

Just starting back button focusing today, so we'll see how that helps. I might start using a tripod indoors when I can. But unfortunately for my outdoor shooting I like to be more mobile. I try and keep my shutter speed over 1/250th when I can cause I also don't want to crank up the iso. 


That's not very fast for outdoor shots taken in sunny daylight.  In fact, that would be rather slow, not unless your aperture was stopped way down, which should bring most everything into focus, anyway.

 

Another issue could be how you are holding the camera.  Where's Ernie with his "triangle" shot?


I agree with the Sunny 16 rule that would be somewhere between f/5.6 and f/8.

 

Are you using any kind of filter on the lens (UV, CPL, ND)?

Can you post some examples? I would like to see the missed focus shots and where exactly you originally focused before you recomposed.

 

Someone mentioned above that ' you can never get precise focus using focus and recompose'.

 

This is nonsense. I do it all the time with my 6D, I did it all the time with my 600D. It is a very common practice used by most all photographers, professionals and amateurs alike with perfect success.

 

It almost sounds like you have the camera set to AI Servo.....so when you try to recompose it will focus on the new target.

 


@Bryston3bsst wrote:

 

Someone mentioned above that ' you can never get precise focus using focus and recompose'.

 

This is nonsense. I do it all the time with my 6D, I did it all the time with my 600D. It is a very common practice used by most all photographers, professionals and amateurs alike with perfect success.

 

 


@It is not nonsense and it depends on the depth of field you have. With an 85mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2 on a full frame camera you have such a razor thin depth of field that you'll never get a sharp eye, by focusing on an eye and recomposing.

 

With 600D and f/5.6 kit lens sure you have enough depth of field to focus and recompose all day. 

 

You can not get PRECISE focus, using focus and recompose.

 

This image posted by Frank Hollis on Photography On The Net shows why.

Focus shift as you recompose

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