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Learning DSLR


I recently bought T5i, since i didnt have much time to learn i used the auto mode while clicking all the photos in Grand Canyon, when I check out the image later most turned out to be out of focus. Can someone please help me what I did wrong?





Your lens might be on manual focus. Check the AF/MF switch on the side of the lens. If it's on MF, then you need to push it to AF.

or maybe you did not half-press the shutter button to archive focus. To use autofocus, you will need to half press the button, camera will focus, then press it all the way down to take the photo.

or if you buy used camera , previous owner might set focus button on AF-on button in the back of the camera. Im not sure if you can do that with Canon t5i but might be the case too.



Is there anything in focus? The camera will focus on the closest point. If the ground is covered by one of the focus points, the camera will focus there, not on the other rim of the canyon further away.


*Always* pay attention to which little square flashes to ensure that it is focusing where you want it.

Thanks for the response!

Thats exactly is the case. Is there a way i can shoot keeping the person and the background both in focus at a place like cannon or any other natural surrounding. I hate to admit that the pictures i shot from from my iphone looked better.

" I hate to admit that the pictures i shot from from my iphone looked better."


This is often seen and asked.  It has to do with how the images are viewed.  Smartphone photos are usually viewed on a small screen while the DSLR is show on a larger monitor or printed.  If you tried to print the smartphone photos you would see a difference.  Try to make a 11x14 print from your phone.  Even an 8x10.  Try a 100% crop, etc and etc.


Second is settings.  To get the most out of a DSLR it has to be set correctly for the shot.  The larger sensor can capture a lot more info, both good and bad. Smartphones generally do not have adjustable settings so they are optimized for the phones smallish screen.


There isn't anything wrong about using a smartphone for your pictures.  If it gives you what you want go for it.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!


"The camera will focus on the closest point."


This is the most likely cause.  When you are in full auto (green square) mode and the lens is on AF, the T5i will not shoot no matter how hard or long you press the shutter button unless it got focus.  If the lens was on MF it will shoot immediately regardless of focus.


There are sharpening software's you can try but they can only do or recover so much. Grossly OOF photos will remain OOF.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!


For any given shot and amount of light, there are a number of different ways to set camera settings to collect what amounts to the same amount of light ... we call these "equivalent exposures".  But while equivalent exposures get the same amount of light, they do not get the same result.  


Aperture differences (and focal length differences) will influence the "depth of field".  That's the range of distances from the camera at which subjects will appear to be in acceptable focus.


Shutter speed difference influence whether motion appears frozen still (and sharp if the subject is in focus) or smeared (blurred).


Here's a relatively short (10 min) video that walks you through how this works in a way that is fairly easy to understand:



Three potential issues come to mind:


1)  Auto-focus system:  You can control which AF point is used to set optimal focus.  Presumably you'd make sure that AF point (as seen through the viewfinder) is positioned on the subject when you focus.    But the camera can also be used in a mode where all the AF points are active and it choose which point it wants to use.  BTW, this mode is the factory default -- so if you haven't changed it, that's probably what it did.  Anyway... when you use this mode, it will typically select the AF that is able to achieve focus at the NEAREST distance to the camera (when people casually take photos... the subject they care about tends to be the closest -- so it's usually (but not always) the a good choice.)


2)  Camera motion:  If you were taking hand-held photos and the shutter speed wasn't fast enough, you may have suffered from "motion blur" due to camera movement.  


3)  Depth-of-Field:  When taking landscapes, typically you don't want a blurry background... you want a sharp background.  When taking portraits, typically a sharply focused subject with a blurred background is desireable.  But in "auto" mode, the camera has no idea what you want.  It uses a middle exposure and hopes that is good enough.


When you compare these to a smart-phone.... the lens focal length for a smartphone is EXTREMELY SHORT.  This naturally creates a very broad depth of field so almost everything is in sharp focus.  In fact these phones suffer from the opposite problem... they can't produce a blurred background (new models do... but they do it by using two lenses ... one deliberately de-focused and they merge the two images together.  So it's not a true single photo... it's a composite made from two seperate photos.)


There is a "scene" mode on your camera for "landscapes" and when you pick this mode, the camera works the same as if in "auto" mode except that it understands you are trying to capture landscapes.  As such, it biases the exposure settings to use a small aperture and this creates a significantly broader depth of field ... allow for everything to be in pretty good focus.


If you were shooting in one of the "creative zone" modes:  M (Manual exposure); Tv (Time value priority aka shutter-speed priority); Av (Aperture value - aka Aperture priority); or P (Program mode), then you could achieve the same result (but with more control) by select 'Av' mode (aperture priority) and then dialing in a high aperture value such as f/16... or even f/22.


You may want to pick up a good book to help you become familiar with the basics of "exposure".  


Two that are commonly suggested are:  "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson, and "The Digital Photography Series" by Scott Kelby (which I think is now up to 5 volumes.)




But to increase the "depth of field", use a short focal length (if using the kit 18-55mm lens, then using the 18mm end will give you more depth of field than the 55mm end), also use a higher Aperture value (this is also sometimes called the "f-stop") such as f/16 or above) and lastly... put your intended subject at a moderate distance from the lens (don't put them at the closest focusing distance possible).  


Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
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