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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎10-22-2017

Tips on sharp focusing?

Hi. I've been wondering how people archive big sharp area on their image using very large aperture like 1.8 , 1.4 . 

I saw lots of portraits, animal pictures that using f/1.4 but both eye are crystal clear. Does that have something to do with post processing sharpening too? If i tried to use lens at f/1.4, usually I got 1 eye clear and the other is blurry. If distance also play a role in this, how people do that with lens like Canon EF 35mm L f1.4 or even 24mm.

 

Another thing I struggle is taking photo of more than 1 subject. Let's say 2 or more people in photos, different heights, who or where should focus to get everybody in focus without using smaller aperture than f/8.

 

 

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Posts: 8,466
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Tips on sharp focusing?


@AutumnApple wrote:

Hi. I've been wondering how people archive big sharp area on their image using very large aperture like 1.8 , 1.4 . 

I saw lots of portraits, animal pictures that using f/1.4 but both eye are crystal clear. Does that have something to do with post processing sharpening too? If i tried to use lens at f/1.4, usually I got 1 eye clear and the other is blurry. If distance also play a role in this, how people do that with lens like Canon EF 35mm L f1.4 or even 24mm.

 

Another thing I struggle is taking photo of more than 1 subject. Let's say 2 or more people in photos, different heights, who or where should focus to get everybody in focus without using smaller aperture than f/8.

 

 


Have you had bad experiences, or is this a hypothetical question?  Post a sample with exposure settings and shooting scenario, if you can.  Using a fast shutter for subjects that can move is always a good idea.  Have you ever looked at a DOF, depth-of-field, chart?

http://www.dofmaster.com/doftable.html

That is an older web page.  If you do not see your camera listed, then pick one with a similar size sensor.  The default camera is an APS-C Canon EOS 7D.  Look at how certain changes to the shooting scenario can make significant changes to DOF.

Notice how DOF gets smaller as you increase focal lengths, increase aperture, or decrease distance to the subject.  Similarly, notice how DOF gets larger as you decrease focal lengths, decrease aperture, or increase distance to the subject.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎10-22-2017

Re: Tips on sharp focusing?

Thank you, Waddizzle, for the chart. It was little confusing for me at first so i had to spend more time understanding it.

Reason for the first question about large aperture was just me scrolling through flickr and saw some super sharp photo of people and animals with f/1.4 that look like it was taken at very close distance to subject. 

After little bit testing with my Canon 35mm f1.4 lens indoor, I realised part of my problem is the subject ( wiggly kid who'd do anything to make photography impossible), and other issue is my lens or camera seems to be front focusing. i'd have to try again, maybe outdoor for better judgment.

 

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Posts: 8,466
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Tips on sharp focusing?

[ Edited ]

@AutumnApple wrote:

Thank you, Waddizzle, for the chart. It was little confusing for me at first so i had to spend more time understanding it.

Reason for the first question about large aperture was just me scrolling through flickr and saw some super sharp photo of people and animals with f/1.4 that look like it was taken at very close distance to subject. 

After little bit testing with my Canon 35mm f1.4 lens indoor, I realised part of my problem is the subject ( wiggly kid who'd do anything to make photography impossible), and other issue is my lens or camera seems to be front focusing. i'd have to try again, maybe outdoor for better judgment.

 


This was shot with an EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, at f/1.4 with a full frame 6D2 at a distance of about 4-5 feet(?).  Shutter was somewhere around 1/100.  There was a lot less light than what th photo may seem to have captured.  You can easily see that the pumpkin is lit up from the inside.

 

9B3D9572-F59D-4D34-92EE-9070151FC7A0.jpeg

 

Notice how it might seem to be front focusing, but I do not think this is a good example to form such an opinion.  I selected this photo because this was one of the few shots that night where you could see the bale of hay.  It has also been slightly cropped.  There was an iPhone off to the left that somehow found its’ way into my field of view.

 

This is a handheld shot, Just a little bit of front to back wobble on my part would move the range of the DOF.  I centered focus on the nose area of the pumpkin, using center zone focusing.  The hay in front of the face seems focused, but it seems OOF to the sides of of the pumpkin.  But, I also recomposed the shot when I saw the smart phone camera.  It was elbow to elbow people.

 

But, notice how the top of the pumpkin, where the root thing has been removed, seems to be sharply focused.  I am quite tall.  The camera is angled downward, so the plane of focus is leaning away from vertical, bottom to top.  The hay to either side of the middle of pumpkin is pushing the rear edge of the DOF

 

I point this out because it is very easy to be misled when viewing shots.  I would not draw any conclusions about front or back focusing when using very wide aperture settings, except for test shots of test targets.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
VIP
Posts: 11,491
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Tips on sharp focusing?

[ Edited ]

"...my lens or camera seems to be front focusing."

 

You can't determine this with a "wiggly kid". I can imagine some of the info you have received is probably not helping. Here is what you need to do, get a nice static subject and try some shots at all apertures.  You may decide to employ a tripod but I doubt you shoot the wiggly kid with a tripod so practice without it mostly. A lot of the misfocus and blurry photos you get are user technique. Nothing to do with the lens or camera. Practice and seeing what happens, what works, what doesn't is better than reading about it. Improving your technique. Folks can show you all the shots they take, which is useless to you, when what you need is hands on time for yourself.

 

Keep in mind in-camera focus adjustment does not make the lens any sharper. It is as sharp as it will ever be right now. It simply alters where the critical focus point is.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎10-22-2017

Re: Tips on sharp focusing?

[ Edited ]

That's one scary pumpkinSmiley Wink
. Thanks, Waddizzle for the sample. That explained a lot. That's similar to what I experienced , like i'd focus on the eye , snap the picture and get the nose/teeth in focus.

 

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎10-22-2017

Re: Tips on sharp focusing?

Thanks, Ebiggs1. Yes, most of my blurry shots is result of wiggly kid. For the suspected focus issue, Yesterday after posting the question, i put my lens on my old Canon rebel t2i camera and got clearer photo than my 7d for same setting using center focus point on static object. I will have to test it properly with tripod to make sure it's not just my hand shaky or just my eyes.

VIP
Posts: 11,491
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Tips on sharp focusing?

"I saw lots of portraits, animal pictures that using f/1.4 but both eye are crystal clear."

 

Here again these are mostly very controlled shots. Where everything is just so.  And, you don't see the several dozen shots that were OOF ! Smiley Happy

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Reputable Contributor
Posts: 599
Registered: ‎01-25-2018

Re: Tips on sharp focusing?

Ernie nailed the response.  A very shallow DoF setup combined with a moving subject means taking a lot of shots so that you will get a few when the planets are in perfect alignment Smiley Happy

 

I was doing some macro shots of snow/ice patterns on plants last winter and with the wind I had subjects that were moving like small children.  What I found best for that situation was turning off AF, manually focusing, and fine adjusting via camera distance to subject.  I took several shots to get a few sharp in focus images.

 

With kids you can increase your percentage a bit by going for a higher than typical shutter speed so that a side to side motion can still result in a sharp image.

 

Rodger

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