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Still confused about focus priority

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Rich Gibson, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. I visited my grand kids this weekend with the d2H and the 85 f/1.4. Still got out of focus shots. So I went for a long (healthy too!) walk in the woods with Thom's eBook section on the CSM menus.

    I shouldn't have! Holy crud..all I want to do is get these little monkeys who are squirming all around and having fun and capture those wonderful expressions kids are capable of making.

    The environment is an enclosed space, or room, natural light and kids talking, gesturing, squirming crawling, etc. Ages 4.5 to 11. Would one of you pros walk me through a setup under this circumstance?

    Pretty please? Todd? :D 

    Thanks, Rich
  2. bpetterson

    bpetterson Guest

    I'm not Todd, but here is a quick.
    Set up for spot focus and spot on a face.
    Set aperture to 4.5 to 8.0
    Set your ISO to 540.

    What this does is to insure focus on a face.
    As you increase aperture f1.4 up your depth of field increases.
    A higher ISO will give you faster shutter speed.

    If subject is about five feet sitting at a table then f1.4 is fine.

    This what I have told people who have just gotten a new D100 and complained all the photos were fuzzy.

    Here is one at the table- 85mm f1.4


  3. bpetterson

    bpetterson Guest

    Here is one that I did not expect to get.
    D1X 28-70mm f8 at 70mm
    Spot, aperture priority f8, 1/2000 sec, ISO400.


  4. I assume you want to retain the natural character of the light, right? Not use a flash?

    Often, the color temperature of diffused light coming in windows is lower than the temperature if you were outside in that light -- keep this in mind. For instance, 5900K coming in through a window with the subject a fair distance from the window usually ends up around 5200-5400K.

    The 85/1.4D at head-shot distance on a smaller person tends to yield a nose-to-eye focused plane at f/2-f/2.8, a nose-to-temple focused plane at f/4-f/5, and nose-to-ear focused plane at f/5.6. I usually go for nose-to-temple, allowing the ear to defocus, but I know folks who allow the nose to defocus and just nail the eye, shooting f/1.4.

    Typical skin luminosities are between 130 and 160 on reasonably-lit Caucasians -- this should help you estimate EV adjustment. Watch out for overexposed skin highlights -- they really do tend to wreck the shot.

    If the subject is moving, don't let the shutter speed drop under 1/60 or so unless you're panning or you can accept motion blur. Pan at the exact same speed as your subject if they are moving in a consistent manner. This is valid for both rug rats and race cars.

    Lock on the eye, Rich. If you want a soft look, lock on the near eye. If you want the subject to pop out of a defocused background, lock on the far eye. This is for portrait shots, of course. The head-and-shoulders shot requires opening the lens up one stop, the half-body shot requires two stops.

    The best thing you can do is know your lens and your subject, just like anything else...

  5. Nice shots!! :D  :D  :D  :D 
  6. F15Todd


    Feb 1, 2005
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    In a full run at me

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    At the end of a trip down the slide

    These were both taken with a D1x. Now that I have the D2h I can set it up more like my old F5, and I end up with more infocus keepers then I got with the D1x.

    Most of the time on the D2h I use Ch, because I just love the power of 8fps. But I seldom let a big blast off. More like three or four shots and then another blast of three or four. AF-C since she is always moving. Dynamic area AF, and custom setting a1: AF-C mode priority to Focus.
  7. Todd,

    The pictures you posted are great!! She is a very expressive little one. Thanks!! :D  :D  :D  :D 
  8. My gosh what a beautiful little girl! Her big brown eyes are riveting, aren't they? Your neice, right?

    Thanks for the settings. That's what I am planning to use. Ron's tips were equally useful. It was getting dark outside and like an idiot I set the 85 to 1.8...no wonder I couodn't get any DOF!

  9. Thanks for the tips. I forgot to set the aperture higher. Another problem was not getting the focus setting right; I'd lose it if they moved even though I had it set to continuous.

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