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Archive 2012 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.
  
 
suey11
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p.1 #1 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


As the title suggests I'm a bit new too the photography world.
I need my spirits lifting I have taken quite a number of shots at my sons birthday party with my sparkling new 5D III and a 50L lens the results on the camera screen and once I'd transferred the jpegs to my iPad looked fantastic compared to my previous point and shoot camera.
But I then transferred my raw files to my iMac and some of the results look out of focus too dark etc etc all in all pretty disheartening.
Any tips or advice would be much appreciated.
Thank you in advance.



Aug 06, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Hawkan
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p.1 #2 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


Focus and exposure are things you need to practice in order to understand and use. Reading a good book on photography is a good start, and the Canon SLR manuals are actually very helpful too.

The equipment you have is to say the least good enough. Shooting the 50mm f/1.2 wide open is challenging as the depth of field (where the image is sharp) is extremely short at max aperture. Stopping it down to f/2.8 or thereabouts should make it easier to nail focus (we'll leave focus shift out of this discussion for now).

As you are shooting RAW files, underexposure is easily and quickly solved either in Canon's own programs or Lightroom, Aperture or whatever software you wish to use. The product manuals for the software (and camera) will be of much use there.

Finally, pixel peeping (viewing images at 100% magnification on your screen) is mostly disheartening when starting out with digital photography. Leave that to the gear geeks and try to get the shots you like. An image that is not pixel perfect will often print beautifully at pretty good sizes anyway.

(or is this just a joke related to thread #1137782 ?)



Aug 06, 2012 at 11:45 AM
suey11
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p.1 #3 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


Thanks for the advice any suggestions for a good read.


Aug 06, 2012 at 12:15 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #4 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


Any basic photography book should do. Look on amazon for highly rated products and their reviews. Welcome to the beginning. If you remain interested in photography, you will be able to take great photos! Low light, shallow depth of field, moving targets is not an easy place to start. Also, local community recreation centers will hold basic photography classes. You would get time with others and even some one on one time with an experienced photographer.


Aug 06, 2012 at 12:21 PM
the888account
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p.1 #5 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


Hello & Welcome,

You've certainly got the kit to achieve excellent results, so unless there is something fundamentally wrong with the lens or camera its probably just down to technique.

Can you post up a couple of images, say a couple of the worst ones and one which is spot on. Then we can better tell what the root of the issue might be

We can then take a look at the exif (or choose to include this with the upload and it will stick the data under the photo for us to see).

As Hawkan above suggets, it could just be a case of shooting too wide open (f1.2 / f1.4) resulting in a very narrow depth of field or a just shutter speed slightly too slow which is giving the image a slight blur (assume these are handheld) which appears as out of focus.

If your target is moving,as I'm guessing at your sons birthday, you stand a small chance of nailing focus with the lens wide open potentially.

In terms of exposure, my suggestion would be to learn how to use your cameras histogram to gauge exposure. You can recover alot in post processing, buts much better to get it right in camera.

A couple of thoughts on JPEG / Raw:

Sounds like you have shot the images in both JPEG & Raw. By nature, the JPEGS will appear "better" than the raw images, since the camera will have applied a preset to the images during the conversion - boosting colours and sharpness likely. Whereas, the Raw's are simply the sensor data - no sharpening, no tweaking. Just 1's and 0's from the sensor.

Hence, its fair to say almost every raw image you take will need some element of post processing. JPEGs will likely beat Raw straight out of the camera with no processing.

Only final point is difference between screens. My images on the laptop compared to my desktop screen are fundamentally different - miles apart! Hence, the darkness you could be seeing may be down to your screen.

Definately worth you having a read up. I see your in the UK (same as me), I started by picking up the monthly magazines (Photograher Monthly, Digital Camera etc) - each month they have a "how to" amongst entry level descriptions of shutter speed, aperture, ISO etc. They get a bit repetitive after a while, but certainly useful for getting up to speed on what is what.

Books wise, some people hate them, but the Scott Kelby ones arent bad and are easy to read. ie. They tend to gloss over the physics of photography and just present the "how to get this image" approach.

Finally, practice practice....shoot everything.

Make it easy on yourself to start with ie. Work in good light and just see what settings on the camera has what effect. Importantly, if they are shockingly bad - try to understand why and whats caused them to be bad.

Cheers!
888



Edited on Aug 06, 2012 at 12:45 PM · View previous versions



Aug 06, 2012 at 12:33 PM
suey11
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p.1 #6 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


Thanks 888
The jpeg to raw makes sense and I love shooting the larger apertures to get depth of field.
Would also love to get out and about more and shoot outdoors but as you know the weather has been awful.
Trial and error sounds like fun and I'll try and post some pictures later today.



Aug 06, 2012 at 12:45 PM
the888account
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p.1 #7 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


DoF (depth of field) is the new photographers dream - I was obsessed with bokeh (blurry backgrounds) when I started.

Dont forget, you can blow the background out and get a great bokeh effect at smaller apertures than 1.2 / 1.4 - come up to 2.8 for example. At 50mm and a subject that fairly close to the lens you will blow the background out all day long to isolate the subject.

At the much wider apertures like 1.2 / 1.4, your focus point needs to be bang on, but even then other facial features will start to go out of focus as the DoF is so narrow.

ie. If you focus on your sons eyes - his eyes might be bang in focus, but his nose (fore of his eyes) and ears (aft of his eyes) will probably be just starting to go out of focus. - So, its a fine balance.

Also - whilst I dont have a 50L, I would image the lens's sweet spot for sharpness is probably f2.8 upwards as a guess. I can only compare my 24-70L which at f2.8 70mm is quite soft, but at f6.3 70mm its sharp as a pin.

Agreed about the weather! - truely shocking here in the UK.



Aug 06, 2012 at 12:53 PM
timbop
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p.1 #8 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


There are some basics that you haven't mentioned: what focusing mode are you using, and what were the shutter speeds, etc? If you are using digital photo professional that came with the camera, you can see the AF point(s) that was actually used for the shot. Wide aperture photography on a fullframe camera requires more precise selection of AF point and better technique than a P&S (because the depth of field is so much narrower). That narrow depth of field is one of the things that makes images look to much better, but it requires a little more discipline


Aug 06, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Monito
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p.1 #9 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


Here are the video tutorials for the 5D Mark III. You can play them on your computer or you can put them on a memory card and play them on your camera.

The first four are about AutoFocus.

http://learn.usa.canon.com/resources/products/eos_5d_markiii/5d_mark_iii_on_camera_tutorials_resource_list.shtml



Aug 06, 2012 at 01:46 PM
suey11
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p.1 #10 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


I was using single point focusing mainly aiming for the face, i'll be honest I'd only had the camera a few days so tried to play safe by using aperture priority and auto ISO and just adjusting the aperture a little but not much below f2.
Practise seems to be the best advise.



Aug 06, 2012 at 02:18 PM
 

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StillFingerz
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p.1 #11 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


suey11 wrote:
Thanks for the advice any suggestions for a good read.


Here's one of the best books to start with As others have said practice, practice practice...on everything...just shoot, learn and above all have FUN

Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera By Bryan Peterson
http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-3rd-Photographs-Camera/dp/0817439390/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344262594&sr=1-1&keywords=understanding+exposure



Aug 06, 2012 at 02:28 PM
timbop
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p.1 #12 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


suey11 wrote:
I was using single point focusing mainly aiming for the face, i'll be honest I'd only had the camera a few days so tried to play safe by using aperture priority and auto ISO and just adjusting the aperture a little but not much below f2.
Practise seems to be the best advise.


were you using oneshot or AI servo? What were your shutter speeds?

Can you post images (preferably 100% crops of the area where you focused)?



Aug 06, 2012 at 08:31 PM
suey11
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p.1 #13 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


I was using one shot most of the time then AI focus occasionally.
The shutter speeds I'd have to check as I never adjusted this, is this set automatically in aperture priority mode?
I will post some pics but it won't be until the weekend, work getting in the way of my new hobby. 😄



Aug 06, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Jim McCann
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p.1 #14 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


Suey11,

Obviously you're a smart person 'cause of the gear you bought, and for coming here for advice. You'll figure all this out quickly. And remember...in the case of digital...all the film is FREE!

Welcome to the world of photography, and to FM Forums.

Jim



Aug 06, 2012 at 08:54 PM
suey11
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p.1 #15 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


Thanks for all the advice.
I'm going to go out this weekend have a really good play and hopefully fill up some memory cards.



Aug 06, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Red 90
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p.1 #16 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


Suey, you have some great gear.

First thing I would do to eliminate equipment error is to do some focus test on a tripod and focus sheet to see if you are front or back focusing. Although you have great gear, you may still need to calibrate it. Once you have the focus tack sharp you know the rest of it would likely be user error.

Also educate yourself on the DOF. At F1.2, the area of acceptable focus is so narrow that you will get one eye sharp and the nose will be out of focus. That doesn't mean don't use F1.2, but be aware of what it creates and use it to your artistic advantage.

At F1.2, it is so sensitive that I will always just use the single point focus and never recompose as recomposing will shift your plane of focus to the wrong area.



Aug 07, 2012 at 07:28 PM
suey11
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p.1 #17 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


Thanks Red
I have managed to get a load of 'L' lenses from someone who owed me.
Then thought I'd splash out on the 5d iii and ultimately loved using the 50L then the 24L, 24-70 and the 70-200 is ii.
If it ever stops raining I will try the focus test.
Ultimately I think I need to step it down a notch and practice.



Aug 07, 2012 at 07:40 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #18 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


suey11 wrote:
As the title suggests I'm a bit new too the photography world.
I need my spirits lifting I have taken quite a number of shots at my sons birthday party with my sparkling new 5D III and a 50L lens the results on the camera screen and once I'd transferred the jpegs to my iPad looked fantastic compared to my previous point and shoot camera.
But I then transferred my raw files to my iMac and some of the results look out of focus too dark etc etc all in all pretty disheartening.
Any tips or advice would be much
...Show more

So, what advice provoked you to start as a newbie with a 5DIII and the 50mm L lens? You really have not previous experience? I'd have a good long talk with the person that recommended that setup. And next time look elsewhere for your purchasing advice!

I'm sorry (really) to say that, but given the number of people who read these forums and might fall victim to the same sort of advice, it is important to say it here.

To your question, it is difficult to respond without knowing whether you shoot raw or jpg in the camera, knowing what application you are using on the Mac to view and post-process, and - best of all - having a sample of one of your problem files to look at.

Take care,

Dan



Aug 08, 2012 at 12:32 AM
timbop
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p.1 #19 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


gdanmitchell wrote:
So, what advice provoked you to start as a newbie with a 5DIII and the 50mm L lens? You really have not previous experience? I'd have a good long talk with the person that recommended that setup. And next time look elsewhere for your purchasing advice!

I'm sorry (really) to say that, but given the number of people who read these forums and might fall victim to the same sort of advice, it is important to say it here.

To your question, it is difficult to respond without knowing whether you shoot raw or jpg in the camera, knowing what application you
...Show more

+1. Rather like learning to drive on a ferrari



Aug 08, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Bullseye5d2
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p.1 #20 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


Haven't read all previous posts so I might repeat some stuff that's already been said...

Anyway, from my personal experience, I would recommend that you make sure to know your camera's auto focus system very well and practice using the different AF modes.

Also, when you're shooting at larger apertures, be aware that the plane of focus is extremely unforgiving or any movement after focus has locked, whether its camera movement or subject movement.

I myself have the 85mm f1.2L and its very very difficult to have perfect focus at f1.2 unless the camera is on a tripod and the subject is staying still. Plus the closer you are to your subject, the harder it is to get perfect focus.

If you're shooting moving subjects, either use AI Servo mode OR make sure to snap the picture as soon as focus has locked in one-shot mode (I never used the 50L so I'm not sure how its AF performs in AI Servo, others might be able to get more into that).


Also what Red90 has said a few posts up is very very true and important.



Aug 08, 2012 at 12:46 AM
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