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Archive 2012 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.
  
 
twistedlim
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p.2 #1 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


I have no issues with the 5d3 as a first camera. It is the most forgiving camera I have shot. The 50L gives a lot of folks fits but once you get used to it you will love it. A more forgiving lens might be the 35L. Try as I might (and often do) I rarely take a out of focus shot with that lens. But you have the 50 so practice with it. Read the tips of others and practice some more. There is a learning curve and as long as you stay with it your results will improve and you can explore ways to really get the shots you want. Too many people approach me and say what wonderful photos I have taken..."you must have a nice camera". Yes it is a nice camera but I have put in a large amount of time to be just an average photographer compared to the folks who hang around here. Remember every photo will not be perfectly in focus and tack sharp. Take into consideration how big you want to print or post on line and you will see that you can forgive yourself a bit. Taking really sharp photos is just a small part of having nice photo. You have come to the right place, you have the right equipment, just hang in there and don't give up.


Aug 08, 2012 at 12:50 AM
splathrop
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p.2 #2 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


Here's a quick fix that ought to work while you refine technique. If you are indoors, make sure your ISO is at least 1600. Then adjust your aperture while pointing the camera at your subject. Keep increasing the f/stop number until the indicated shutter speed gets down to 1/100th (Based on the 50mm lens, with other lenses make the denominator twice the focal length; if you can't get a shutter speed denominator at least equal to the focal length, then you may have too little light for a sharp picture—which means increase the ISO). Doing it that way will assure near-maximal depth of field, and give you more in-focus pictures. If you want out-of-focus backgrounds while doing that, get closer to your subject, or get your subject farther from the background, or both.

Outdoors, start with ISO 400 or ISO 800 and do the same thing.

That's a near-all-purpose recipe for consistent results with minimal technique. As you learn more, you can vary the formula for optimal results, but what I have described should be very good.

Note too that you have to hold the camera still. You probably wouldn't confuse motion blur from subject motion with out-of-focus results, but if you move the camera while you release the shutter it can be harder to tell. To help with that, practice letting your finger increase pressure on the shutter button until you can anticipate fairly accurately exactly when the shutter will release. Doing it gradually like that can steady the camera. For that reason it can be helpful to plan two shots in quick succession. The first shot establishes the release point for your finger, and the second shot will probably result in less finger motion and less camera motion.

Have fun, and once that's working reliably for you, ask again and I'll give you advice for optimizing your focus using different techniques.



Aug 08, 2012 at 01:54 AM
suey11
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p.2 #3 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


Thanks again to everyone.
All the advice is much appreciated.
About my option of 'kit' as I previously posted the lenses I acquired from a friend, 9 i think in total all L except 1, including some other camera gear, tripod, flash etc etc so I looked at the value of the lenses and thought I'd get the best camera I could afford to do them justice.
I'll admit I've had fun using them just as I said disheartened with the quality of the RAW images.



Aug 08, 2012 at 05:48 AM
jay tieger
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p.2 #4 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


suey11 wrote:
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.


Haven't read all the advice...but...." I love shooting the larger apertures to get depth of field" is wrong....and may be one source of the problem when comparing the results of this camera to your old point and shoot....

SMALL apertures (F8, F11) give you MORE depth of field...Large apertures (F1.4, F2) give you less....when shooting from the same spot....with the same lens on the same camera

Other than that you give little to no hint as to the exposure information (EXIF) for us to provide any advice SPECIFICALLY aimed at YOU and YOUR photos
.... e.g. is your shutter speed to slow...you say the weather is lousy, meaning that the light may be dim...leading to slow shutter speeds, which may lead to subject motion showing up, AND worse, may lead to camera shake, blurring the entire photo (as opposed to out of focus or missed focus in the image)...

Which leads to whether you are holding the camera correctly...biggest mistake people make is believing that they need to GRIP the GRIP...nothing could be worse for good image quality than that...NEVER GRIP the Grip...cradle the camera's dead weight in your palm up left hand, using the right hand to MOST GENTLY level the camera and squeeze the shutter with the fleshy part of your finger...

It is GOOD that you are using single shot mode...this allows you to PRE-squeeze the shutter to just before the tripping point, so the least amount of additional pressure is needed to trip the shutter...

If you can post a photo (full frame and 100% crop, a 1200pixel wide crop of the frame when viewed at 100% in your photo software) with the EXIF we can better give you advice...and....

Keep on shooting and practicing...especially your breathing...(NEVER hold you breath while shooting)....good luck...and good shooting...



Aug 08, 2012 at 08:20 AM
melcat
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p.2 #5 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


First of all, I suggest you forget about shooting raw for the moment. And, if that's one of the new iPads, with the brightness tweaked down just a little it is likely to be a more correct representation of the image than a typical PC/Mac. If it's one of the old ones, it won't be.

Now, lens choice. Dan is right about the 50mm L, except he fails to mention it was probably the best 50mm lens ever made for this sensor/film size until the recent $8000 Leica jobbie. I have this lens. It is, without question, excellent. But it is a cut-throat razor of a lens: there are settings which you simply shouldn't use, that Canon don't bother mentioning because they think only advanced photographers would want such a lens. You don't have the skills to know those settings, so I'll give you some safe rules of thumb:

1. Do not use it wider than f/2.5, ever. (That is, with smaller f-numbers, such as 1.2.)

2. Do not use it wider than f/4 if shooting closer than about 5 feet.

Do you still think it's suitable for a birthday party?

If your collection of lenses includes the 24-105mm f/4 IS, *that* should be your go-to lens. Otherwise, you do have the 24-70mm f/2.8, and that should be. Dan is quite right: the 50mm L is not a lens for beginners. I would add to what he said that the 50mm fixed-focal-length lens ceased to be a suitable choice somewhere around 1983 when modern 35-70 zooms became available, due to advances in numerical methods.

It seems you also have a 70-200mm, possibly a recent f/2.8; the f/4 IS is also excellent. That should be your second lens.

A third lens for many amateurs is a fixed-focal-length lens around 85mm or 100mm for taking posed portraits. This is more suitable than the 50mm because the distance from the camera to subject is more natural looking. We've all seen the bignose phone photos taken from across a café table - too close.

I certainly don't agree with sentiment here that a 5D Mk III and a bag of L lenses is unsuitable for a beginner. Most of the L lenses are very, very good and that can only make things easier for a beginner. So will the big bright viewfinder on that camera. And the external flash is so much better than a pop-up, encouraging appropriate use of flash.



Aug 08, 2012 at 10:27 AM
the888account
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p.2 #6 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


Def need to see a fewsample images


Aug 08, 2012 at 03:12 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



langdoy
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p.2 #7 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


What's a 'newbie' doing with a Mark 3 and 50L? That's some really great gear if you are just starting out with dSLRs. My take would be to use something other than the 50L, especially if you are trying to shoot wide open. Just don't understand how you need focusing help if you have a Mark III and a 50L.

The camera is suitable for a beginner but not the lens. A newbie will have the same learning curve with any other SLR, like a t3i.

Man, I went from a 20D to 40D to 7D to Mark 2 to Mark 3. It should be WAY easier to focus with the Mark 3 than a 20D.



Aug 08, 2012 at 03:31 PM
WiredMike
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p.2 #8 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


langdoy wrote:
What's a 'newbie' doing with a Mark 3 and 50L? That's some really great gear if you are just starting out with dSLRs. My take would be to use something other than the 50L, especially if you are trying to shoot wide open. Just don't understand how you need focusing help if you have a Mark III and a 50L.

The camera is suitable for a beginner but not the lens. A newbie will have the same learning curve with any other SLR, like a t3i.

Man, I went from a 20D to 40D to 7D to Mark 2 to
...Show more
Not trying to be a jerk, but he explains how he acquired his lenses above and hence the reason in the 5D3 purchase.



Aug 08, 2012 at 04:14 PM
suey11
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p.2 #9 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


Thanks to everyone again for the advice.
As I posted earlier I hope to get some sample images up this weekend, that is if I'm not too busy practising.
Especially if the weather picks up like it looks like doing but like a lot of others frustrating being at work, let's hope it stays dry for the weekend.



Aug 08, 2012 at 04:35 PM
langdoy
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p.2 #10 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


WiredMike wrote:
Not trying to be a jerk, but he explains how he acquired his lenses above and hence the reason in the 5D3 purchase.


I know, I wasn't trying to be a jerk, hope I didn't come off as one. I was saying that the 5D3 is a perfectly fine camera for even a newbie but was also trying to emphasize that focusing is that much easier with the 5D3 so even a newbie shouldn't have any issues. Hence I was suggesting the 50L wide open as the possible problem. I'm sure if shooting with the 24-105, it would be a much diff story. This topic should actually be titled 'help focuses with 50L' because I've heard many focus issues with that lens.



Aug 08, 2012 at 08:06 PM
jim allison
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p.2 #11 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


I mean no disrespect, but you have too much camera for a beginner. You have to lean to walk before you can run. If you don't have a good simple image editor yet you also need it. You could also benefit from taking some online courses like Linda.com or Kelby training. Most important
is to use your camera and take a lot of pictures! The more you use the camera the more you will learn, but don't leave it on program. Try different functions of your camera and keep trying them until they become second nature to you. Above all else have fun!



Aug 09, 2012 at 04:37 AM
philber
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p.2 #12 · Newbie focusing help before I get too disheartened.


Suey, the analogy of learning to drive with a Ferrari is one that applies here IMHO. This is why. The 5D III is a fine camera, and you can use it in auto mode, so it does not have to be more complex than a P&S. But, because of its high resolution, looking at 100% crops shows up more imperfections than if you'd started with something a bit less rich in pixels. It is not the picture which is less perfect, but the display is less forgiving.
Secondly, 50L. That is another story. That lens can be a remarkable portrait lens, BUT it suffers from focus shift, which means that, when you are at typical apertures and distance for portrait work, your camera may sometimes miss focus because of this. Then, if you use it wide open in order to not have to use flash, there is no focus shift, but the depth of field (depth of your image which is in focus) will be about one eyelash. The rest of the face with be gently than more and more out of focus. That is not so easy to master to get the right effect. And because the 5D III and 50L can do it, they will.... which would not happen with a kit zoom, where the max aperture is f:3.5, thus the minimum depth-of-field is much more, and you get fewer shots with obviously mis-placed focus...
As to which books to read, I've been really helped by Scott Kelby's "digital photography" series. No mumbo-jumbo, he just tells you what to do, and it works. But there are others that are fine too. Kelby books
But, most importantly, have fun!



Aug 09, 2012 at 05:26 AM
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