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Archive 2012 · Advice please: How to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or 1.4)?
  
 
xopher
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Advice please: How to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or 1.4)?


I recently made the switch to canon (yay!) and decided to pick up some addictive L lenses to go with the 5d3 body.

At the moment, my collection comprises of both 35L, 50L and possibly a 85L in the near future! Before making the switch, i did most of my shooting around f2.8 with my consumer primes and zooms. I never had the problem of getting something in focus because of the depth of field was so narrow.

After shooting about a month, i knew for a fact both of these lens were tack sharp IF i nailed the focus. How do you guys who only shoot wide open achieve this? I really want to shoot these magnificent lenses wide open to make the most out of them but with my current skill level, the number of successful shots im getting per shoot just isn't working. Ive had so many great shots ruined just because the focus was slightly off... especially when im trying to nail the eyes. Because i know its not the gear's fault (hallelujah 5d3 AF!), its probably my horrible technique. I have checked my lenses for front and back focusing problems and they seem fine, but im still going to a buddy of mine to check them over with reikan focal.

This past weekend i tried experimenting with a few different techniques and styles.

Ive tried:

- Shooting at a higher shutter speed
- Shooting on AI Servo (this has drastically increased my success rate)
- Changing the AF spot type ( single point vs Cross)

Any suggestions?



Oct 09, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Velu01
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Advice please: How to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or 1.4)?


Dof is very very narrow when shooting wide open.
Often you have only a few mm !! Especially with the 85mm at f1.2.
So you or your model should stand still as in STILL !
Just concentrate when shooting, re-composing is too be avoided as much as possible, stand as steady as possible ... and practice, practice, practice ...

Rgds
Velu



Oct 09, 2012 at 09:45 PM
xopher
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Advice please: How to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or 1.4)?


*sniff sniff* i was hoping theres a special button.

I also do quite a bit of target shooting so staying steady is what i do best. I was surprised to see these out of focus shots... gotta work on that shutter finger



Oct 09, 2012 at 09:49 PM
John_T
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Advice please: How to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or 1.4)?


Yes, fast primes have a learning curve and it takes practice and experience. I would suggest you ignore composition and concentrate on placing the center point where you want focus, and when you manage to hit that consistently, start shifting to an AF point where you want it in the composition. One thing at a time or you will just be chasing rainbows.


Oct 09, 2012 at 10:34 PM
RazorTM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Advice please: How to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or 1.4)?


With the 5D3, AI servo and spot focus point on the eye tends to work much better than with past cameras. Give it a try again, you might be pleasantly surprised.


Oct 09, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Advice please: How to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or 1.4)?


Still, for anything really important, that can't be repeated, shoot multiples of each position/set-up to insure you get sharp images. MA is pretty important too -- make sure it is a zeroed as possible -- focus can shift with distance and f-stop of some lenses, and the 50L is one of those. So, you might zero MA for one distance/f-stop combination, only to find it doesn't work at a different combination. Pick your poison. Only practice can tell you what is what so you can hedge your bets. Or shoot with LV and tripod when possible to get exactly the image you want.


Oct 09, 2012 at 10:57 PM
bbasiaga
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Advice please: How to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or 1.4)?


Using a tripod also helps. I shoot too, and as you know even the disruption from your breathing makes a noticeable shift in alignment...applies to cameras too. Breath control is important in the games of mm.

-Brian



Oct 09, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Advice please: How to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or 1.4)?


Also try focus bracketing (i.e., shooting changing the focussing just a bit each way on your shots). It often dramatically increases the chances of getting one of the shots in focus.


Oct 10, 2012 at 01:40 AM
 

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Red 90
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Advice please: How to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or 1.4)?


Just like everyone says, the narrow DOF is difficult to nail down. Just a few tips on doing this

1. Increase your frame rate a bit, don't always go buy the 1/focal length. The OOF can be from your movements as well as the subjects movements.

2. Don't recompose. Since you have the mark III, just pick the focus point that is at your subjects eyes.

3. Experiment on the handling of the camera. Be mindful of how you hold the camera to stabilize it if your not using a tripod. I keep my elbows tucked closer to my chest and make sure my feet are in a good stable position. Also practice on your breathing when you shoot as well, it will make a difference at such a shallow DOF. Just practice on a still object and experiment on your technique till you get consistent sharp images.

4. Also make sure all your lenses have been calibrated so you aren't back or front focusing

5. If you really want to be certain your focus is dead on and you have the time and ability... you can always try live view and zoom in on the eye to shoot it. Then your guaranteed to be in focus. Functionally this typically doesn't work, but just a suggestion.



Oct 10, 2012 at 01:46 AM
rodmcwha
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Advice please: How to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or 1.4)?


You went with Canon in the hope of accurate focus!!!!
(Sorry, couldn't help myself)



Oct 10, 2012 at 01:49 AM
artsupreme
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Advice please: How to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or 1.4)?


Practice and you will find the sweet spot that is a certain distance from the MFD....if you are shooting very near MFD it's much more difficult. Start by trying to back up a bit from your subject and then crop slightly. Then, move in closer from there and you'll learn the camera/lens sweet spot.


Oct 10, 2012 at 03:01 AM
goosemang
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Advice please: How to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or 1.4)?


xopher wrote:
*sniff sniff* i was hoping theres a special button.

I also do quite a bit of target shooting so staying steady is what i do best. I was surprised to see these out of focus shots... gotta work on that shutter finger


yes, but in this case your target is moving and your bullet only exists at a single point/plane in space.



Oct 10, 2012 at 03:19 AM
goosemang
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Advice please: How to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or 1.4)?


but good advice in this thread. it takes a while to realize just how thin DoF is at 1.2, etc. sometimes servo helps, other times not. assign your DoF preview button to toggle to servo and you can quickly change as needed. and set your drive to multiple exposures and fire off a few frames. there's a certain element of luck if you're dealing with moving subjects at these apertures, even if your technique is right on. I also agree - use a single cross type point and focus on the eye (or whatever). anything that allows multiple points to be chosen from is a bad idea.


Oct 10, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Access
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Advice please: How to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or 1.4)?


Spot focus on the eye. Avoid focus and recompose, ai servo, etc. like the plague.

Choose the point of focus well -- even eyebrows, etc. can throw it off.

In many cases I have been able to get perfect focus with zone focus on the face, but I can't speak for that with those lenses as I don't have them. The closest thing I have is the 135 f/2 and I haven't used that on the 5d3 yet. For that I used an aftermarket focus screen (5d2) and I haven't found one of those for the 5d3, not yet at least.

People talk about bracketing focus, what I do is focus once (back button focus) and then move my head back and forward slightly. There might be other ways to do this, for instance can you link different microadjustments to the C1, C2, C3 modes and then cycle through those while shooting? Not sure, never tried that.

Hopefully the ML hack for the 5d3 will support focus peaking as well as an auto-bracket mode when it comes out.



Oct 10, 2012 at 03:59 AM
mttran
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Advice please: How to shoot wide open (at f1.2 or 1.4)?


Your choice of AF setting then resting your elbow on something that does not move: tree branch, tripod, someone shoulder, table, wall, couch, your knee, etc...


Oct 10, 2012 at 06:52 AM





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