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Archive 2012 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice
  
 
LPortugalPhoto
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p.1 #1 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


Ok ya'll, this is actually my first post here. Anyway, I have a question about aperture. I understand how aperture works but in a practical sense I am having trouble. I have done maternity shoots, newborn shoots, engagements, and basically just general portraiture. I typically don't have any issue when I am using my single point focus point on my Mark III and around a 2.0 aperture.

However, sometimes my pictures come out "soft", and I don't really know it is happening until I get them back and into LR. Some are super tack sharp (like you can see the eyelashes) and some are soft.

I went to a book signing and I took my camera and just wanted the person to be able to "point and shoot" basically (since I was handing my camera off to someone). I set the focus point on auto (that way it would hopefully just focus on what was closest or in the center). It was a dimly lit room so my ISO was at 1250 (as I didn't have my flash with me), shutter 1/80, and aperture at 4.0. The girl taking the shot took two shots and they both looked like this (this is about a 1:1 ratio crop). See how the person in the back, is blurry and the person in the front is not that sharp.

I typically don't shoot pics at a high iso (since usually I shoot in natural light) but I was unsure what happened here. Was it camera shake, is my lens is having issues, is my aperture was too wide? It seems like f/4 is perfect for two people (especially since our faces were pretty close to being on the same plane). You also would think ONE of us would have been in focus. Anyway, maybe someone can help me out here? I end up with this same issue on some of my portraits too.

Thanks ya'll!








Nov 16, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Steady Hand
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p.1 #2 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


Hi,

Quick Suggestion: Post the entire photo. Do this after you indicate where the focus point was (it can be seen using some software). Also when you post it, make the image 800px maximum for easy viewing.

Edited on Nov 16, 2012 at 02:47 AM · View previous versions



Nov 16, 2012 at 02:46 AM
nissanboy
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p.1 #3 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


camera shake



Nov 16, 2012 at 02:47 AM
LPortugalPhoto
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p.1 #4 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


Here is the original image, and this one resized to see it easier





Cropped







Original Photo




Nov 16, 2012 at 02:56 AM
LPortugalPhoto
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p.1 #5 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


I don't know what to do with regards to camera shake though since the shutter was at 1/80 which should be able to be "hand held". Any suggestions? I have had this same issue taking at faster shutter speeds as well.


Nov 16, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Steady Hand
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p.1 #6 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


You should mention what lens you used.


Nov 16, 2012 at 03:13 AM
LPortugalPhoto
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p.1 #7 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


Sorry.. I used a 50mm 1.2 L (Canon)


Nov 16, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Steady Hand
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p.1 #8 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


LPortugalPhoto wrote:
Sorry.. I used a 50mm 1.2 L (Canon)


OH....that's why...you should have used a higher quality lens.

Seriously, take a look using your software to determine WHERE the focus points focused. This will usually show as a red dot(s) on the image and can help you see what the camera was picking as a point of focus.

And....low light conditions are notorious for making it difficult to "achieve focus."



Nov 16, 2012 at 03:24 AM
goosemang
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p.1 #9 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


looks like both DoF and a bit of camera shake

if the person taking the photo is 6 feet away at f/4 DoF is only 12", so that could account for the shift in blurriness between the ladies

I think the girl in front isn't that sharp because of slight camera shake. 1/80 hand held is easy to flub



Nov 16, 2012 at 03:26 AM
LPortugalPhoto
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p.1 #10 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


I don't think I actually have the software that will show where the focal point is. Lightroom doesn't have that capability (as far as I know).

If I was taking the photo, I would have actually chosen the focus point, BUT, I was handing my camera to a "picture taker" standing there. So, I wanted to make it as easy on her as possible (since she was probably scared enough to be holding something other than an iphone.. haha...at least that was the look on her face )

So camera shake, possibly focus point, and DoF...sounds reasonable. True about the low lighting...that was probably part of it. I think for future reference I probably should up my aperture to around an f/8 just to be certain all is in focus. I just didn't want to up my ISO too much (I didn't want that much noise). However, I just did some test shots in dim lighting (about 5 mins ago) with my ISO at 2000 and it didn't make much of a difference on the mark iii... so that is good to know!

Thanks so much ya'll!!! I really appreciate it.



Nov 16, 2012 at 03:35 AM
 



goosemang
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p.1 #11 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


with the mark iii in this kind of light I would have no hesitation to shoot at 6400. don't be afraid, it's pretty amazing!

actually i regularly shoot mine up to 12,800. I think quality at 12,800 is very good for a lot of types of shooting. 25,600 is pushing it, but can give good results with a bit of post work, especially in b&w



Nov 16, 2012 at 03:38 AM
goosemang
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p.1 #12 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


I mean it's a balancing act right? you go to f/8 and your shutter speed tanks to 1/20! ratchet up the ISO, get back to 1/80, but now you still have potential camera shake, especially if you're handing the camera off to a random friend. so can you -EV a stop and get to 1/160? not recommended if its gonna under expose and your ISO is already cranked to 6400 or something. what's left? you can have your friend back up and deepen the DoF a bit, shoot at 5.6 or something. but then your crop is off. so you end up having to buy a 35L for $1200.


Nov 16, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Jim Rickards
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p.1 #13 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


When handing my camera to someone, I tell them it is set on "center point autofocus" and please put the red dot on my eye (or someone else's eye).




Nov 16, 2012 at 06:50 AM
no_surrender
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p.1 #14 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


Not sure if this will help, but I recently changed one of the custom functions on my 5D2 to disable the AF feature from the shutter button. I now focus solely with the AE lock button. Since I've done this, I've noticed an improvement with getting sharp images. Still experimenting though...

Kevin



Nov 16, 2012 at 09:14 AM
CosmicCruiser
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p.1 #15 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


no_surrender, I've got a 5d2 as well and curious why you say this improves focus sharpness? Thanks, Robert



Nov 16, 2012 at 09:53 AM
Ian Boys
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p.1 #16 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


f4 is nowhere near deep enough to get those 2 planes in focus. Try an online depth of field calculator and you'll see. It's about 14cm in this shot and the rear head is further than the 9cm rear extension of the DoF.


Nov 16, 2012 at 10:09 AM
Mpking
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p.1 #17 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


One more thing to minimize blurriness from camera shake if you are using lowish shutter speeds - put the drive mode in continuous and tell them to fire off 4-5 clicks then you can pick the sharpest one when you get home.


Nov 16, 2012 at 10:32 AM
LPortugalPhoto
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p.1 #18 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


Wow... thank you all. I typically utilize wide-open apertures, so narrow apertures is kind of new for me. Thank you so much. In the future, I will open it to around an f/8 or so. I will also push the iso up. Jim, I was nervous about the "centerpoint" focus, because she would have centered it on my eyes, and I have always heard that it is better to put the focus on the person's eyes closest to the camera. I wanted them to be sharper than me (which they are.. thank goodness!) because well... the whole point was to get a picture WITH them. I have enough sharp pics of myself. haha! Thanks again ya'll, this really provided me with some great insights!


Nov 16, 2012 at 02:02 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #19 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


Here's an example where a P&S would have been a better camera choice. A P&S with face recognition would have done a better job at focusing. You would have ended up with a better photo.


Nov 16, 2012 at 03:07 PM
andypep
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p.1 #20 · Aperture issues with portraits-need advice


One of the issues that you may be having the ability to micro-adjust the focus of the lens. The lenses are not perfect, but I have found with my gear, that using the micoadjustment feature of the camera and lens together will yield much better results. I am not sure if this feature is available on the 1D3.

I can tell you that I shoot both the 7D and the 5D3, and on the 7D, my 50 1.2L needs a +7 micro adjustment, but on the 5D3, it is only at +2. Different lenses interact with different bodies (even the same model bodies) in different ways.



Nov 16, 2012 at 06:28 PM
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