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how do you focus at receptions?
  
 
heikoM
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · how do you focus at receptions?


Man, I start to loose my mind. As some of you may recall, I had my issues with gear in the last couple of months.


Yesterday I shot a looong wedding, 16 hours. Nice reception, nice ambient light, had set up 2 flashes in the corner which I turned on and off as i needed them and one I moved around.s So far so good.

Light-level was about ISO 800, 1.8 at about 1/60 sec, not too bad I think.


I had a really hard time to get my images in focus at 1.4/1.8. No matter what. Even used AF assist light with not much luck. Especially when I was up n a balcony, shooting down I could not get the couple in focus. Neither with D700 or D600, neither with the Nikon 28/1.8 nor with the Nikon 50/1.5.

I activated live view on the D600 and used the contrast focus. That helped but is that the way it has to be? (I then thought, well, if I use contrast focus anyway I can use my Sonys, I had in the car - but that is a mother story, see other treat).


What are you guys doing? Are all of you rocking D4? Is Canon better?


heiko









Jun 29, 2014 at 07:01 PM
BigIronCruiser
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · how do you focus at receptions?


Seems like the lighting was adequate based on your numbers. Were you ever seeing the steady green focus light? Is it possible that you couldn't hold the camera steady? I use AF-C back-button with release priority on my D4 and D800 with very few problems in light levels that are much lower than what you described.


Jun 29, 2014 at 07:35 PM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · how do you focus at receptions?


It's difficult to try and answer this really, but you need to be able to use your equipment - fundamental.

It sounds like you need to practice using it much more before you take it into a wedding day. You need to know it inside out, exactly how it'll react, and how to solve any situations.

As for your specific situation, ISO 800 & f1.8 @ 1/60th sounds pretty damn good to me for ambient! That's barely even "dark" . If you're looking for D600 advice specifically, try adding that to the thread title, I'm sure it'll help a lot.

Had you not used this setup at receptions before? Or has it been dropped recently and become faulty?

Point your focus at an area of contrast - beyond that I'm not sure what to suggest for you... hopefully D600 users can point you in the right direction.



Jun 29, 2014 at 07:37 PM
TRReichman
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · how do you focus at receptions?


Maybe stop down a little bit? With NIkon I'm shooting everything in af-c and things are turning out great.

- trr



Jun 29, 2014 at 07:55 PM
Nathan Padgett
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · how do you focus at receptions?


Certain focus points work better than others. Try the 11 point setting instead of the 51. That will limit it to the cross type points that work best. Those are also the ones that will allow AF assist to work if your using it.

Certain lenses work better than others too. The Nikon zooms seem better to me than the primes for focusing in low light.



Jun 29, 2014 at 08:04 PM
flash
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · how do you focus at receptions?


Manual focus 90% of the time. Not really practical on a DSLR, of course, but I don't use DSLRs any more, as you know. I spent years fighting the AF on my Canons. A huge weight was lifted when I realised I could just manually focus and that it would be mostly faster than AF anyway.

Throw in a bit of zone focusing for the wides and I'm good to go.

Gordon



Jun 29, 2014 at 09:06 PM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · how do you focus at receptions?


flash wrote:
Manual focus 90% of the time. Not really practical on a DSLR, of course, but I don't use DSLRs any more, as you know. I spent years fighting the AF on my Canons. A huge weight was lifted when I realised I could just manually focus and that it would be mostly faster than AF anyway.

Throw in a bit of zone focusing for the wides and I'm good to go.

Gordon


I'm not comparing it to a RF but it can be quite okay with a dslr. My a900 has just about the biggest and brightest OVF you'll get, and I often use MF. Many of my first dance / evening photos are shot this way.

I also agree with Todd re: stopping down, especially when you have so much light.



Jun 29, 2014 at 09:18 PM
gx24
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · how do you focus at receptions?


I started using again the d700/tt1 ( instead of d800 ) this time with the 58G with 3 x sb-900 on/off in corners, iso depending on ambient lighting almost 100% at f1.4.

I get around 40% acceptable keepers ( including dancing stuff )
Without the focus assist lamp of the d700, always af-single, all 11 focus points selected and used.



Jun 29, 2014 at 09:21 PM
heikoM
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · how do you focus at receptions?


Thanks for your input guys.

@Todd, stopping down may help, thanks, but do not like it.

@Ricardo, I hear you, but sorry, I donīt follow. I think I know my gear, even if it does nor sound so in this question. I am dealing with Nikon right now about the focus issues of my D600s. Even Todd upgraded to 4 D4 because D600 AF was not up to his demands...

I use center-focuspoint only, AF back button, tried Single and Continuos AF. Itīs not a question of holding steady, as my LV images are in focus.

thanks everybody,


heiko

Edited on Jun 30, 2014 at 04:33 AM · View previous versions



Jun 29, 2014 at 10:13 PM
BigIronCruiser
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · how do you focus at receptions?


Are you 100% sure that the shutter button is disabled for focus?


Jun 30, 2014 at 12:28 AM
 

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TRReichman
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · how do you focus at receptions?


Everything has to be wide open huh?

- trr



Jun 30, 2014 at 12:39 AM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · how do you focus at receptions?


Would be curious to see some of your reception work at f4 Todd

I'm always struggling with having either beautiful soft lighting or consistent light and focusing. Seems I can't have both. Not sure I prefer the d4 over d3S btw, seems basically the same I may sell mine.



Jun 30, 2014 at 12:57 AM
TRReichman
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · how do you focus at receptions?


TTLKurtis wrote:
Would be curious to see some of your reception work at f4 Todd

I'm always struggling with having either beautiful soft lighting or consistent light and focusing. Seems I can't have both. Not sure I prefer the d4 over d3S btw, seems basically the same I may sell mine.


Everything on our site is shot at f4. Since moving to d4 bodies and af-c for everything our focusing has been very consistent. Also moving from 24-70 to 24-120 seems to have helped.

- trr



Jun 30, 2014 at 01:05 AM
jamesmorophoto
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · how do you focus at receptions?


use AF-assist via an on camera speedlite. or shoot AF-a and use the AF assist lamp. try using the 9 group AF-c points and planning your compositions a little more.


Jun 30, 2014 at 03:23 AM
myam203
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · how do you focus at receptions?


TTLKurtis wrote:
I'm always struggling with having either beautiful soft lighting or consistent light and focusing. Seems I can't have both.


Can you clarify this? Why do you have to make this tradeoff?



Jun 30, 2014 at 04:29 AM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · how do you focus at receptions?


myam203 wrote:
Can you clarify this? Why do you have to make this tradeoff?


Because when you stop down unless you're using very high ISOs ( maybe I should be) then you end up having the exposure made up more of flash than existing light. You could have lower shutter speeds too but below 1/60 (really 1/125) you see more movement than I really want to see with flash making it look weird. Motion is fine all natural but add flash and motion looks bad for reception



Jun 30, 2014 at 05:03 AM
myam203
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · how do you focus at receptions?


I see. I usually don't see much motion in my shots in that range, but I mostly bounce instead of using OCF, so maybe it blends in a bit better and that's the difference.


Jun 30, 2014 at 05:27 AM
Mark_L
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · how do you focus at receptions?


TRReichman wrote:
Everything on our site is shot at f4. Since moving to d4 bodies and af-c for everything our focusing has been very consistent. Also moving from 24-70 to 24-120 seems to have helped.

- trr


I try and shoot it all at f4 if I can too, at the very least 2.8. Phase detect af systems in low light just are not accurate enough to go wider; I'd rather shoot at iso 3200 or even 6400 than have out of focus pictures.



Jun 30, 2014 at 09:30 AM
NCBY
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · how do you focus at receptions?


Reconsider your AF settings.
With that much available light, the D700 should be capable of nailing the focus most of the time.
The newer models may focus a little better, but the difference isn't huge.



Jun 30, 2014 at 09:59 AM
BKphotography
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · how do you focus at receptions?


It feels like every other week you are on these boards complaining about the downfalls of your current gear.

You, like me are lusting for a smaller form factor with all the performance of a bigger pro body.

You're not going to get this with a mirrorless camera... not yet anyways.

I just bought a XT1 for personal use, I can't imagine using it for paid work.

You really need to compromise if you wish to stay small or man up and buy a larger camera with great AF, files and handling.

That's my harsh reality of this situation.

Cheers
BK




Jun 30, 2014 at 10:28 AM
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