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Question about focus and AF points

thestrangebrew1

Platinum Member
Dec 7, 2011
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Took some pics for a friend's daughter's senior pictures. They know I'm not a pro or anywhere even close to 1, but we're really close friends and I told them I'd do my best. Anyways, took the below shot and to me, the subject's face looks a little fuzzy. Whereas the post right next to her appears to have so much more detail. In this particular setting, it seems most of the pictures are this way. I have a canon 80d with I believe 45 AF points, and I used it to focus on her face, but they still appear blurry to me. I was using an 85mm, setting were ISO 400 (Auto) f/5 1/1000. Pretty sure I was in the "Shade" or "Cloudy" settings for WB. Is it just me or is the face fuzzy? In selecting my AF point, I selected the 1 little point out of 45 and took the shot focusing right around her nose. Should I have selected a larger grouping of AF points like 9/45. Sorry hope I'm using the right terminology.

Cierra Post.jpg
 

IronWing

No Lifer
Jul 20, 2001
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Your focus is fine. If you look at her hair, you can see that the hair in front of her eye and face is in focus as is the hair farther back around her neck. I think the kid is wearing so much makeup that definition is lost in her face. If my intended focus spot lacks definition, I will make the focus spot bigger to give the camera a fighting chance. In this case though, I think you nailed focus.

Not sure what is going on with her fingernails. Were they really different colors or did they have a white schiller?
 
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thestrangebrew1

Platinum Member
Dec 7, 2011
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Your focus is fine. If you look at her hair, you can see that the hair in front of her eye and face is in focus as is the hair farther back around her neck. I think the kid is wearing so much makeup that definition is lost in her face. If my intended focus spot lacks definition, I will make the focus spot bigger to give the camera a fighting chance. In this case though, I think you nailed focus.

Not sure what is going on with her fingernails. Were they really different colors or did they have a white schiller?

Thanks for taking a look and responding. I'm not sure about her nails. I meant to ask her about it but then I forgot.
 

CuriousMike

Platinum Member
Feb 22, 2001
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Your focus looks _fine_, but something is amiss.
f/5 gives you some latitude to miss focus - on her nose should have been enough.
1/1000 wasn't the issue.
The only possibility I can think of is you may have been in ( I'm using Nikon parlance ) AF-S -- i.e., once you half-press the shutter button, focus is locked. And if you or her move slightly, the focus will not readjust.
If you haven't shot with AF-C ( continuous auto focus ), you should try it. It tells the camera to continuously adjust focus. So, if you happen to move slightly (or she does), and as long as you keep the focus on her nose, the correct focus will be had.

Truthfully, I use AF-C ... well, continuously. For everything. ( OK, not for astro.)
 

thestrangebrew1

Platinum Member
Dec 7, 2011
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Thanks Mike. I took a look at the AF equivalent for canon and apparently the setting is AI Servo which is how I normally shoot. I'm thinking maybe I moved a bit or she moved a bit during the shot. Thanks also for the hair comment. I'll go back and remove it in LR and see how it turns out.
 
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gradoman

Senior member
Mar 19, 2007
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In selecting my AF point, I selected the 1 little point out of 45 and took the shot focusing right around her nose.
My advice for a DSLR is to center the camera on the subject (specifically her eyes), hit the focus and then recompose, or move the camera to fit the composition you want. Review on the camera's LCD to see if it got focus.

My other idea is something like DMF where you can override the autofocus and check, but this will slow you down a lot and it depends on a ton of caveats -- camera support, if the person can pose and freeze and whether or not you're physically able to ensure focus. I kind of liked shooting this way on the Nikon D5300 since it wouldn't always get critical focus, but it would be close.

Settings-wise, seems good to me. Some will want a more shallow depth-of-field, others like more details. I like it the way you captured the scene.

The soft, warm light, the smile and scene more than make up for the soft focus. My only little critique is to dial down the highlights a touch so her dress isn't too glow-y.
 
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Syborg1211

Diamond Member
Jul 29, 2000
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Remember the center of the lens is always going to be more sharp than the rest of the image. She looks plenty sharp but maybe a slight overexposure of the skin combined with not being in the center is making you think she's out of focus.
 
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