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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 13 Jan 2014 (Monday) 08:31
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Hitting Focus in Low Light

 
Snydremark
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Jan 13, 2014 20:35 |  #16

Take it off spot focus when you're not shooting through things like branches and such. If you set it to spot, when you're that close and get in on the eye, spot focus may not have enough contrast to grab focus and will continue to hunt a bit.

Turn off IS (OS, in this case, I think)

Make sure you're outside of the MFD of the lens; lenses like that, even in "macro" mode do not focus as close as a true macro lens would and it appears you could be right on the verge.

If you must touch the camera without using a release, be certain to use a 2-s timer at minimum. Depending on how resistant your tripod is to vibration, you may need to go to the 10s timer to give the unit time to balance out.
You can check this for yourself by going into Live View, go to 10x magnification and then do a half-press of the shutter to focus while on the tripod. Then, watch the LV screen when you let go of the camera and see how long it shakes after you let go.


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Jan 14, 2014 15:33 |  #17

ejenner wrote in post #16602940 (external link)
Holly c**p, I only just decided to actually read that. IME a load of marketing BS, but I guess it is on Canon's website so it must be true :rolleyes:

They even go as far as to essentially say the IS on the 24-105 does not need to be turned off. Man, how many times have I bracketed 3 shots on a tripod only to find out they are not exactly aligned becasue the IS moved between shots - a lot more than I care to remember. Even the new 100L messed up a focus stack (or 5) becasue I accidentally left the IS on.


Well, like anything else I read on the Internet, it falls into one or more categories:

1 - True
2 - Someone's opinion (possible an expert - possibly not)
3 - Marketing Hype - put there to convince you to buy something - has some facts interspersed with rumour and speculation to have you believe it.
4 - Sales pitch - put there to promote something they haven't built yet - to see if anyone will buy it. Has some facts interspersed with rumour and speculation to have you swallow it.
5 - Absolute BS

Caveat Lector


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chimpsinties
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Jan 15, 2014 07:19 |  #18

Just try both and see which yields the best results.


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kfreels
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Jan 20, 2014 20:06 |  #19

If this was already asked, I missed it and I'm sorry. Is there any additional glass between you and the subject that could be causing problems? Are they behind glass? Do you have a filter on?


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Orias
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Jan 21, 2014 13:20 as a reply to  @ kfreels's post |  #20

Hey there!

In some cases there is additional glass, yes. In others it's a nice clear line of sight. I don't have any filters, no ... should I? Haven't really used filters before for any reason, so I haven't spent much time researching their uses :D

Thanks again .. waiting on a new shutter remote in the post so I can try again right now!
You can see some of the "better" shots that actually worked HERE (external link), but the vast majority didn't work!

Cheers, Ori


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kfreels
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Jan 22, 2014 09:55 |  #21

Orias wrote in post #16624360 (external link)
Hey there!

In some cases there is additional glass, yes. In others it's a nice clear line of sight. I don't have any filters, no ... should I? Haven't really used filters before for any reason, so I haven't spent much time researching their uses :D

Thanks again .. waiting on a new shutter remote in the post so I can try again right now!
You can see some of the "better" shots that actually worked HERE (external link), but the vast majority didn't work!

Cheers, Ori

Some people get sold a cheap "protective filter" for their lens which just adds a crappy piece of glass between your subject and your precision optics. This can degrade your image quality. Also, shooting through glass aquariums and such can really soften images as well. Sometimes when shooting through glass, a circular polarizer can help to kill unwanted reflections but again, don't get a cheap one.
I think you may be running into a variety of different problems, any of which can cause a shot to not be sharp. So in one shot you may have a clear shot, but the light is low so you end up with a slow shutter speed that causes a motion blur problem. Then you might move to something where the light is better, but it is behind a quarter inch sheet of plexiglass. Then you might get to a third subject and have a clear shot and a tripod, but then you still have to worry about subject blur if your shutter speed is low.
It can be tricky. If you had faster glass it would certainly help with the subject and motion blur. If you have a lens at f5.6 and you could shoot at f2.8 instead, it would the the same exposure as going from 1/15 second to 1/60 at the same ISO.
and make sure when you use your tripod that you turn the IS off. I think that was mentioned before but it may have been in another thread I was reading so I figured I would mention it just in case.
Oh, one more thing....is a small speedlight on a cable to move the flash off to the side a possibility? I was looking at your shots and that overhead florescent lighting just stinks. Those shots would be so much more dramatic if you could change the direction of the main lighting.


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Jan 22, 2014 10:31 |  #22

Orias wrote in post #16601650 (external link)
... However, my remote shutter release was broken (which I didn't realise until I got there), so some of these focus issues may well be the result of me pushing the button.

Sometimes, if you shoot a burst, one of the images will be sharper than the others.
And I'd use AI Servo to focus.


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Jan 22, 2014 10:41 as a reply to  @ kfreels's post |  #23

Thanks very much for the advice again. I'll certainly try and put some of these theories into practice and see what happens.

You are right, the overhead lighting really sucks, but unfortunately it's a public place and there are various notices around about not using flashes. I might be able to get away with using one on a very quiet day, but the last thing I want is to bother/upset the animals. And I'm guessing that for the ones that are behind glass it's just going make things worse!

I think the option of a faster lens at this time of year might be a little bit of a financial struggle. Let's see what the bonus is like at work this year :). The Sigma 70-300mm DG Macro that I use for the majority of these shots doesn't have IS, but I'll make sure it's off if I use the Canon 17-55mm for any shots.

Burst mode is also a good shout, I might give that a go too! Thanks!

Cheers, Ori


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Jan 23, 2014 10:24 |  #24

Orias wrote in post #16626994 (external link)
Thanks very much for the advice again. I'll certainly try and put some of these theories into practice and see what happens.

You are right, the overhead lighting really sucks, but unfortunately it's a public place and there are various notices around about not using flashes. I might be able to get away with using one on a very quiet day, but the last thing I want is to bother/upset the animals. And I'm guessing that for the ones that are behind glass it's just going make things worse!

Maybe this? http://www.adorama.com​/FPVL112.html (external link) It's continuous, adjustable, and battery powered. It won't put out as much light as a flash, but maybe enough.


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Jan 31, 2014 09:43 |  #25

I'm heading back to the zoo on Wednesday next week, and I have a nice new remote shutter release to avoid any "wobbles". I'll put as many of these ideas into practice as I can ... so let's see how it goes! Thanks for the light suggestion kfreels, I'm going to scout it out and see if I can get away with a flash/lights it when it's not so busy.

My theory is that a Wednesday afternoon in February is the best time to go with the kids at school and everyone else at work! I had a bunch of holiday carried over from last year that I need to take, so this seems like a logical way to use some :p

Thanks again for the feedback, fingers crossed!
Cheers, Ori


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Jan 31, 2014 11:53 |  #26

Would you be able to get around the no-flash rule by disabling the flash, but enabling focus assist? If anyone says anything, just say that it's attached, but turned off. Most people won't even notice the red lights... and animals generally don't react to them.


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Jan 31, 2014 12:00 |  #27

I'm willing to be wrong, but here are three things to think about.

1. If you're shooting through glass, you need to use manual focus
see: http://www.lensrentals​.com …how-autofocus-often-works (external link)

2. If you're shooting through glass, you cannot expect the result to be sharp/good, because there is a layer between you and the subject. That said, if you're going to do it, get a polarizing filter
see: http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com …-photos-through-a-window/ (external link)

3. Finally, when I use autofocus, I set up center-point only and, on a body which supports it, I do use the 'assist' points
see: http://www.learn.usa.c​anon.com …ate_EOS_AF_Quic​kGuide.pdf (external link)

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Jan 31, 2014 14:02 |  #28

Nathan wrote in post #16652847 (external link)
If anyone says anything, just say that it's attached, but turned off.

If they do say something, it's going to be in Spanish. So I will play the "foreigner" card who doesn't understand :D

And thanks for the suggestions S.Horton, I'll have a read through that lot now!

Cheers!


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Jan 31, 2014 15:38 |  #29

;}

Have fun!


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Orias
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Jan 31, 2014 15:58 as a reply to  @ S.Horton's post |  #30

Well, the first article about auto-focus made my face hurt .. that's going to require a bit more time to fully read and digest!

The other two were really good and easy to understand. I do actually have a polarizing filter on the way, but unfortunately I don't think it will arrive before my zoo trip on Weds. The Canon article about auto-focus is really good though, I'm going to go now and test some of the micro-adjustment settings in case those are required on my Sigma lens. I am not actually sure how many of these settings my lowly 500D supports even!

Thanks again!
Cheers, Ori


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Hitting Focus in Low Light
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