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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 16 Jun 2014 (Monday) 12:15
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Framing while paying attention to focus points?

 
moxphoto
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Jun 16, 2014 12:15 |  #1

Hi guys,

So I have a 5d mark 3, before that I was always using cameras on auto mode so I've been learning a lot and using manual and manually selecting focus points (on the eyes) etc. One issue I've been having is that, lets say i'm taking a full body portrait, I put a focus point on the eye, its usually the uppermost focus point in that situation. Problem is, sometimes theres too much space in the photo above the persons head, but i'm already at the top of the focus points so the only way to frame the photo better is to focus with one of the top focus points on the eye and then recompose the shot lower. However, I try not to do this as I feel the focus wont be quite as accurate. But if I don't do that, a lot of my shots have too much space above the person / the composition is off..

Should I just focus and recompose in that situation? What do you guys do? I find that i'm focused on the focus points more then composing the shot exactly the way I want to.. whereas when I used to shoot full auto all my energy was on simple composition.. know what I mean?




  
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mike_d
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Jun 16, 2014 12:46 |  #2

Focus and recompose alters the focal plane. If the depth of field is narrow enough, you can lose focus on the intended point. You can always shoot a little wide and crop in the computer. The 5DIII has plenty of megapixels to tolerate some cropping.




  
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CyberDyneSystems
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Jun 16, 2014 13:09 |  #3

I always try to use the best AF point to get the framing I want.
If that's not enough, I will often recompose. It's not the best method, but sometimes it's the best compromise for the framing.

That said, as in mike's point above, if it's a lot of shooting in portrait orientation, I will often consider that I will be cropping off the bottom of the whole batch.

I do wish that the AF points were spread out further, but I understand that as they do, they become less effective.


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moxphoto
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Jun 16, 2014 14:37 |  #4

Hmm.. yes I'm aware of how recomposing can alter the focus/DOF which is why I have this dilemma sometimes. Maybe there isn't a perfect solution (like a lot of things).. I guess the only option is either, use the closet focus point and then recompose OR focus right where you want and then crop in post. Sort of annoying to have to crop all your photos in post though, I'd really like to get the image I want in camera as much as possible.. and im having this issue with the 5D which has more focus points then any other camera (right?) so what did people do for years when most camera's had way less focus points.. I guess they were all focusing and recomposing? Maybe its not such a bad method if it worked for so long.. maybe having so many focus points changes the way we compose an image.. like I said I feel like im paying more attention to moving the focus points around and choosing the right one and making it focus on what I want - instead of framing the shot exactly how I want to. Ugh.




  
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nathancarter
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Jun 16, 2014 15:58 |  #5

You can go into Live View, zoom in to 10x, and manually focus. Move the zoom box around to wherever you want, including the very edges of the frame.
Works really well if the camera is on a tripod and the subject is not moving. I use this technique for products, buildings, etc.
Doesn't work as well for a living subject unless they're really, really good at holding still.
Also doesn't work very well for handheld shots.


For portraits, I just focus & recompose. For very slight recomposition such as what you're describing, the shift in the focal plane is insignificant if you're shooting with a reasonable DOF for portraits.


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ekfaysal
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Jun 16, 2014 16:05 |  #6

i'm always focusing and recomposing. i have heard the center one is the stronger focus point of all. is that right?


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moodlover
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Jun 16, 2014 16:06 |  #7

Simple...shrink your aperture to account for dof shift.




  
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Nonnit
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Jun 16, 2014 16:17 as a reply to  @ nathancarter's post |  #8

You have it pretty good!

With my 5DM2 I have to focus/recompose from the center point, my keeper rate goes way down if I use the outer points, I have even tried to micro adjust to some specific outer point but it is simply not consistent.

I find it helpful to shoot from tripod when doing focus/recompose with shallow DOF, super accurate live view when my subject is not moving much works great from tripod.

And then there is cropping.


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mike_d
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Jun 16, 2014 16:19 |  #9

ekfaysal wrote in post #16975529 (external link)
i'm always focusing and recomposing. i have heard the center one is the stronger focus point of all. is that right?

Depends on the camera. The 5D/5DII had one cross-type AF point in the center and was the only AF point worth a damn. The 5DIII has 41(?) cross-type AF points that all work equally well. There's a column down the middle that's dual cross-type and even more sensitive if you have an f/2.8 or faster lens.




  
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moxphoto
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Jun 16, 2014 16:54 |  #10

Hmm ok - so it sounds like there isn't a magical solution to this. Before there were cameras with all these focus points, im guessing everyone was focusing/recomposing there shots right? Were all of those slightly off focus then?

The solution of increasing the DOF to account for the shift in focal plane is good... however, it seems to me like even if the eyes are still within the total DOF.. directly where you put the focus point is always the sharpest.. like the point of absolute focus or something? (does that exist?)




  
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svarley
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Jun 16, 2014 17:23 |  #11

moxphoto wrote in post #16975632 (external link)
Hmm ok - so it sounds like there isn't a magical solution to this. Before there were cameras with all these focus points, im guessing everyone was focusing/recomposing there shots right? Were all of those slightly off focus then?

The solution of increasing the DOF to account for the shift in focal plane is good... however, it seems to me like even if the eyes are still within the total DOF.. directly where you put the focus point is always the sharpest.. like the point of absolute focus or something? (does that exist?)

Nobody was pixel peeping back in the film days, so slight focus errors were less noticeable unless you started printing large.




  
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Jun 16, 2014 18:24 |  #12

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #16975131 (external link)
I always try to use the best AF point to get the framing I want.
If that's not enough, I will often recompose. It's not the best method, but sometimes it's the best compromise for the framing.

That said, as in mike's point above, if it's a lot of shooting in portrait orientation, I will often consider that I will be cropping off the bottom of the whole batch.

I do wish that the AF points were spread out further, but I understand that as they do, they become less effective.

just have to remember that cameras are designed by engineers not photographers.

otherwise the AF points will be in the right place.


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Jun 16, 2014 18:29 |  #13

To me, it's a "judgement call" -- I do use the outer points, and then it's a decision as to whether I'll have the DOF to focus/recompose or not.

However, one thing to consider is:

Our Canon DSLRs all have a set "aspect ratio" of 2:3, meaning that a shot will "perfectly fit" say a 4x6 print, or, say, an 8x12, 12x18, 20x30, and so on.

However, that aspect ratio is by no means the perfect "one size fits all" aspect ratio. In fact, look at the range of film aspect ratios that have been used over time, they are all over the place!

And, if you go beyond our Canon DSLRs into the broader range of digicams, you will see a series of sensor aspect ratios in use. I believe the most common one has been the 4:3 ratio, it's been widely used by compact and P&S digicams and now used by the popular "4:3" makes of cameras.

I've made prints using our "original" 2:3 aspect ratio, but I've also done a whole lot of printing using the 4:3 aspect ratio, not just from the smaller cameras I've used, but there are plenty of shots from my DSLR that I've cropped to that aspect ratio because I feel it best suits the subject/composition...​and then, believe it or not, there are shots that I crop to the 4:5 aspect ratio -- you know, like the old standard 8x10 shots, common in the film days with 4:5 cameras!

So, sometimes when shooting, if you frame the composition and there is "space" at the top, that isn't bad if your shot is being properly composed, you may actually be taking a shot that is best as a 4:3 print or even an 8x10! Of course, if you do want the wider/taller framing, then yeah, you have to do whatever you need to do to "nail" your focus. Like I said, I do focus on an outer point and, if needed, do a bit of a recompose, but not too much because like was said I don't want to mess up my DOF!


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moxphoto
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Jun 16, 2014 19:34 |  #14

svarley wrote in post #16975689 (external link)
Nobody was pixel peeping back in the film days, so slight focus errors were less noticeable unless you started printing large.

Yea.. but who pixel peeps besides photographers looking at their own work? Right? Most people just view an image online etc and its really as important that at 100% its tack sharp.. right? maybe this is a case of technology making things more complicated over time?

I guess I will play around with it a bit more, but to me composition is so important, I'd like to be able to get it right in camera AND have what I want to be sharp be so. I wonder if life was simpler when there was only 1 focus point?




  
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Dan ­ Marchant
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Jun 16, 2014 19:47 |  #15

Shoot to get the focus and composition you want then crop in post to get the composition/framing. 5D3 images have plenty of pixels to spare.


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Framing while paying attention to focus points?
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