Getting sharper focus on the face?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by SquarePeg, Oct 29, 2017.

  1. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Use single point and the toggle to move the AF point. It is quick, accurate and painless. For a portrait and you gots the time, use the face/eye detection it is amazingly useful and it works amazingly well.


     
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  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    ISO 5000 on most modern cameras shouldn't be a struggle to get a clear shot from. Yes it won't be as sharp as at a lower ISO but its perfectly useable and at the size show on on a forum shouldn't even be that evident.

    1/500sec more than fast enough for a candid shot like this

    f4.5 - not a huge depth of field but should be more than enough for a face


    Your error is here
    "The AF was set to All instead of single point in one of the menu settings"

    When set to all the focus of the camera looks for the nearest point in which it can detect a contrast change. So even if the main point was aimed on the eyes the rest of the sensors are also in play and thus picked up the hair and focused on that instead. If you want to define an AF point to work with you really have to tell the camera exactly which one to use - sometimes cropping wide on the shot so that the middle (oft the one easier to use) AF point is on the point you want in focus and then you can crop to more easily compose the shot in editing.

    Note remember that AF focuses the plane of focus on an area of contrast change, so if you recompose the shot the AF will either remain where it was (and thus you'll move the focus off the subject) or the AF will re-engage and refocus on the new area its pointed at.


    Face and eye detection might well have kicked in and picked up the face and over-rode the AF default and some face/eye is getting scary good at picking out faces. For casual shooting that might be better to use if you don't want to use single AF point selection.
     
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  3. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Not necessarily true. I couldn't find confirmation on the method used in live view, but I suspect it uses contrast detection. Contrast Detection measures the edge contrast within a sensor field through the lens. The intensity difference between adjacent pixels on the sensor increases with correct focus.

    However on the view finder on the Xt2 it's a different story for sure "When set to the default 91-point mode there are 49 phase-detect AF points in the centre of the array. This is a significant improvement from the nine phase-detect AF points that featured in the X-T1" https://www.fixationuk.com/close-up-fuji-x-t2-af-system/

    Phase detection has been around on some other models for awhile now, the major advantage being it's ability to AF in low light better than the Contrast Detection method. For a more detailed explanation of how Phase Detection works How Phase Detection Autofocus Works
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    With respect to the OP, pretty simple. DoF in this case was 4-5". The shirt is in sharp focus, the face is further away, ergo....
     
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  5. Tomasko

    Tomasko No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sure, but OP claims she had AF point on subject's eye and mirrorless usually don't tend to front/back focus for obvious reasons...
     
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  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The jersey looks sharp, but it is all low-frequency detail, with crisp, clearly delineated edges on the decals/letters/numerals. I can see the eyelashes are rendered individually, but they are not well-defined, so there was good focus at the eye distance, but not much definition of the detail, so my feeling is that mostly, the ISO 5,000 is what hurt this shot the most. The shirt looks sharp because it relies on color-contrast, not fine details, but the skin and hair and eyes lack finely-rendered high-frequency details, so those things appear a bit soft.

    Eye detection has become astoundingly good...there's a computer and software underlying and supporting the focusing system in modern cameras; switching various camera operating system features to OFF is at times, counter-productive, and slows us down. There's a rather pervasive on-line photo forum bias against using all of the technology modern cameras offer, with the underlying premise being that a human can perform complex,precise,critical functions faster and better than a dedicated computer can. Sometimes it makes sense to go it by hand-and-eye, while at other times, the computer, the software, and the hardware can out-perform the human.
     
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  7. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Many thanks to all for your thoughts on this. Really appreciate you guys taking the time to add details and suggestions for improvement. I’m thinking it’s a combination of that one setting being off and too high ISO and maybe poor technique on my part. Always something new to work on or relearn.

    Since Princess is grounded today she’ll be around for me to try again. :) It’s raining so will need to improvise some lighting. I don’t even have off camera flash for the Fuji yet but I may try some kind of window and ambient light combination.
     
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  8. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The settings to me sounded off so yeah, the exposure might be off, although it can be more challenging if you're losing light to get a proper exposure.

    I wouldn't necessarily go with a large-ish aperture to blur backgrounds; even when people do that, whatever is in the background is still there (just ends up being a blurry blob of color or shape). Of course with the lens more open you'd get more light coming into the camera, but then it's going to be harder to get all of her in focus with more shallow depth.

    You might do better with manual settings. Supposedly in low light we can actually see better than a camera is able to focus. I think a camera in trying to adjust for one setting or mode can end up getting off track with exposure. You might get better results controlling and adjusting the settings yourself.

    It sounds like you'd benefit from getting out and practicing with your camera to be able to get a slower shutter speed, even 1/250 is pretty fast. You probably want to get so you can hand hold at 1/125 at least. I developed a stance over time that I don't know if I could describe, but I have to brace myself even more if I'm losing light and trying to go lower than 1/80. I basically have my shoulders back a little and shift my weight over my hips, with heels slightly outward and toes slightly inward. Make yourself into a human tripod!
     
  9. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The only auto setting I was using was auto ISO. Sounds like a funky stance, I’ll see if I can find something that works for me with the Xt2. What worked for the Nikon is not working for me any longer.
     
  10. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It seems I'm always in the wrong setting somehow. Either I forget the AF, or WB, or something else before I take the shot. I usually remember long after the opportunity has passed. :(
     
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  11. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    BTW: I think you'll find that you can make a nice portrait with window light. Use a tripod, and ask your model to see how long she can hold still. 1/30 of a second should be easy.
     
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  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I have no issue with AUTO ISO in Manual exposure mode being used, but 1/500 second seems awfully fast, and almost guaranteed to "run up" the ISO level quite high. My main issue is not the sharpness of this portrait, but rather the somewhat magenta-tinged skin tones, and the rather dark shadow tones in the hair.
     
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