Help!! Focus???

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Denise, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. Denise

    Denise TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Utah
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I recently purchased a Nikon D200 for portrait photography and continually experience problems and difficulty with focusing on both single and groups of people. I mainly photograph children and families.

    Everytime I think that I have the focus problem corrected, I leave a sitting, view my photos and still have many that are still out of focus. I have shot in AF up until last night, I tried manual and last night was the worst! My session was with two beautiful little girls ages 2 and 4 and their mom. I shot about 175 photos and at least 60 of them were not completely in focus. Especially the ones of all three girls. I tried using the manual focus last night and apparently my eye is not sharp enough or I had the setting set wrong.

    So, long story short, has anyone found the best focus settings for the D200 or other cameras. Especially for large group shots where all members of the family are in focus. I know that there will always be a few pictures out of focus but 60 is somewhat ridiculous!

    I appreciate any input that anyone has. I am shooting a large family on Saturday and need to know what to do.

    Thank you so much!
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,822
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Welcome to the forum.

    Can you show us some examples, preferably accompanied by the EXIF information? Have you tried different lenses?

    Before we blame the camera or lens, we should rule out things like camera shake, DOF issues etc.

    It is certainly possible for the camera to be misaligned and in need of adjustment...but as I said, lets rule out the simple things first.
     
  3. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    5,327
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    The Upper West Side of Mississippi (you have no i
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Also, if you would, tell us which camera settings you are using in the menus and on the back of the camera too. Does this happen with every lens you use as well?

    mike
     
  4. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    14,491
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    Europe 67.51°N
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I guess the D200 has several focussing sensors?

    If so, do you let the camera decide which one you use and just trigger the shutter? Or do you chose a spot in the scene you want to be in focus ... aim at it, focus on it, then compose and trigger the shutter?
    With the latter approach you should always have in focus what you focused on. If you then need more depth, use a smaller aperture.
     
  5. gizmo2071

    gizmo2071 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Messages:
    861
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Toronto, ONT
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Are you using any filters?
    Like an older Polarizer or something? I know you can get wierd results with some polarizers.
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    203
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    For my D200 when I photograph people running amok I set the focus to group dymaic. In this mode all sensors are examined and the camera guesses the subject, gets it right about 90% of the time too which is impressive.

    Other than that I use a single point, single shot, autofocus normally the middle one and recompose. If I am doing macro work I light up my subject to one of the sensors, select that sensor and flip it to continuous autofocus since it's hard to keep something in focus if a 1mm movement will drop it ou.

    Here's an easy way to test the camera. Go outside find something contrasty like trees brightly lit by the sun. Use a medium angle lens setting and get reasonably close, so like a 50mm from 1 or 2 metres away. Set the camera to aperture priority and set the aperture 1 stop from fully open. So if the largest is f4 set it to f5.6 if it's f3.5 set it to f5 etc. Compose the image so you can see the subject and distant background ojbects, set the camera to single shot autofocus, half depress the shutter and wait for the beep (oh and focus on the tree). Before you take the photo make sure it is sharp in the view finder, if the focus is wrong then half depress the shutter again, and snap the picture.

    You are outside on a bright day with the aperture wide open. The shutter speed will rule out camera shake, not shooting wide open rules out lens issues even on some cheaper lenses, and the beep rules out the camera not having done autofocus. If the correct part of the image wasn't in focus you should get the camera checked.

    One theory if you shoot continuous drive is that the camera won't wait for focus. As in you can depress the shutter while it is still focusing. This is why for everything except macro i nearly always shoot in single shot, it rules out focus issues caused by trigger happyness.
     
  7. Denise

    Denise TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Utah
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    You are all so Helpful, especially Garbz! Thank you.

    I had my setting set on the group dynamic with manual focus. Two of my subjects in the group shots were in focus and one was not. But a lot of the pictures just seemed like they were not as sharp as others that I have taken. My eyes may not be good enough to use the manual focus. I may have to stick with AF.

    Also, I had a two year old that did not want her picture taken so I didn't have a whole lot of time to set up each shot. In between trying to make her laugh, blowing bubbles, bribing with candy and so on... But, I did manage to get her smiling and her personality in several shots.

    I am at my office right now, but tonight when I go home I am going to practice with your ideas. If I am still experiencing difficulty, I will post some examples and how I had my settings set.

    I know that you all know how frustrating this type of thing is or any setting problem for that matter. I am the worst critic on my work and such a perfectionist that I am not happy unless when I look at my picture I say WOW! If I just think okay that one is good, that is not good enough for me. I know, others who see the pictures may say WOW but I am so hard on myself to be perfect! I guess that is why I am in the business.

    Anyway, Thanks again! I will practice tonight so that hopefully I can have this problem fixed before my session on Saturday with a large family.

    Denise
     
  8. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    5,327
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    The Upper West Side of Mississippi (you have no i
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Ummm, one thing, if you have the camera in manual focus, it really doesn't matter which auto focus mode you are in. :)

    Go through the manual Several times and consider which setting would go with which circumstance. Sort of like previsualizing.

    mike
     
  9. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,822
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I think we still need to see some samples with info to figure out what's going on here. Mike is right, if you are manually focusing...then the images should be in focus...unless, of course, the focus screen is out of whack.

    It still might be any one of a number of things...camera shake, too shallow of a DOF, too slow of a shutter speed etc.
     
  10. Denise

    Denise TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Utah
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Okay, I will post some Examles.

    But, I am new here and am completely clueless as to how you post Images on this site. Can I pull them from my desktop or do I have to post them with a URL?

    I'm sorry, I am a little bit stuck in the dark with Internet Forums. I am a Newbee and I am sire that by now you can probably guess what color of hair I have. LOL :lol:

    Thanks,
    Denise
     
  11. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,822
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Click Here

    That should help you with all you need to know.
     
  12. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    14,491
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    Europe 67.51°N
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    well, best you have them on some server and trhen post them here via the URL of the respective image. (you can use the include image icon over the text box you type in)
     

Share This Page