AF question.

Lightsped

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I often go out to eat with friends or family. Usually seems like there are six or seven of us. When I give the waiter/waitress my camera to do a quick photo of us at the table, it rarely comes out well.

I think the main problem is that I am unsure of which AF mode and which AF points to use. I usually jack the ISO way up so as to minimize camera shake for the waiter/waitress.

Bodies are D3100, D7000, and D800.
Thanks
 

SquarePeg

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In the very rare instances where I hand my dslr off to someone else to take a shot I want to be in I do 2 things. #1, warn them that it's heavy and #2, switch it to auto.
 

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.. it rarely comes out well.
A couple of issues here:

The waiter is not a photographer.
You have not set the camera to "foolproof".

Make sure the shutter speed is fast enough that even someone stabbing at the shutter release can avoid camera shake blur.

Set the focus area to where people's faces ought to be.

Do a pre-test yourself to find out if the ISO will be high enough, the aperture is correct (not simply the widest it will go) and check the histogram on your test shot.

Try to get the waiter to relax and take his/her time (not rushing it). Watch the movements very carefully to determine if the waiter jabs at the shutter with elbows out or if he/she holds the camera steady.
 

astroNikon

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[QUOTE="Lightsped, post: 3675643, member: 152659"I usually jack the ISO way up so as to minimize camera shake for the waiter/waitress.[/QUOTE]
okay, but what is the camera doing ?
Are you getting a small aperture like f/11 and a slow shutter speed even though you use a higher ISO ??
what is the camera doing wrong?

maybe set the Aperture AND Shutter and let AUTO ISO balance it out.
and probably set AF to AUTO.
maybe add the on camera TTL flash.
 

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I usually put it into the all sensors mode. But then I have to tell them it is using back button focus. So the best option I have found is to spend a second to get up, set exposure and focus and then hold the camera while they put on the strap (because five other people will hand the waiter their cell phones) and it usually works out fine, and leave some room to crop. But really don't think I have handed my camera over more than half a dozen times in ten years, in the end it is not my photo.
 

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Put it in auto mode, center focus point, pop the flash up and tell them to slowly press the shutter until the flash fires. Plan (B) bring a professional photographer to dinner with you.
 
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Thanks for the replies?

Should it be only a single focus point (center)? Reason I ask is that rarely is someone in the middle of the photo. Usually the middle of the photo is either the table we are sitting at, or a background wall. Main problem is getting the camera to "see" and focus on each face.
 

robbins.photo

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Thanks for the replies?

Should it be only a single focus point (center)? Reason I ask is that rarely is someone in the middle of the photo. Usually the middle of the photo is either the table we are sitting at, or a background wall. Main problem is getting the camera to "see" and focus on each face.

I wouldn't use single focus point for it, I would instead let the camera's AF system select and stop down the lens for better DOF.
 

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One problem with auto mode Center point is AFAIK the camera picks what ever focus point closet to what what ever focus point or it could possibly focus on the Ketchup bottle,but i could be wrong since the last time I used auto was umm never. You need group focus for this.:biggrin-93:
 
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SquarePeg

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One problem with auto mode Center point is AFAIK the camera picks what ever focus point closet to what what ever focus point or it could possibly focus on the Ketchup bottle,but i could be wrong since the last time I used auto was umm never. You need group focus for this.:biggrin-93:

You'd be very surprised what Auto mode can do, especially for what sounds like a snapshot of friends at the dinner table. OP - your cell phone camera would probably be adequate in this situation. I think my friends and family would be a bit put off if I whipped out my dslr with off camera flash and tripod (hyperbole) to get a shot of us at a casual dinner.
 

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Put it in auto mode, center focus point, pop the flash up and tell them to slowly press the shutter until the flash fires. Plan (B) bring a professional photographer to dinner with you.
I just had a friend ask me to teach her how to use her old Canon Rebel camera (sitting in a closet for years) for her to use this Friday at a homecoming. Yikes .. AUTO with flash came to mind, maybe Tv with Flash due to the low lighting situation. But then I don't know how that old of camera will perform versus, oh, her cell phone related to the skill level.
 

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