I'm trying to take photos of large and complicated prints, and am having trouble seeing whether or not I am totally infocus on the D80. I have a 60mm fixed lens which I focus as well as I can through the lens, then check the image. I try to pick out some particular items to focus on, but they are so small, and the print so far away because its very large, that I just can't tell.
Is there a trick to focusing with a fixed lens?
#1. "RE: Sharpness " | In response to Reply # 0
Omaha Registered since 07th Jan 2012Mon 06-Feb-12 11:14 PM
If you have an assistant, you can have them hold something on the print that is nice and contrasty until you get your focus lock, then have them pull it away for the shot.
(Or you could do it solo with a wireless remote)
#5. "RE: Sharpness " | In response to Reply # 1
IdahoBaird Registered since 25th Jan 2012Tue 07-Feb-12 08:48 PM
Coincidentally, I was watching Joe McNalley (Hell, I think it was Joe; maybe David Hobby, who cares?) in the SB 900 training video where he just set a strobe stand in the frame and focused on its mount then pullled it out.
Might not work for 2-D objects, flat against a wall though.
Maybe a sticky note with a bulls eye, or something, on it would work.
#2. "RE: Sharpness " | In response to Reply # 0
The short answer is, you've got two choices for focusing, AF or manual focus.
The best way to assure everything is in focus when photographing a large flat object is by having the front of the lens absolutely parallel, both vertically and horizontally with the target.
The ideal way to accomplish this a sturdy tripod is necessary, then if possible measure the height of the center of the target then adjust the tripod so the camera/lens center is exactly the same height.
The whole setup should be centered exactly on a horizontal axis also, Then using an accurate bubble level on the tripod head, level the head on both axis also.
Shoot at the aperture your lens offers the sharpest images (usually in the f8/11 range) and keep the ISO as low as possible. Usually native ISO which on the D80 i believe is 100, and use a remote shutter release such as the hardwired Nikon MC-DC1 to avoid potential camera motion when actuating the shutter.
In the real world all the above may not be possible, as you may be shooting where tripods may not be allowed, nor going to the extremes mentioned above would be feasible.
If you can, shoot from a monopod or steady rest, supporting the camera with a bean bag if possible, try to get as square with the object in question as possible, lowest ISO, fastest shutter speed possible in combination with the sharpest aperture for your lens.
Unfortunately the D80 doesn't offer live view as some of the later more advanced nikons do, which would be beneficial as you could lock the shutter open, view your focus point on the lcd screen while zoomed in some to assure the best focus possible.
When no one is looking, Pigs can walk on they're hind legs
#3. "RE: Sharpness " | In response to Reply # 0
If you are shooting wide open or close to it, why not stop down some so as to obtain some depth of field? That will provide you with a greater margin for error. Many lenses are sharper stopped down some anyway. Peter
#4. "RE: Sharpness " | In response to Reply # 3
michaelhager Registered since 15th Feb 2007Tue 07-Feb-12 01:54 PM
Can't say for the D80 but the D70s and my D300 have a focus indicator light in the viewfinder, bottom left. When you have achieved perfect focus it illuminates and tells you the camera senses focus.
All of that stuff above about level, centering, etc. is very important to shooting large flat surfaces with minimum distortion. Using a focusing target can help a lot. Also lots of illumination will enhance the auto focusing mechanics and firmware to do their job better.
C. Michael Hager
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