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Subject: "Focus at distance" Previous topic | Next topic
Kemo53 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Apr 2014Fri 27-Jun-14 11:48 AM
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"Focus at distance"


Tampa, US
          

I am constantly in search of pin point accuracy at distance and have spent an embarrassing amount of hours reviewing photos that absolutely nail it. My question is simple; how ?
If a bird/sportsman/animal etc is 200 or 300 yards away and I am correctly focusing on the head, with appropriate settings and lighting, I can often barely see the eyes... let alone focus on them. In other words, the subject is focused correctly but at a distance that makes it (for me anyway) impossible to tell precisely where the focus is. After crop, or experimenting in PP, I often find the focus was on the hair or neck or wherever. The photo is good... but not great.
I typically use a Sigma 18-250 and like it, but the question is more general in nature. Am I doing something wrong or just nit-picky ? Thanks

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Focus at distance
aolander Silver Member
27th Jun 2014
1
Reply message RE: Focus at distance
Kemo53 Silver Member
27th Jun 2014
2
Reply message RE: Focus at distance
JosephK Silver Member
27th Jun 2014
3
     Reply message RE: Focus at distance
Kemo53 Silver Member
27th Jun 2014
4
          Reply message RE: Focus at distance
Asgard Administrator
27th Jun 2014
5
          Reply message RE: Focus at distance
JosephK Silver Member
27th Jun 2014
6
               Reply message RE: Focus at distance
OldCodger
28th Jun 2014
7
                    Reply message RE: Focus at distance
JosephK Silver Member
29th Jun 2014
9
Reply message RE: Focus at distance
gpoole Platinum Member
28th Jun 2014
8
     Reply message RE: Focus at distance
Kemo53 Silver Member
30th Jun 2014
10

aolander Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Sep 2006Fri 27-Jun-14 12:53 PM
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#1. "RE: Focus at distance"
In response to Reply # 0
Fri 27-Jun-14 12:56 PM by aolander

Nevis, US
          

I think you're shooting at distances that are much too far away and with a lens that is too short to be able to get "pin point" focusing accuracy on your subject's eye. The focus sensors are larger than the subjects head in most cases at those distances. At those distances, depth of field will cover your subject. A 250mm lens set to f/4 gives a depth of field of almost 300 ft if your subject is 200 yards (600ft) away.

I don't even know how you could tell the difference when pixel peeping.

Alan

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Kemo53 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Apr 2014Fri 27-Jun-14 04:40 PM
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#2. "RE: Focus at distance"
In response to Reply # 1


Tampa, US
          

Thank you Alan. I just looked at a D7100 series of shots at ridiculous distances and the guy just nailed it. (Even he was surprised) It just drives me nuts. Thanks again for the reply

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JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 17th Apr 2006Fri 27-Jun-14 07:09 PM
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#3. "RE: Focus at distance"
In response to Reply # 2


Seattle, WA, US
          

Can you share a link with us? It would be nice to see what you are seeing.

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Joseph K
Seattle, WA, USA

D700, D200, D70S, 24-70mm f/2.8, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II, TC20e3,
50mm f/1.4 D, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

  

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Kemo53 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Apr 2014Fri 27-Jun-14 07:52 PM
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#4. "RE: Focus at distance"
In response to Reply # 3


Tampa, US
          

Thanks for replying
I don't know how to link from within Nikonians, sorry. The 7100 series of shots I referred to is Nikonians GET TO KNOW YOUR CAMERA AND MASTER IT; D7100, D7000 Forum (Public) with a topic of "D7100 AF continues to amaze"

I know the 7100 is a better camera than the 5100 but I am pretty convinced that I would be unable to produce shots as clean as his... even after PP. Thanks again

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Asgard Administrator He is your Chief Guardian Angel at the Helpdesk and knows a lot about a lot Nikonian since 07th Apr 2004Fri 27-Jun-14 08:14 PM
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#5. "RE: Focus at distance"
In response to Reply # 4


East Frisia, DE
          

Here is the link:

http://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=329&topic_id=34333&mesg_id=34333&page=

Gerold - Nikonian in East Frisia
Eala Freya Fresena

  

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JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 17th Apr 2006Fri 27-Jun-14 08:21 PM
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#6. "RE: Focus at distance"
In response to Reply # 4


Seattle, WA, US
          

JBloom's puffin sequence:
http://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=329&topic_id=34333&mesg_id=34333&page=

In this case the camera is tracking the whole bird as the focus target. Given that the bird is much smaller than the focus points in the camera, the AF system is being pushed to its limits. The dark bird against the white clouds is certainly helping the AF system. If the puffin dropped into the dark green background, the AF results could be quite less good.

Plus the DOF at that range is so big that focus on the eye vs body would be meaningless.

While the Multi-CAM 3500DX AF system of the D7100 is the top of the line for DX cameras, the Multi-CAM 1000 AF system of the D5100 is the system used in my D200 which is no slouch. The extra megapixels of the D7100 could be helping.


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Joseph K
Seattle, WA, USA

D700, D200, D70S, 24-70mm f/2.8, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II, TC20e3,
50mm f/1.4 D, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

  

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OldCodger Registered since 15th Oct 2011Sat 28-Jun-14 03:51 PM
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#7. "RE: Focus at distance"
In response to Reply # 6


Sawbridgeworth Hertfordshire, GB
          

That is what concerned me. Close up there is a depth of field of fractions of an inch or mm. At 100 yards, this is not the case, even with a giraffe both the neck and eye are likely to be reasonably focused, at least focussed to the same degree.
Are you certain it is a focus and not a movement issue. Parts of all living things do not all move in the same plane and in the same direction. Commercial photographers may discard thousand of images in favour of the one, (post processed) result they need.
[It still makes me sick that some people can walk up collect a single shot image far better than anything I can obtain.)

  

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JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 17th Apr 2006Sun 29-Jun-14 12:35 AM
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#9. "RE: Focus at distance"
In response to Reply # 7


Seattle, WA, US
          

Motion blur is certainly something that wildlife and bird photographers need to deal with, both from camera movement and from subject movement. Tripods and VR help with camera movement. Higher Shutter speeds will freeze the subject motion. Up the ISO as needed.

Excellent note about pros discarding large numbers of shots to keep the single good one. This is a hard lesson that many beginners have problems with.

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Joseph K
Seattle, WA, USA

D700, D200, D70S, 24-70mm f/2.8, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II, TC20e3,
50mm f/1.4 D, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

  

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gpoole Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 14th Feb 2004Sat 28-Jun-14 04:42 PM
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#8. "RE: Focus at distance"
In response to Reply # 1


Farmington Hills, US
          

DOF means that there won't be a noticeable difference in sharpness when viewing a full frame image 8x10 image at normal viewing distance.
Cropping can significantly cut into that range of perceived sharpness. If you crop so that you use only about 1/3 of the height and width of the original image you are getting the field of view of about a 750mm lens. That drops the DOF to about 30ft when making an 8x10 print.

The example the OP referred to is a much more severe crop that 1/3 of the original image than the example above. It is indeed pixel peeping even be able to identify the bird. IMO the image is not extremely sharp. Lots of things can contribute to sharpness:


  • focusing accuracy. You need to use AF-C and one of the dynamic area modes for birds in flight.

  • subject motion. What shutter speed are you using?

  • camera motion and vibration. Are you hand holding or using a tripod?

  • lens quality. I'm sure the 70-200/4 used on the Puffin is sharper wide open than the OP's 18-250.

  • luck and lots of exposures. Taking all the items above into consideration, I still took over 600 shots of bald eagles to get 18 that I am willing to show others.



Gary in SE Michigan, USA. Co-organizer of the Southern Michigan Chapter
Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera.
D4, D810, D300, D90, F6, FM3a (black), FM2n (chrome)
YashicaMat 124, Graflex Speed Graphic 4x5
My Nikonians Gallery & Our Chapter Gallery

  

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Kemo53 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Apr 2014Mon 30-Jun-14 12:00 PM
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#10. "RE: Focus at distance"
In response to Reply # 8


Tampa, US
          

Thank you to all. This site continues to amaze. I understand very well the discards theory... I discard waaaaayyyyy more shots than I keep... but focusing still frustrates me more than any other single issue in photography. When EXIF data shows a $4,000 camera and a $2,000 lens I just shake my head in awe; when it's a 3100 with a kit lens it makes me crazy. Thank you again for replying.

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Forums Lobby GET TO KNOW YOUR CAMERA & MASTER IT Nikon D5300/D5200/D5100/D5000/D3300/D3200/D3100/D3000 (Public) topic #9833 Previous topic | Next topic


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