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Focusing faces on D700

conradcjc

US
59 posts

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conradcjc Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Nov 2010
Sat 21-Apr-12 10:26 PM

I have a question. I use a D700 and am somewhat new to photography. I was curious what are the best setting when taking pictures of 2 people or more. I have taken a bunch of shots of 2 people standing side by side and noticed that the faces are blurry on some shots the middle is sharp though.

What do you use?

Thanks

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klrbee25

Naples, US
1386 posts

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#1. "RE: Focusing faces on D700" | In response to Reply # 0

klrbee25 Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jun 2006
Sat 21-Apr-12 08:30 PM

A larger f-stop. If you're shooting at very small f-stops (large apertures) like f/2.8, you'll find that your shots of multiple people will have one person in focus and the others out of focus...if they aren't standing in the same focal plane. You need more depth of field which you get by selecting a larger f-stop. Try something around f/5 to f/8.


-Alex Rosen
www.flickr.com/photos/klrbee25/

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conradcjc

US
59 posts

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#2. "RE: Focusing faces on D700" | In response to Reply # 1

conradcjc Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Nov 2010
Sat 21-Apr-12 08:38 PM | edited Sat 21-Apr-12 08:39 PM by conradcjc

>A larger f-stop. If you're shooting at very small f-stops
>(large apertures) like f/2.8, you'll find that your shots of
>multiple people will have one person in focus and the others
>out of focus...if they aren't standing in the same focal
>plane. You need more depth of field which you get by
>selecting a larger f-stop. Try something around f/5 to f/8.
>
>
Thanks for the info. What do you use for AF-Area Mode??
Single-point AF, Dynamic Area AF, Auto-Area AF???

Thanks again

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JosephK

Seattle, WA, US
7114 posts

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#3. "RE: Focusing faces on D700" | In response to Reply # 0

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 2006
Sun 22-Apr-12 05:13 PM | edited Sun 22-Apr-12 05:20 PM by JosephK

When an even number of subjects in the frame, there is normally nothing in the center of the frame to focus on since the two subjects are on the sides of the center. Here you need to either pick an off-center focus point on one of the middle subjects or focus on one of the subjects then recompose the frame.

For two people standing side by side, f/5.6 might be a good place to start for depth of field (the amount in focus from front to back). If one is behind the other, you will need more depth of field. Don't forget you have a DOF preview button that will show you what the scene will look like when stopped down.

Check out the Nikonians Depth Of Field calculator where you can see what happens when you change the numbers.
https://www.nikonians.org/html/resources/guides/dof/hyperfocal2.html

For focus modes, I run the camera using the AF-ON button always in AF-C mode. I get continuous focus with press-and-hold, AF-S simulation using press-and-release. On a still subject I might shoot single-point, but for people shots normally I use dynamic 9 or 21 point. (My default configuration is sports shooting.)

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Joseph K
Seattle, WA, USA

D700, D200, D70S, 24-70mm f/2.8, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II, 50mm f/1.4 D,
17-55mm f/2.8 DX, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

ajdooley

Waterloo, US
3392 posts

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#4. "RE: Focusing faces on D700" | In response to Reply # 0

ajdooley Gold Member Nikonian since 25th May 2006
Wed 02-May-12 10:58 PM | edited Wed 02-May-12 11:01 PM by ajdooley

Charles -- Unfortunately DSLRs are for the most part, computers with lenses! Like computers with keyboards, they do exactly what we tell them to do, and not necessarily what we WANT them to do.

I think your issue is that when you get sharp faces, that is where the focus point is set -- on a face. When you don't, it is probably set on the background in the distance.

I recommend single point focus, and either moving the focus point until it is on the eyes of one of the people, or focusing by moving the camera and focusing on a person, depressing the shutter button half way and recomposing, or using the focus lock function on your camera to hold fous while you compose. Then if people are a different distances in your photo, you'll also have to have a smaller f/stop to get adequate depth of field.

If you are unfamiliar with the uses of the many buttons and functions on your camera, good books like Digital Darrel's "Mastering the D700" on this web site or Dave Busch's book on your D700 are much better than the Nikon manual. They have good photos to illustrate things and are written by someone who is using the camera and has visited many of the pitfalls -- not just someone who is telling how something SHOULD work!

FYI, something I learned years ago: divide the number of people in the group by 3. That is the number of exposures you have to take to get everyone's eyes open. In other words, if you have 9 people posed in a group, shoot 3 images -- one should have everyone's eyes open... hopefully! This is not science -- just experience and odds.

Alan
Waterloo, IL, USA
www.proimagingmidamerica.com

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GiantTristan

Stamford, US
2690 posts

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#5. "RE: Focusing faces on D700" | In response to Reply # 0

GiantTristan Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Jan 2006
Thu 03-May-12 12:58 AM

If you use LiveView at high magnification and manual focus you can easily see which parts of the picture are in sharp focus.

Tristan

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G