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Focus variation at varied distance?

glxman

South Australia, AU
6651 posts

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glxman Moderator Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife & Landscape Photography Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008
Tue 09-Jul-13 11:47 AM

Is this possible?
Example ,
Using a prime lens,
I focus at a distant object, say 60ft, take an image, then
I focus at a distant object, say 200ft, take an image

Result
60ft, in focus
200ft, out of focus

Is it possible that the camera, (or prime lens), could get the focus wrong at some distances and focused at others?

The above shoot is taking into concideration, correct shooting discipline as well
....Gary

I used to have a photographic memory but never got it developed

JosephK

Seattle, WA, US
7064 posts

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#1. "RE: Focus variation at varied distance?" | 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
Tue 09-Jul-13 06:52 PM

My first thought is that it is just a missed focus. Distant objects tend to be smaller. Smaller objects sometimes do not fill the focus point well enough to be recognized as the subject.

The focus points are slightly bigger than what is indicated in the viewfinder. This can sometimes lend them to grabbing onto something "nearby" with better contrast.

Do you have any examples you can upload?

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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, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

glxman

South Australia, AU
6651 posts

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#2. "RE: Focus variation at varied distance?" | In response to Reply # 1

glxman Moderator Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife & Landscape Photography Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008
Tue 09-Jul-13 09:30 PM

Thank you Joseph,
No examples but have trouble nailing the focusing for small birds in trees
Tried spot the other day but not sure if that is my best option for small targets at distance?
Might have to do some tests, did not realise that the focus area was actually larger at distance,
Would spot be a better choice?
....Gary

I used to have a photographic memory but never got it developed

gpoole

Farmington Hills, US
4122 posts

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#3. "RE: Focus variation at varied distance?" | In response to Reply # 2

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. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundrasing Campaing 2014 Writer Ribbon awarded for his article contributions for the Articles library and the eZine Nikonian since 14th Feb 2004
Tue 09-Jul-13 09:44 PM

Spot will not change the AF area or accuracy, it only narrows down the metering area.

Focus area doesn't really change with distance. It's always the same portion of the frame. Obviously the area of the frame covers a larger target area as the focusing distance increases. The point of the previous reply was that the actual area used for focus is larger than the rectangle you see in the viewfinder, so even if you put the rectangle on your subject, the area surrounding the subject is also used in the focus adjustment.

Gary in SE Michigan, USA.
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glxman

South Australia, AU
6651 posts

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#4. "RE: Focus variation at varied distance?" | In response to Reply # 3

glxman Moderator Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife & Landscape Photography Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008
Tue 09-Jul-13 10:10 PM

Hi Gary
Now I get the picture, (no pun intended )
Starting to think I just maybe shooting too much wide open at distance to get the shutter speed up and missing the mark

Perhaps I should be bumping the ISO up so I can increase my DOF for these small targets at distance
....Gary

I used to have a photographic memory but never got it developed

JosephK

Seattle, WA, US
7064 posts

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#5. "RE: Focus variation at varied distance?" | In response to Reply # 2

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
Wed 10-Jul-13 03:19 AM | edited Wed 10-Jul-13 03:20 AM by JosephK

>No examples but have trouble nailing the focusing for small
>birds in trees

Small birds in trees present two problems. (1) They are small AF targets, which may not fill the AF sensor. (2) Tree branches can get in the way and often have better contrast resulting in the camera picking the wrong object to focus on. Been there, done that.

>Might have to do some tests, did not realize that the focus
>area was actually larger at distance,

Not larger at a distance, just larger than the square in the viewfinder. Normally this is not a problem, but when you are trying to shoot around tree branches....

Single-point AF is probably the one you are looking for. Using the af-on button may help you.

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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, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

glxman

South Australia, AU
6651 posts

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#6. "RE: Focus variation at varied distance?" | In response to Reply # 5

glxman Moderator Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife & Landscape Photography Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008
Wed 10-Jul-13 06:36 AM

Thank you Joseph
Will do some more testing
.....Gary

I used to have a photographic memory but never got it developed

mkmull77

Fond du Lac, US
129 posts

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#7. "RE: Focus variation at varied distance?" | In response to Reply # 0

mkmull77 Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Jan 2010
Wed 10-Jul-13 10:19 PM

What lens are your using?
I would try one or a number of the following:
Stop it down a little to gain a little bit more DOF
Try to focus on something a little larger that you know is close to the same distance
Check with DOF prevue.
Try this with manual focus.
Or while on manual focus check the distance markings on the lens and set to just short of infinity. Check again, small objects at intermediate distances can be a little tricky with a shallow DOF.

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glxman

South Australia, AU
6651 posts

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#8. "RE: Focus variation at varied distance?" | In response to Reply # 7

glxman Moderator Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife & Landscape Photography Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008
Wed 10-Jul-13 10:44 PM

Hi Michael,
Using an AF-S 300 f4,
Been trying some different options to maintain a higher shutter speed
Recent trials have been with shutter priority, I'm thinking that I might just have to bump up the ISO to get a "better" DOF
Will try out your suggestions,
....Gary

I used to have a photographic memory but never got it developed

ericbowles

Atlanta, US
10524 posts

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#9. "RE: Focus variation at varied distance?" | In response to Reply # 8

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Mon 15-Jul-13 08:39 PM

Before you sacrifice ISO to increase DOF, be realistic in terms of expectations. With small distant moving subjects, AF is challenging takes practice. Even with the newer AF system of the D4/D800, and a larger subject, 65% success is reasonable.

I've recently used the 300 f/4 and D800E for photos of gulls and pelagic birds on the ocean. AF success is remarkably low even and the misses are large enough that a stop or two more in DOF won't matter.

Do keep the shutter speed high - 1/1000 sec or more. I'd suggest an aperture slightly stopped down - but not beyond f/5.6. Use the center AF sensor only. Try to track and follow the subject if its flying. Otherwise consider other tools and techniques to increase stability.

I think the issue is practice - and get closer.

Eric Bowles
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glxman

South Australia, AU
6651 posts

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#10. "RE: Focus variation at varied distance?" | In response to Reply # 9

glxman Moderator Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife & Landscape Photography Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008
Mon 15-Jul-13 10:07 PM

Thank you Eric,
Much appreciated,
My friend has a 300 f4 also, he is getting a good keeper rate, just having a look at his exif, yes he is stopped down a little
....Gary

I used to have a photographic memory but never got it developed

G