I'm trying to acquaint myself with the focusing options of the D7000. One shot in particular, with 5 people sitting next to each other side by side perplexes me. The shot will be done from the side, layering their profiles. DOF needs to be maximized so "old school" I'm shooting aperture. Should I do a "wrap around" and choose AF39 instead?
>The shot will be done from the side, layering their profiles. DOF needs to be maximized Can you be a bit more specific please? If you mean 5 people in a line parallel to the camera body, but each person sitting sideways on, f8 and likely f5.6 is OK. If you mean side by side but in a line at right angles to the sensor you need the smallest aperture on your lens and to manual focus on about the second person in to have a chance of getting enough depth of field.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.
>I'm trying to acquaint myself with the focusing options of >the D7000. One shot in particular, with 5 people sitting next >to each other side by side perplexes me. The shot will be done >from the side, layering their profiles. DOF needs to be >maximized so "old school" I'm shooting aperture. >Should I do a "wrap around" and choose AF39 >instead?
Old school techniques for this image should serve you well. The physics of the lens and focusing are the same as with old film cameras. AF39 will likely not help and may hurt as you will not be able to control where the focus is. Single focus on the eye of second person from front in a row extending into background with large aperture. If all in the same plane with camera focus on center persons eye with an f-stop 5.6 or above. Remember to hold camera still w tripod or hand held with high enough shutter speed. This camera has very high resolution and motion blur which may not be visible with old cameras will be seen with this especially when you zoom in or crop.
"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga
I apologize for not being specific enough. Here's the situation in greater detail.
There are 5 young women sitting on a table, shoulder to shoulder, facing forward. They are judging something in front of them. I'm shooting at their eye level from the side, about 30 degrees from their alignment, slightly in front of them. My positioning is an attempt to get a head/shoulder shot of them all with profiles layering onto each other. I"m using either a 17-55 or 85. DOF is the problem. I don't have a longer focal length to make the shot easier.
Thank you all for input. Nikonians has been such a nice resource for me.
I've taken similar shots, most recently of my mom, her sister and sister's husband lined up at the dinner table. I was only able to get one of them in focus at a time, but actually thought it created a very nice image with the out-of-DOF parts of the shot creating a great illusion of depth. Of course, it all depends what you want to achieve.
Sadly, with the equipment you have, I think you'll struggle to get sufficient Depth of Field for all 5 subjects to be acceptably sharp
Using the 85mm lens, I think you might be maybe 7-8 feet from the nearest subject in order to get them all in the frame. So using the suggestions above, you'd be focused at something like 10 feet. At that distance, even using a small aperture like f/16, the total DoF is only about 2.6 feet (1.1 feet in front of the focus point and 1.5 feet behind it). That almost certainly won't cover all 5 heads.
The "focus stacking" technique - whereby you take several shots, each focused on a different point, then combine then using software - might help, but I haven't tried it and suspect it would be tricky with a subject like this where the subject(s) may move slightly between shots.
One certain answer would be to buy (or rent) a tilt/shift ("Perspective Control" or "PC" in Nikon parlance), with which you can tilt the plane of focus rather than have it parallel to the sensor as normal. You'll find more information on these lenses over in our Manual Focus Lenses Forum.
If you used 300mm focal length and could move back to (say) 30 feet, DoF would still be even shallower than with the 85mm at 10 feet. I suggest you play around with the DoF calculator linked in the earlier post to show that more focal length won't help.
Using a shorter focal length (like your 17-55mm at the wider end) and moving closer does increase DoF, but then I suspect you would not have the perspective you are looking for.
Maybe use a good quality p&s? The smaller the sensor the greater the DOF. If you can get one that shoots raw and you keep the ISO down by enough lightning of thr scene it should give you a good enough image. Depends what you want to do after, i mean print or not, and what size.
Aghh. Bigger is not always better huh? Gonna try the shot with my wife's PNS a DMC FZ 28. Thank you for the suggestion. It was my hope that when I acquired the D7000 with a fast lens it would help resolve this issue. This shot has been bugging me for about a year.
Funny you should mention the S95. I was thinking of buying my wife that camera since she wants to downsize. Gotta play tag team to pull this off I guess.