I was wondering what AF settings do you use when shooting in the studio, especially vertical full body shots.
As we all know the perfomance of the far left and right AF points is not the same as the center ones, so I was wondering if when trying to get a perfect focus on the subject head, when shooting vertical full body portraits it would be better to use one of the center AF points and recompose, or use one of the far right AF points without recomposing?
I assume AF-S works better than AF-C for studio shots, doesn't it? Your reply will be appreciated.
To be honest I almost never use tripod when shooting in the studio, because I assume that the extra stabilisation isn't really necessary when using strobes with 1/13000 sec flash duration and 1/250 sec shutter speed. Maybe I am wrong?
Camera or subject movement can still be a problem with strobes and 1/250 depending on the ambient light level. Keeping ambient low will minimize the possible visible camera shake. If the light is low, AF becomes less accurate normally but the D800 excels in low light focusing and will focus down to -2ev. I like moderately bright ambient for portraits since it keeps iris colored region large. It can also reduce the need for multiple lights when you are supplying almost all the like of a scene i.e., rim light, background illumination, fills and key. If AF is a problem in low light, say, if using slower lenses, switch to AF-S and turn on the AF assist light, with a shoe mounted flash. The near IR patterned light emitted for AF assist from the external speedlight will improve AF accuracy in low light and hardly be noticed by the subject. For subjects who are posing and moving, hand held and higher shutter speeds are required, and fast triggering of your strobes. 1/250 might be considered as a minimum.
I have seen people say they use either AF-S or AF-C. I believe it depends on the photographer and what they are comfortable with using.
Now in a studio, I would think there should be enough light for the camera to focus well with most if not all of it focus points. Depending on lens and field curvature, I could see that causing some slight AF errors.
I would try AF-S with center point and recompose method, then with outer AF points. See how it goes. Then try AF-C mode with different points and see how you like that. Only you can decide what works best for you.
The rare times I'm using a "studio" setup, or shooting with flash-as-primary-light-source, I use the center AF point and recompose. I always use AF-C and the back button (AF-On) technique. That way I can achieve focus, lock focus by removing my finger from the AF-On button, recompose, tell the subject to say cheese, and …
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