Canon 5d III portrait focusing technique

Started Dec 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
Ubiquity99
Regular MemberPosts: 138
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Re: Canon 5d III portrait focusing technique
In reply to Distagon1, Dec 13, 2012

Distagon1 wrote:

Jack A. Zucker wrote:

One thing I find annoying with the 5d II is that I can only trust the center focusing point. Normally, I raise the camera's center point to the eyes, focus, re-compose - shoot.

Interesting observation,I was going to ask the very same question:I've just recently taken some portraits of a friend just for fun,with a 1000D (quite at the other end of the range,as you can see ) and on this camera too you can only trust (so to speak,I don't really trust the whole of its AF system) the center AF point,so I've opted for the exact same approach,focus on the eye then recompose.And a lot of shots turned out really soft,even with a 18-55 IS that won't go any larger than f/5.6 and I stayed around f/7.1 for good measure.

So does the parallax error affect so much this kind of shots? I would have thought that after focusing on the eye with the most accurate AF point available and then recomposing with the upper body of the subject in the center of the frame such an issue would not surface so evidently,all the more if using smaller apertures than f/5.6 on a lens that is just 55 mm at its longer end.Maybe it is not so much a parallax issue as the fact the focusing on the eye isn't easy in the first place,especially if the model is using a dark eyeliner ?

On a side note,if the model is constantly changing pose maybe AI servo would be a better option,as that will move the focus and recompose issue out of the equation but at least try to constantly adjust the focus point on the upper body ?

Focus and recompose is terrible at wide apertures. When you focus on the eyes and then recompose by rotating the camera, you're changing the focus point to end up being behind the eyes. You'll always be out of focus. The only way to do it would be to move the camera perfectly parallel to the plane of focus, which isn't going to be very easy with an extremely thin DoF.
The most accurate method would be to use Live View with magnification.

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