Need advice to improve low-light focusing technique

Started Feb 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
MikePDX
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Follow up - some results
In reply to MikePDX, Feb 14, 2013

Sorry to drag out this thread again, but I wanted to follow up with some results that may help someone reading this.

MikePDX wrote:

Out of this so far I've got two nuggets that I can work on.

  1. Improve my manual focus technique.  I must admit that I've been somewhat lazy with respect to manual focus.  Autofocus has been generally so good for 90-95% of my shots that I could skate by without resorting to manual focus.  That clearly needs to change.
  2. For this image and ones like it, I will look into focusing software plugins like Focus Magic.  I don't have Photoshop, but I do have Lightroom and Elements 8, so I'll look at what I can do.

As for item 1, there is another current thread that provides some useful manual focus tips.  I have yet to try them, but I intend to.   http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50850333

Item 2:  I've downloaded trials of Focus Magic and Topas InFocus plugins.  On this image, I preferred the results from Topaz InFocus.  Also the workflow is a bit easier because Topaz can be configured as a plugin to Lightroom.

The original:

The Topaz InFocus version:

It's kind of hard to distinguish with these small versions, but the Topaz result is a distinct improvement.  It prints very well at 8X10 inches.  I haven't tried 11X14 yet, but I'm guessing it would look OK.  I've tried it on two different shots of this lion, and they both show distinct improvements.  I'm impressed.  By the way, for those who care, I left it dark on purpose to better represent what I remember.

Thanks again for everyone's help!

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-Mike
It's much easier to criticize than to create
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mike-pdx/collections/

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