Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing

Started Jan 20, 2013 | Discussions
Maximus68
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Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
Jan 20, 2013

I seem to have difficulty getting a focused picture when there are two
or more people in a shot. Two people I might get lucky once in a
while. Three or more, I have no chance. What happens is, the camera
focuses on a particular spot and the rest is somewhat blurry. I have
tried a few settings and gone to automatic at times-and I still miss.
Can someone shed some light and point me to a particular setting Or something I am missing. I am sure Depth of field has a role in this.

My equipment is the 5d Mark iii, 85mm 1.2, 24-70 2.8, 50mm 1.2 and a
70-200mm 2.8. They are all Canon lenses.
I know each lens would pose a different set of settings but if you
could pick one, I'd appreciate it.

My last outing was last night-my nieces sweet sixteen. It was a dark
club but I used the 600ex-rt flash.

please break down the steps and terminology as best as you can!

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
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da131126
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to Maximus68, Jan 20, 2013

If you could post a few of the pictures that you are not happy with along with the setting info I'm sure someone on this forum will be able to help you out rather quickly.  I am pretty new here but there are some amazing photographers on this forum who would be able to help you.  I have learned though, that the best way to get answers to questions about pics you take is to post the picture along with the question.

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paulj623
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to da131126, Jan 20, 2013

Without seeing any pics I would look to the basics. First when you download the pictures or use the option in camera you can see where the focus point locked on. (Love this option). 2nd is the normal is the shutter speed fast enough and are you shooting at say 2.8 vs 5.6 or so

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Nigel Wilkins
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to Maximus68, Jan 20, 2013

If one person is in focus & others aren't, you need more depth of field by adjusting to a smaller aperture, say f/11 instead of f/2.8.  If that's not an option, you can use a shorter focal length (& stay where you are) or step back from your subjects, reducing magnification.

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Jesster009
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Sounds like you are shooting wide open
In reply to Maximus68, Jan 20, 2013

and need to stop your lens down a bit to increase the depth of field. Are you mainly shooting at F1.2 on the 85 or 2.8 on the others?

Thanks,

Jesse

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Nigel Wilkins
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to Nigel Wilkins, Jan 20, 2013

Nigel Wilkins wrote:

If one person is in focus & others aren't, you need more depth of field by adjusting to a smaller aperture, say f/11 instead of f/2.8. If that's not an option, you can use a shorter focal length (& stay where you are) or step back from your subjects, reducing magnification.

To clarify,

Maximus68 wrote:

...I am sure Depth of field has a role in this.

please break down the steps and terminology as best as you can!

Depth of Field - the distance in front of & behind the focused distance which is acceptably sharp.

Depth of field increases with reducing apertures (larger aperture numbers) & reduces with magnification.

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bhollis
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to Nigel Wilkins, Jan 20, 2013

Nigel Wilkins wrote:

If one person is in focus & others aren't, you need more depth of field by adjusting to a smaller aperture, say f/11 instead of f/2.8. If that's not an option, you can use a shorter focal length (& stay where you are) or step back from your subjects, reducing magnification.

F/11 is almost certainly going too far the other direction.

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Maximus68
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to Nigel Wilkins, Jan 20, 2013

If I change the f number, will anything else need to be changed.   also, do you have to go a minimum amount say 5/6...?

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Maximus68
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to bhollis, Jan 20, 2013

so should shooting wide open, the lowest number possible, be reserved for shooting one person or subject only?

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bhollis
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to Maximus68, Jan 20, 2013

Maximus68 wrote:

I seem to have difficulty getting a focused picture when there are two
or more people in a shot. Two people I might get lucky once in a
while. Three or more, I have no chance. What happens is, the camera
focuses on a particular spot and the rest is somewhat blurry. I have
tried a few settings and gone to automatic at times-and I still miss.
Can someone shed some light and point me to a particular setting Or something I am missing. I am sure Depth of field has a role in this.

My equipment is the 5d Mark iii, 85mm 1.2, 24-70 2.8, 50mm 1.2 and a
70-200mm 2.8. They are all Canon lenses.
I know each lens would pose a different set of settings but if you
could pick one, I'd appreciate it.

My last outing was last night-my nieces sweet sixteen. It was a dark
club but I used the 600ex-rt flash.

please break down the steps and terminology as best as you can

You've got some very nice, very capable and very expensive equipment.  You've also got some very "fast" lenses.  By fast I mean that the lenses have large maximum apertures, which means that they're capable of gathering more light, but with shallow depth of field.  For example, shooting with your 85 at f/1.2 will give you razor thin depth of field, which is entirely unsuitable for group pictures.

What it sounds like you don't have, and please don't take offense here, is a basic understanding of photographic principles.  Without that understanding, your very capable gear is not going to deliver the kinds of photos you want.

My recommendation:  take a course in photography.  Otherwise, read a good book, like this one.

http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-3rd-Edition-ebook/dp/B004FEFS5E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358700453&sr=8-1&keywords=understanding+exposure

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Maximus68
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to bhollis, Jan 20, 2013

I have my two test subjects in front of me. But I increased to 5/6 but the focus points are still picking one girl or the other.  How is that to be adjusted?

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bhollis
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to Maximus68, Jan 20, 2013

Maximus68 wrote:

so should shooting wide open, the lowest number possible, be reserved for shooting one person or subject only?

This question is not a simple one with a simple answer. The answer depends on the focal length of the lens, the maximum aperture of that lens, how far you are away from your subjects, and whether the subjects are all the same distance from the camera, or varying distances.

Here's a shot of my grandson taken with my Sigma 85 at f/1.8. Notice that the only thing really in focus is his nose. With your 85L at f/1.2, the depth of field would have been even shallower.

See my post below--recommend you take a photography course, or at a minimum, read a good book on photography.



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Maximus68
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to paulj623, Jan 20, 2013

Is the focus point going to be on both girls that are in my shot?

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Maximus68
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to bhollis, Jan 20, 2013

bhollis wrote:

Maximus68 wrote:

I seem to have difficulty getting a focused picture when there are two
or more people in a shot. Two people I might get lucky once in a
while. Three or more, I have no chance. What happens is, the camera
focuses on a particular spot and the rest is somewhat blurry. I have
tried a few settings and gone to automatic at times-and I still miss.
Can someone shed some light and point me to a particular setting Or something I am missing. I am sure Depth of field has a role in this.

My equipment is the 5d Mark iii, 85mm 1.2, 24-70 2.8, 50mm 1.2 and a
70-200mm 2.8. They are all Canon lenses.
I know each lens would pose a different set of settings but if you
could pick one, I'd appreciate it.

My last outing was last night-my nieces sweet sixteen. It was a dark
club but I used the 600ex-rt flash.

please break down the steps and terminology as best as you can

You've got some very nice, very capable and very expensive equipment. You've also got some very "fast" lenses. By fast I mean that the lenses have large maximum apertures, which means that they're capable of gathering more light, but with shallow depth of field. For example, shooting with your 85 at f/1.2 will give you razor thin depth of field, which is entirely unsuitable for group pictures.

What it sounds like you don't have, and please don't take offense here, is a basic understanding of photographic principles. Without that understanding, your very capable gear is not going to deliver the kinds of photos you want.

My recommendation: take a course in photography. Otherwise, read a good book, like this one.

http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-3rd-Edition-ebook/dp/B004FEFS5E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358700453&sr=8-1&keywords=understanding+exposure

Totally understand what you mean.  No offense taking.   I just come from the camp of  buy it once-i don't believe it working my way up.  It's a waste of money but more importantly, time.

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Maximus68
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to bhollis, Jan 20, 2013

Nice pic.   But to you, are you happy with it?    Did you just want his nose in focus?

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Maximus68
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to Nigel Wilkins, Jan 20, 2013

Nigel Wilkins wrote:

If one person is in focus & others aren't, you need more depth of field by adjusting to a smaller aperture, say f/11 instead of f/2.8. If that's not an option, you can use a shorter focal length (& stay where you are) or step back from your subjects, reducing magnification.

What do I do when the two girls are posing next to each but the camera put the focus point on one of them!

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bhollis
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to Maximus68, Jan 20, 2013

Maximus68 wrote:

Nice pic. But to you, are you happy with it? Did you just want his nose in focus?

Although I like this pic, in retrospect, I wish I had stopped down to f/2.  I think that probably would have given me his full face in focus.

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bhollis
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to Maximus68, Jan 20, 2013

Maximus68 wrote:

Nigel Wilkins wrote:

If one person is in focus & others aren't, you need more depth of field by adjusting to a smaller aperture, say f/11 instead of f/2.8. If that's not an option, you can use a shorter focal length (& stay where you are) or step back from your subjects, reducing magnification.

What do I do when the two girls are posing next to each but the camera put the focus point on one of them!

Read your camera manual--particularly the section on AF and selection of focus points. And read a book on photography as I've previously said.

This forum can't teach you photography.

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Maximus68
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to bhollis, Jan 20, 2013

Hmmm. I thought someone may run into the same problem on here.  I don't believe you are all experts.  If you were, you wouldn't be here.

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Shalom2006
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Re: Canon 5d Mark iii Help with focusing
In reply to bhollis, Jan 20, 2013

Why does he not just push the depth of field button on the camera before clicking the shutter??!

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Best Regards
Steven
Chigwell, UK

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