Wide aperture - Pictures out of focus

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Jizzy
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Wide aperture - Pictures out of focus
1 month ago

Hi,

Most of my pictures are out of focus when I shoot with a wide aperture with my 85mm 1.8 on a 70d.

I focused on the eye with single point AF.
Did I move too much? Or does the lens have front-/backfocus?

f1.8 1/2000 iso 100

thx for your help

Canon EOS 70D
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thebustos
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Re: Wide aperture - Pictures out of focus
In reply to Jizzy, 1 month ago

I think you might be having a depth of field issue. At 85mm wide open you're going to get a shallow depth of field. If you half press to lock focus or use back button focus any movement might end up throwing you a little bit out of focus before you press the shutter. Probably not to where it looks completely out of focus, but enough to make it look soft.

Have a look at this:

A Simple Guide to Depth of Field: http://youtu.be/34jkJoN8qOI
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darklamp
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Could be DOF lmitations and movement
In reply to Jizzy, 1 month ago

Wide open depth of field is small at 85mm and f1.8 at these ranges.

There's a depth of field calculator here :

http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

It does not take much for the slight movement of subject and photographer to take you out of focus. A slight sway either way is enough.

Also note that while you may think you have the eyes in focus ( from the focus confirmation ) the focus areas shown in the viewfinder are not always precise and you may be a little off. And with the narrow DOF that can be enough to make it even easier to loose focus.

There could be a slight backfocus, but that's really something I would not suggest until you have exhausted all other possibilities.

You really need to test on a tripod with a static target. Once humans are involved all bets are off with such narrow DOF.

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Doss
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Even with DOF limitations should be some point of focus
In reply to Jizzy, 1 month ago

Jizzy wrote:

I focused on the eye with single point AF.

Did I move too much?

No - When viewed at 100% there is clearly no evidence of motion blur, plus you've used a fast enough shutter speed to avoid that.

Or does the lens have front-/backfocus?

Again, at 100% it is obvious no part of this image is focused.

The focus is very much front (the back of the girls head/shoulders is the most out of focus, and her fringe is most in focus). The extent of which may suggest lens needs repairing rather than just micro adjusting. (although, I've not used a 70d so don't know to what extent you can adjust - try it first - Use an angled ruler or screen pattern to determine)

thx for your help

You're welcome

Additional: Just re-read what darklamp says. Yes - it could be a problem with 'swaying', eg a tendency to shift on your heels as you click (though unlikely that you persistently do so - but should not be entirely ruled out).

First thing I'd do is carry out this test: http://www.linuxphoto.org/html/article_frontfocus.html
If there is a focus shift then also try focusing in Liveview and see if that changes things.

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JBurnett
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Re: Wide aperture - Pictures out of focus
In reply to Jizzy, 1 month ago

Jizzy wrote:

Hi,

Most of my pictures are out of focus when I shoot with a wide aperture with my 85mm 1.8 on a 70d.

I focused on the eye with single point AF.
Did I move too much? Or does the lens have front-/backfocus?

f1.8 1/2000 iso 100

thx for your help

First, I would do some testing on a tripod with a static object, and use AF micro-adjust if appropriate (or send for repair if there's a real problem). When shooting a live model handheld, it is possible for you/the subject to move slightly forward/backward in between AF lock and actual shutter release -- especially if you're in the habit of locking focus and then recomposing just a bit before release.

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hotdog321
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Re: Wide aperture - Pictures out of focus
In reply to Jizzy, 1 month ago

Jizzy wrote:

Hi,

Most of my pictures are out of focus when I shoot with a wide aperture with my 85mm 1.8 on a 70d.

I focused on the eye with single point AF.
Did I move too much? Or does the lens have front-/backfocus?

f1.8 1/2000 iso 100

thx for your help

I believe the slight softness is caused by a combination of factors. The extremely shallow depth of field, exacerbated by the hot sky causing flare and maybe a slight misfocus. Also, most lenses are a little less sharp when shot wide open. The Canon 85mm f/1.8 is a decent lens, but in my experience only the center gets tack sharp when shooting wide open.

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GreenMountainGirl
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Re: Wide aperture - Pictures out of focus
In reply to Jizzy, 1 month ago

Jizzy wrote:

Hi,

Most of my pictures are out of focus when I shoot with a wide aperture with my 85mm 1.8 on a 70d.

I focused on the eye with single point AF.
Did I move too much? Or does the lens have front-/backfocus?

f1.8 1/2000 iso 100

thx for your help

From the photo data, I would say that shooting at f/1.8 is overkill.  A bright day, a model who is not moving much if at all, and ISO 100 says that you could reduce the aperture size to increase depth of field and get a much better result.

If you were shooting in low light, a larger aperture would make a bit more sense, but still is not optimal for a subject that is not all in the same focus plane.  Try shooting the same subject at different apertures to see the difference.

You don't mention what mode you are shooting in - A, S, M, etc. - so it is not possible to know just how you (or the camera) came up with the combination used.  But the aperture has definitely caused a DOF problem!

Susan

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Doss
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Should still be a point of focus, user error aside.
In reply to GreenMountainGirl, 1 month ago

GreenMountainGirl wrote:

shooting at f/1.8 is overkill.

the aperture has definitely caused a DOF problem!

I don't agree that this so. The focus point with a shallow DOF will still be in focus, no matter how shallow the DOF.

And selecting shallow DOF for a portrait is NOT user error! This is one of the principle points of using a fast aperture portrait lens.

I do agree OP must rule out user error first, ie they may not be focusing as precisely as they should for such shallow DOF - which is perhaps what you meant Susan(?).

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BarnET
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Re: Could be DOF lmitations and movement
In reply to darklamp, 1 month ago

darklamp wrote:

Wide open depth of field is small at 85mm and f1.8 at these ranges.

There's a depth of field calculator here :

http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

It does not take much for the slight movement of subject and photographer to take you out of focus. A slight sway either way is enough.

Also note that while you may think you have the eyes in focus ( from the focus confirmation ) the focus areas shown in the viewfinder are not always precise and you may be a little off. And with the narrow DOF that can be enough to make it even easier to loose focus.

There could be a slight backfocus, but that's really something I would not suggest until you have exhausted all other possibilities.

You really need to test on a tripod with a static target. Once humans are involved all bets are off with such narrow DOF.

Totally agree.

The shot shown shows a clear misfocus. However it doesn't show the cause.

The model could've moved slightly or the photographer did.

If the photographer used recompose that could explain it as well. Just use an static object and tripod and try it out. As darklamb suggested.

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AnthonyL
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Re: Wide aperture - Pictures out of focus
In reply to GreenMountainGirl, 1 month ago

GreenMountainGirl wrote:

From the photo data, I would say that shooting at f/1.8 is overkill. A bright day, a model who is not moving much if at all, and ISO 100 says that you could reduce the aperture size to increase depth of field and get a much better result.

Why?  You don't know what effect the OP is trying to get.

If you were shooting in low light, a larger aperture would make a bit more sense, but still is not optimal for a subject that is not all in the same focus plane. Try shooting the same subject at different apertures to see the difference.

That doesn't address the issue.  What is unclear is what is the focus plane.  If he had asked "how do I get the whole of the girl in focus" then yes, the answer if f/8 or thereabout.

You don't mention what mode you are shooting in - A, S, M, etc. - so it is not possible to know just how you (or the camera) came up with the combination used. But the aperture has definitely caused a DOF problem!

It really doesn't matter.  Exposure isn't the primary issue here.  The camera has pretty well followed the "sunny 16" rule.

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Jizzy
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Re: Wide aperture - Pictures out of focus
In reply to GreenMountainGirl, 1 month ago

GreenMountainGirl wrote:

From the photo data, I would say that shooting at f/1.8 is overkill. A bright day, a model who is not moving much if at all, and ISO 100 says that you could reduce the aperture size to increase depth of field and get a much better result.

If you were shooting in low light, a larger aperture would make a bit more sense, but still is not optimal for a subject that is not all in the same focus plane. Try shooting the same subject at different apertures to see the difference.

You don't mention what mode you are shooting in - A, S, M, etc. - so it is not possible to know just how you (or the camera) came up with the combination used. But the aperture has definitely caused a DOF problem!

Susan

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GreenMountainGirl

Thanks everybody!

I shot in A mode with f/1.8 and iso 100. I was just basically playing around with the lens (my first prime). I didn't recompose to avoid focus shift, and I use back button focus.

I am a beginner, maybe it was "wrong" to shoot at f/1.8 for a scene like that, but I was just testing around and I have more out-of-focus photos like that...

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tedolf
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DOF too narrow........
In reply to Jizzy, 1 month ago

Jizzy wrote:

Hi,

Most of my pictures are out of focus when I shoot with a wide aperture with my 85mm 1.8 on a 70d.

I focused on the eye with single point AF.
Did I move too much? Or does the lens have front-/backfocus?

f1.8 1/2000 iso 100

thx for your help

this is one of the problems with larger sensored cameras. Wide open the DOF is just too shallow to do portrait work. I am going to assume that you were about 8 feet away from the subject. That camera at that distance with that lens at f/1.8 has a DOF of about 2 inches. Not nearly enough to get the subject's whole head from front to back in focus; you need at least 8-10 inches for that.

So, stop down to about  f/8 and you will get a DOF of about 8-10 inches.

Now, you have to ask yourself why did you spend so much money for a f/1.8 lens when you really can't use it wide open for the types of photo's you want to shoot!

TEdolph

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Jizzy
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Re: DOF too narrow........
In reply to tedolf, 1 month ago

tedolf wrote:

So, stop down to about f/8 and you will get a DOF of about 8-10 inches.

Now, you have to ask yourself why did you spend so much money for a f/1.8 lens when you really can't use it wide open for the types of photo's you want to shoot!

TEdolph

Yeah, thats what I am asking myself now

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tedolf
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Honeslty, if you want to do portrait work........
In reply to Jizzy, 1 month ago

Jizzy wrote:

tedolf wrote:

So, stop down to about f/8 and you will get a DOF of about 8-10 inches.

Now, you have to ask yourself why did you spend so much money for a f/1.8 lens when you really can't use it wide open for the types of photo's you want to shoot!

TEdolph

Yeah, thats what I am asking myself now

with lenses shot wide open (higher shutter speeds, lower ISO) the u 4/3 format is probably ideal.  Also, the sensor aspect ratio is a better match for printing than the 3/2 format so you aren't cropping so much.

With the camera you have, f/4 is about as wide open as you can go for a head and shoulders shot and your focus placement has to be perfect. It is worse with FF if that is any consolation.

Tedolph

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AnthonyL
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Re: DOF too narrow........
In reply to Jizzy, 1 month ago

Jizzy wrote:

tedolf wrote:

So, stop down to about f/8 and you will get a DOF of about 8-10 inches.

Now, you have to ask yourself why did you spend so much money for a f/1.8 lens when you really can't use it wide open for the types of photo's you want to shoot!

TEdolph

Yeah, thats what I am asking myself now

Yes - just get a P&S - no probs with DOF there!

It is worth spending a bit of time checking what your lens can do wide open and stopped down a touch.  But as pointed out elsewhere the focus confirmation can kick in sooner than you think and not necessarily on what you thought it focussed on.  Use static subjects and if you haven't got a tripod then find something to stand the camera on and use a time delay.

Also double check your technique.  Need to be very precise and steady.

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tedolf
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No amount of focusing........
In reply to AnthonyL, 1 month ago

AnthonyL wrote:

Jizzy wrote:

tedolf wrote:

So, stop down to about f/8 and you will get a DOF of about 8-10 inches.

Now, you have to ask yourself why did you spend so much money for a f/1.8 lens when you really can't use it wide open for the types of photo's you want to shoot!

TEdolph

Yeah, thats what I am asking myself now

Yes - just get a P&S - no probs with DOF there!

It is worth spending a bit of time checking what your lens can do wide open and stopped down a touch. But as pointed out elsewhere the focus confirmation can kick in sooner than you think and not necessarily on what you thought it focussed on. Use static subjects and if you haven't got a tripod then find something to stand the camera on and use a time delay.

Also double check your technique. Need to be very precise and steady.

would have gotten that shot with that camera/lens combination at that aperture and distance.  The DOF was just too narrow.  Check a DOF table.  In the days of film SLR's, an 85mm lens (and also 105mm portrait lenses) usually had a maximum aperture of f/2.8 for exactly that reason.  When 85mm f/1.8 lenses came out, they were considered to be a very specializes lens to get a very special, i.e. "unusual"   look (advertising).  You wouldn't have taken a shot like that for a paying portrait client.

Tedolph

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Christof21
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Re: Honeslty, if you want to do portrait work........
In reply to tedolf, 1 month ago

tedolf wrote:

Jizzy wrote:

tedolf wrote:

So, stop down to about f/8 and you will get a DOF of about 8-10 inches.

Now, you have to ask yourself why did you spend so much money for a f/1.8 lens when you really can't use it wide open for the types of photo's you want to shoot!

TEdolph

Yeah, thats what I am asking myself now

with lenses shot wide open (higher shutter speeds, lower ISO) the u 4/3 format is probably ideal.

Are you serious ???

The FF can do all the m4/3 format does, the m43 does not have a dof advantage, just stop down the lens if you want to have more dof.

It is better to have more choice ( shallow or deep dof) so pretending that the m43 is ideal is nonsense.

Also, have a look at the prices of the very "fast" m43 lenses (not so fast considering the sensor size...).

Also, the sensor aspect ratio is a better match for printing than the 3/2 format so you aren't cropping so much.

I would say that neither format have an advantage. I personnaly believe that the 3/2 format is the best compromise (and best viewed on a monitor display) but the 4/3 is better for portrait. I just crop a bit, this is not a big issue..

With the camera you have, f/4 is about as wide open as you can go for a head and shoulders shot and your focus placement has to be perfect. It is worse with FF if that is any consolation.

Worse with FF ?  I don't think that "worse" is the right terminology. Again, FF gives you more choice.

Tedolph

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AnthonyL
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Re: No amount of focusing........
In reply to tedolf, 1 month ago

tedolf wrote:

AnthonyL wrote:

Jizzy wrote:

tedolf wrote:

So, stop down to about f/8 and you will get a DOF of about 8-10 inches.

Now, you have to ask yourself why did you spend so much money for a f/1.8 lens when you really can't use it wide open for the types of photo's you want to shoot!

TEdolph

Yeah, thats what I am asking myself now

Yes - just get a P&S - no probs with DOF there!

It is worth spending a bit of time checking what your lens can do wide open and stopped down a touch. But as pointed out elsewhere the focus confirmation can kick in sooner than you think and not necessarily on what you thought it focussed on. Use static subjects and if you haven't got a tripod then find something to stand the camera on and use a time delay.

Also double check your technique. Need to be very precise and steady.

would have gotten that shot with that camera/lens combination at that aperture and distance. The DOF was just too narrow. Check a DOF table. In the days of film SLR's, an 85mm lens (and also 105mm portrait lenses) usually had a maximum aperture of f/2.8 for exactly that reason. When 85mm f/1.8 lenses came out, they were considered to be a very specializes lens to get a very special, i.e. "unusual" look (advertising). You wouldn't have taken a shot like that for a paying portrait client.

The OP said "most of his photos" - I didn't take that to be just his pictures of this girl though it may be and he also said he was playing to learn.  He didn't say he was going into professional portraiture.

I think (hope) by now he's got the messages of 2" dof and soft wide open.

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Christof21
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Re: DOF too narrow........
In reply to AnthonyL, 1 month ago

AnthonyL wrote:

Jizzy wrote:

tedolf wrote:

So, stop down to about f/8 and you will get a DOF of about 8-10 inches.

Now, you have to ask yourself why did you spend so much money for a f/1.8 lens when you really can't use it wide open for the types of photo's you want to shoot!

TEdolph

Yeah, thats what I am asking myself now

Yes - just get a P&S - no probs with DOF there!

Or stop down the lens, same results. This is not a "problem"

It is worth spending a bit of time checking what your lens can do wide open and stopped down a touch. But as pointed out elsewhere the focus confirmation can kick in sooner than you think and not necessarily on what you thought it focussed on. Use static subjects and if you haven't got a tripod then find something to stand the camera on and use a time delay.

Also double check your technique. Need to be very precise and steady.

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Doss
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People's opinions of fast lenses too narrow........!!!
In reply to Jizzy, 1 month ago

Jizzy wrote:

tedolf wrote:

So, stop down to about f/8 and you will get a DOF of about 8-10 inches.

Now, you have to ask yourself why did you spend so much money for a f/1.8 lens when you really can't use it wide open for the types of photo's you want to shoot!

TEdolph

Yeah, thats what I am asking myself now

Grrrr! I too often hear 'photographers' claiming - "That lens is soft wide open, but it's fine to use stopped down"

Duh!!!! Are you consumers really happy spending excess $$$$ AND lugging around excess weight & bulk just for the status of owning a fast aperture lens?

Unbelievable!

Jizzy - Your 85mm f/1.8 should be good wide open. If it's really not your technique (and it sounds as if it's not) and you've tried micro-adjustments and the lens is still this soft wide open then don't listen to the rather dubious advice of naysayers here (who talk complete BS advising not to do portraits @ 85mm @1.8 on a fullframe camera) - Get it returned and replaced.

Best of luck

Just to put my money where my mouth is....Here are a few examples of shots I've taken wide open with a 85mm 1.8

a

b

c

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