Wide aperture - Pictures out of focus

Started Aug 3, 2014 | Discussions thread
tedolf Forum Pro • Posts: 26,897
Re: No one is saying that it can't be done.....

Doss wrote:

tedolf wrote:

just that you have to be very careful.

Absolutely true.

In your fist shot, the subject is small and you were probably about 15 feet away? DOF is exactly 12"; just enough to get the child's head in focus if your focus is spot on.

In the second example (no EXIF data), you are not doing a head and shoulder's shot, you are doing a full body environmental portrait, probably from 25 feet away. DOF is about 3 feet. Here, focus is not as critical.

In the third shot, again here you are not doing a tight head and shoulders shot as in the OP's example. You are backed away and you have just enough DOF. It is an excellent photo BTW, although use of shallow DOF really wasn't necessary here because the background is dark. I can't tell what settings you used because the EXIF data is missing.

My point to the OP was, and I think that many here agreed that for a tight head and shoulders shot, you can't use f/1.8 on an 85mm lens and expect the subject to be in focus. DOF is simply too narrow with a large sensor camera. My further point is that if you want to use that FOV for perspective purposes, and you have some need to shoot wide open (dark environment, subject movement) you are better off with a smaller sensor.

Is that so radical?


Dude! I think you over-think things too much!

think so?

Honestly, I just take the shots using the settings which get the shot . And, yes, as an experienced photographer I do think I can use f1.8 occasionally - Not so much for a desired effect, but because - in every one of these shots - the light was limited and I had to shoot fast (they are all candids -

Well, now you have outlined the limited circumstances in which 85mm and f/1.8 is useful, and acknowledged that, "as an experienced photographer" you can use f/1.8 "occasionally".

Here the OP acknowledges that he is a beginner and it is apparent from his photo that he is not in the situation you describe.  So again, my advice to him is that if he wants to take tight head and shoulders shots outdoors in good light, he can't use an f/1.8 85mm lens wide open on a large sensor camera. That is all I am saying.

And yes, I do find (for me) FF works best in such environments.

But it doesn't work well for beginners, or frankly most amateur photographers. And, you pay a lot of $$ for it.  If a beginner can't really make use of it, what is the point of spending all that $$?

I respect your choice to prefer smaller sensors. Each to their own my friend

Well, you know that is nice but really does it help the OP?

OK - I know that fact sets these apart from the OP's photo -

Yes, that is the key.

but I don't think they were trying to get a desired effect,. I think they were just testing out a new lens and wanted to be sure they could get away with using it at f1.8 - which is the point of having a lens with that setting!

And he couldn't. And neither could I, and neither could you in that setting, with that light unless you started using ND filters or something.


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