Soft focus on mid and wide shots Canon 7d Mark ii

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radicalpoet New Member • Posts: 1
Soft focus on mid and wide shots Canon 7d Mark ii

Hi everyone,

Neewbie to the forums here, although I've used DP Review to do much research in the past and have always found bountiful it to have some fantastic contributers.

I'm having an ongoing issue with my 7D ii which is driving me crazy due to its impact on my work.

I'm relatively new to DSLR filming having been an editor for many years. I have done  some filming here sand there, including for a documentary film but this was all on broadcast run and gun type cameras.

For the last 6 months or so, I've been filming as well as editing in order to go Freelance. I've been successful enough in doing so, getting paid work. But for every job I've done I've had my heart in my mouth upon watch back and resulting despondency afterwards due to a lot of shots being unfit for use due to soft focus. It hasn't all been bad as I've filmed some great stuff too. Now I know this is the minefield that is DSLR filming and it's a decent learning curve but as things got a bit better and I get more and more atuned to my 7D ii,  I could see a pattern to this. All my close up shots tend to look solid, dropping out background, pulling focus in and out manually and getting fine detail - the cinematic look that made me gravitate to DLSR in the first place. But all my mid and wide shots are in the majority, unusable. I've gotten by, by the seat of my pants to date but can't continue forward like this.

This week, I filmed a music video outdoors. Granted it was in the winter on an overcast day but the lighter parts of the sky were still enough to overexpose whites before fine tuning on some shots, even got a bit of golden hour later in the afternoon. However, after getting some glorious close up footage I'm proud of, I was horrified by how muddy my mid and wide shots were. I was especially disappointed as I'd added a Zacuto Z finder to my kit as I felt this might allow me to notice if shots were slightly out of optimum focus when the subject was further away and smaller in size, that I was perhaps not perceiving previously. But no joy still. These shots looked decent in the view finder on shoot, albeit at a lower resolution, but not up on the iMac when ingesting the footage later.

I am aware of the limitations of using the stock lense (I actually have the slightly more expensive nano USM variant of the stock 18-135mm to use with Canon automated zoom attachment), compared to say, premium glass on a full frame DSLR. But I should still be able get something workable, At present my camcorder could do a better wide shot. When going wide for a landscape type shot, I've used a lower aperture/greater F Stop number to try and ensure all is in focus. something like F11 or F13, (even higher again as I began to tear my hair out, as long as it still permitted me to film without the ISO going over 1,600). I always keep the shutter speed to 50 if I'm filming 25fps or double when using 50fps. I've also tried to pop focus when in a wide AF mode and then switching straight back to manual. Hasn't helped me crack it though either.

Since I haven't come into this without a formal photography background I keep assuming it must be my user error but I can't get my head around why I can get such decent shots when working so much harder with narrow depth of field, and then when I want a filler type of mid or wide shot, I just can't mange it :-/

I don't know if anyone would be as kind as to offer any wisdom should they have any before I go down the route of 1. Dot Tune, 2. AF micro-adjustment, 3. Hiring alternative lenses, 4. Sending to Canon or 5. Buying a lense for the Sony A7s I recently purchased. But for now, I really need to complete a couple more jobs I have booked before the end of the year with this current kit which I've already I've spend enough on. But right now this is an itch I cannot scratch which I'm carrying around OCD every waking hour as I'm not used to not being able to overcome such challenges in a protracted timeframe. I've become obsessed. SOS!

Many thanks,

Andrew

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Canon EOS 7D Mark II
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