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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    jrs146's Avatar

    Focus question

    Focus question
    Hi all,
    I've taken the plunge into trying to shoot in manual mode. I'm a beginner so this is a big step for me. I've noticed that sometimes my focus seems to be slightly off with faces. I was actually having a harder time in auto mode and it seems to have gotten better yet not perfect. I've played around with the various auto focus settings but I can't seem to get it just right. My issues is normally when shooting pics of my kids. Here is one for example. The face looks good, but not great. Any advice would be much appreciated!

    Focus question-d71_8579.jpg


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                          • #2
                            Senior Member
                            Horoscope Fish's Avatar

                            Re: Focus question

                            Quote Originally Posted by jrs146 View Post
                            Hi all,
                            I've taken the plunge into trying to shoot in manual mode. I'm a beginner so this is a big step for me. I've noticed that sometimes my focus seems to be slightly off with faces. I was actually having a harder time in auto mode and it seems to have gotten better yet not perfect. I've played around with the various auto focus settings but I can't seem to get it just right. My issues is normally when shooting pics of my kids. Here is one for example. The face looks good, but not great. Any advice would be much appreciated!
                            Aperture for this shot was f/5.3, shutter speed was 1/250 and the ISO was arguably a tiny bit on the high side at 1400, but that's a trifle. What I noticed right away is that nothing, at least nothing to my eye, appears to be sharp. That leads me to believe the problem is probably camera shake. A few things to help combat this would be keeping your elbows tucked in tight while pressing the shutter, pressing the shutter smoooothly and using Quiet Shutter mode (my default shooting mode for this very reason).

                            I ran your shot through the "Shake Reduction" filter in Photoshop was able to get decent results without any manual tweaking. That's not exactly concrete proof the soft is shot due to camera shake but I think it bolsters the theory.
                            .....
                            .....
                            Your Original:
                            Focus question-attachment.jpg

                            .....
                            After Shake Reduction (and a contrast adjustment):
                            Focus question-attachment-shake-reduction.jpg

                            .....
                            Thanks/Like Chris@sabor Thanks/liked this post
                             
                            ~ Paul
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                            Primary Weaponolgy :: D750 (OLPF Removed), MB-D10; Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art, Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2, Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD,
                            Nikon 85mm f/1.8G; Yongnuo 568EX, Nikon SB-700; Manfrotto X055PROB, 3-Legged Thing Airhed II... All Stuffed into a Manfrotto Pro Backpack 50
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                          • #3
                            Senior Member
                            lokatz's Avatar

                            Re: Focus question

                            Hi there, Some info about camera and lens might help. In your picture, it is hard to tell the sharpness of the face, but parts of the jacket seem to be on the same plane and appear to be reasonably sharp, so not sure sharpness is off. I'd say the primary issue here is that part of the face is too bright and nearly washed out. Either shoot the whole picture a little darker (for instance by setting the exposure compensation to -1 or so), or, if your camera supports it, try shooting in HDR mode, in which the camera automatically does a better job brightening the darker parts and darkening the brightest parts of the shot. The latter affects only JPEGs and makes no difference if you shoot RAW, but you also have the option to make similar adjustments manually in an image editing program.
                            Lothar Katz

                            Nikon D700 - D500 - D7100 - 200-500 f/5.6 - 300 f/4 PF - 55-200 f/4-5.6 - 50mm f/1.8. Tamron 60 f/2 Macro. Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4. Tokina 12-28 f/4. Yongnou YN568. Panasonic TZ101 (a.k.a. ZN100). Photoshop CS6. Lightroom 6. DXO Optics Pro 11. Aurora HDR 2018.


                          • #4
                            Senior Member
                            jrs146's Avatar

                            Re: Focus question

                            Focus question
                            Quote Originally Posted by Horoscope Fish View Post
                            Aperture for this shot was f/5.3, shutter speed was 1/250 and the ISO was arguably a tiny bit on the high side at 1400, but that's a trifle. What I noticed right away is that nothing, at least nothing to my eye, appears to be sharp. That leads me to believe the problem is probably camera shake. A few things to help combat this would be keeping your elbows tucked in tight while pressing the shutter, pressing the shutter smoooothly and using Quiet Shutter mode (my default shooting mode for this very reason).

                            I ran your shot through the "Shake Reduction" filter in Photoshop was able to get decent results without any manual tweaking. That's not exactly concrete proof the soft is shot due to camera shake but I think it bolsters the theory.
                            .....
                            .....
                            Your Original:
                            Focus question-attachment.jpg

                            .....
                            After Shake Reduction (and a contrast adjustment):
                            Focus question-attachment-shake-reduction.jpg

                            .....
                            Thanks for the advice. I hadn't thought of camera shake as being the issue. It certainly could have been. I seem to have this problem a lot as my pics don't seem to be as focused as I'd like. The sharpening tool did seem to make an improvement.

                            Quote Originally Posted by lokatz View Post
                            Hi there, Some info about camera and lens might help. In your picture, it is hard to tell the sharpness of the face, but parts of the jacket seem to be on the same plane and appear to be reasonably sharp, so not sure sharpness is off. I'd say the primary issue here is that part of the face is too bright and nearly washed out. Either shoot the whole picture a little darker (for instance by setting the exposure compensation to -1 or so), or, if your camera supports it, try shooting in HDR mode, in which the camera automatically does a better job brightening the darker parts and darkening the brightest parts of the shot. The latter affects only JPEGs and makes no difference if you shoot RAW, but you also have the option to make similar adjustments manually in an image editing program.
                            I shot with my D7100 using my NIKKOR 18-200 lens. I actually had it stepped up +.7 EV as I thought it seemed a bit underexposed in previous pics. Maybe that was a big part of the problem to begin with. If I'm looking at my histogram to determine if my exposure is good what should I be looking for?

                          • #5
                            Senior Member
                            Horoscope Fish's Avatar

                            Re: Focus question

                            Quote Originally Posted by jrs146 View Post
                            Thanks for the advice. I hadn't thought of camera shake as being the issue. It certainly could have been. I seem to have this problem a lot as my pics don't seem to be as focused as I'd like. The sharpening tool did seem to make an improvement.
                            I just want to point out that Shake Reduction is different from Sharpening.

                            Also, the exposure of the shot is fine. It could be tweaked to personal taste's but there's nothing technically wrong with the exposure of the shot you posted. The histogram shows full dynamic range with no blown out highlights or crushed shadows; neither in the Luminance values nor in the discrete color-channels.
                            ~ Paul
                            ....
                            ....
                            Primary Weaponolgy :: D750 (OLPF Removed), MB-D10; Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art, Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2, Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD,
                            Nikon 85mm f/1.8G; Yongnuo 568EX, Nikon SB-700; Manfrotto X055PROB, 3-Legged Thing Airhed II... All Stuffed into a Manfrotto Pro Backpack 50
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                          • #6
                            Senior Member
                            jrs146's Avatar

                            Re: Focus question

                            Focus question
                            Quote Originally Posted by Horoscope Fish View Post
                            I just want to point out that Shake Reduction is different from Sharpening.

                            Also, the exposure of the shot is fine. It could be tweaked to personal taste's but there's nothing technically wrong with the exposure of the shot you posted. The histogram shows full dynamic range with no blown out highlights or crushed shadows; neither in the Luminance values nor in the discrete color-channels.
                            Here's another from the same time. This appears to be sharper but still not perfect.







                            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

                          • #7
                            Senior Member
                            Horoscope Fish's Avatar

                            Re: Focus question

                            Quote Originally Posted by jrs146 View Post
                            Here's another from the same time. This appears to be sharper but still not perfect.

                            Yes, that's much better; but I also think it's a bit soft. This could be a lens issue, possibly a Front/Back Focus issue.

                            Let me ask... Do you normally shoot in JPG, or do you shoot raw and process your shots? If you shoot JPG primarily, have you adjusted the Sharpness setting in the Picture Control menu for your D7100? This setting will ONLY affect your JPG photos, so if you shoot in raw there's not point in making the adjustment. If you do shoot in JPG primarily, and you haven't adjusted this setting, I strongly suggest you do so. It will have a big impact on the overall sharpness of your shots right out of the camera.
                            ~ Paul
                            ....
                            ....
                            Primary Weaponolgy :: D750 (OLPF Removed), MB-D10; Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art, Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2, Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD,
                            Nikon 85mm f/1.8G; Yongnuo 568EX, Nikon SB-700; Manfrotto X055PROB, 3-Legged Thing Airhed II... All Stuffed into a Manfrotto Pro Backpack 50
                            ....
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                            ● ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ๑۩۩๑ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ●

                          • #8
                            Senior Member
                            jrs146's Avatar

                            Re: Focus question

                            Quote Originally Posted by Horoscope Fish View Post
                            Yes, that's much better; but I also think it's a bit soft. This could be a lens issue, possibly a Front/Back Focus issue.

                            Let me ask... Do you normally shoot in JPG, or do you shoot raw and process your shots? If you shoot JPG primarily, have you adjusted the Sharpness setting in the Picture Control menu for your D7100? This setting will ONLY affect your JPG photos, so if you shoot in raw there's not point in making the adjustment. If you do shoot in JPG primarily, and you haven't adjusted this setting, I strongly suggest you do so. It will have a big impact on the overall sharpness of your shots right out of the camera.
                            This specific image is a JPG. I started using the setting where it will save in RAW & JPG at the same time, so I have a NEF file of these images. But i just realized I can't open the NEF files using Adobe Photoshop CS5 which is what I normally use. I'll have to either download the Nikon software or upgrade to a newer Photoshop I guess. I believe my sharpness setting is set to the default middle setting. Perhaps I can adjust it upward and see if that helps.

                          • #9
                            Senior Member
                            lokatz's Avatar

                            Re: Focus question

                            Quote Originally Posted by jrs146 View Post
                            I'll have to either download the Nikon software or upgrade to a newer Photoshop I guess.
                            Try upgrading CameraRaw first. That's free and should allow you to open your D7100 pics in PS CS5.
                            Lothar Katz

                            Nikon D700 - D500 - D7100 - 200-500 f/5.6 - 300 f/4 PF - 55-200 f/4-5.6 - 50mm f/1.8. Tamron 60 f/2 Macro. Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4. Tokina 12-28 f/4. Yongnou YN568. Panasonic TZ101 (a.k.a. ZN100). Photoshop CS6. Lightroom 6. DXO Optics Pro 11. Aurora HDR 2018.


                          • #10
                            Senior Member
                            Horoscope Fish's Avatar

                            Re: Focus question

                            Quote Originally Posted by jrs146 View Post
                            This specific image is a JPG. I started using the setting where it will save in RAW & JPG at the same time, so I have a NEF file of these images. But i just realized I can't open the NEF files using Adobe Photoshop CS5 which is what I normally use. I'll have to either download the Nikon software or upgrade to a newer Photoshop I guess.
                            Well if you want to process raw files, yes; that's correct.

                            .....
                            Quote Originally Posted by jrs146 View Post
                            I believe my sharpness setting is set to the default middle setting. Perhaps I can adjust it upward and see if that helps.
                            If you haven't adjusted the Sharpness setting, it's sitting on the abnormally low setting of around 2 or 3. I suggest using 7. Some people max it out to 9 but I don't think that's required, nor do I think it's optimal. Still, try it if you want, you can always go back and change the setting to whatever you want at any time. I would try adjusting this setting first since it's completely un-doable and may get you where you want to be with your shots -- easy-peasy, lemon squeezy -- and I'm all about the easy fix.

                            If this doesn't bring things up to snuff, I think you're next step would be putting the camera and lens on a tripod and doing some test shots using similar settings. The question then becomes, "Do *those* shots look soft?" If not I think you have to assume it's your technique that's causing the softeness. If they are still soft, then I think you're looking at needing to test the lens for front/back focus.

                            Your D7100 supports Auto-focus Fine Tuning, so that's good; but testing for and correcting front/back focus is kind of a PITA in my opinion, so I'm hoping you can avoid that. Still, the Nikon 18-200mm is capable of delivering much sharper shots than what you're posting here, so I'm thinking something, somewhere, is off. It could be you, it could be the lens, it could be a camera setting, it could be a combination of factors.
                            ~ Paul
                            ....
                            ....
                            Primary Weaponolgy :: D750 (OLPF Removed), MB-D10; Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art, Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2, Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD,
                            Nikon 85mm f/1.8G; Yongnuo 568EX, Nikon SB-700; Manfrotto X055PROB, 3-Legged Thing Airhed II... All Stuffed into a Manfrotto Pro Backpack 50
                            ....
                            ....
                            ● ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ๑۩۩๑ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ●





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