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focusing and SLR
I notice that in a lot of portrait shots, only the subject is in focus. Is it possible to have everything in focus?.

For instance, let's say I have a person about 10 feet away from me. I notice that with slr shots that person will be in focus but everything around them will not. is it possible to shoot so that everything in the entire picture is in focus? if so how?.

Edit.. I just did some thinking. would having the lens at the widest angle help? let's say I zoomed in a bit.. would I still be able to have everything in focus?..

Comments (8)

Well, let me start by explaining that portion of what's in focus in the is called the Depth-of-Field. Now your DOF is primarily determined by three factors:.

Focal Length (actual, not equivalent) - Longer focal lengths have shallower DOF. Shorter Focal Lengths have deeper DOF (assuming all else is equal).

Distance to subject ~ At the hyperfocal (infinity), everything at and beyond this point will be in relative focus..

F-Stop - Wider relative apertures (lower F-stop number) have a shallower DOF; Narrower apertures (higher f-stop number) have deeper DOF (again assuming all else is equal)..

Comment #1

Oscar Mach wrote:.

I notice that in a lot of portrait shots, only the subject is infocus..

Which in most portraits is a good thing! But anyway....

Is it possible to have everything in focus?.

Well, not "everything", and not exactly "in focus" (only within a tolerable limit) but you can certainly increase the:.

Depth Of Field.

^^^ This is the subject you need to study up on. Google away, and also follow the links that others will undoubtedly post here..

For instance, let's say I have a person about 10 feet away from me.i notice that with slr shots that person will be in focus buteverything around them will not..

It's not because it's an SLR (as opposed to a compact point & shoot camera) (well it sort of is, but let's not overcomplicate things at the start)..

It's about aperture. The opening in the lens, and how wide it is..

Wide aperture = shallow depth of fieldNarrow aperture = greater depth of field, more things in focus..

Very often you will find that in the shots you are looking at, the photographer has deliberately chosen to use a wider aperture (and correspondingly faster shutter speed) to achieve exactly that effect..

Is it possible to shoot so thateverything in the entire picture is in focus? if so how?.

Close the aperture down as far as you can. You will need a slower shutter speed. This is what landscape photographers do because they usually want most of the photo to be in focus (or close to it)..

This is not a free lunch.- Many lenses do not perform at their best at extreme apertures.

- You have to extend the shitter speed, and the available light may not permit this / or you may introduce camera shake..

But yes, it can be done. You just need to learn about depth of field..

It can be a complex subject (just wait until you see some of the responses you will undoubtedly get!), but the basics are not hard to grasp..

Edit.. I just did some thinking. would having the lens at the widestangle help? let's say I zoomed in a bit.. would I still be able tohave everything in focus?.

No. Simply changing the focal length will not help..

Well - it does, sort of. For a given aperture, a lens will give greater depth of field at the shorter focal lengths. So yes, physically moving in closer with a wider lens will help to some extent. Zooming in will definitely not help - in fact it will ahve the reverse effect..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #2

The simple answer to your question is yes..

You need to check the settings on your camera. Odds are the apeture setting was very low (F2.8 - F4). This is the hole in the lens. It will let more light in, but won't give as much control over what is in focus..

A larger apeture (F8 - F11) will get most everything in focus. You should probably try shooting in Apeture mode to make sure of this. If you shoot in full auto the camera will make those decisions for you (and sometimes it guesses wrong)..

Here is a website that will let you simulate camera settings so you can see how apeture will affect your focus..

Http://www.photonhead.com/simcam/.

Hope this helps...

Comment #3

Awesome. thank you for all the replies. I came to this question because I am just starting into SLR photography from p&s and with the p&s it usually catches everything in focus...

Comment #4

Arrowman wrote:.

- You have to extend the shitter speed, and the available light maynot permit this / or you may introduce camera shake..

I would have though that sitting on the shitter would help with camera shake?.

Seen in a fortune cookie:Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed..

Comment #5

Incidentally, the reason why your point & shoot had such a large depth of field is because it's smaller sensor needs much shorter focal lengths to achieve the same "Field of View" as the larger sensor in a DSLR..

Oscar Mach wrote:.

Awesome. thank you for all the replies. I came to this questionbecause I am just starting into SLR photography from p&s and with thep&s it usually catches everything in focus...

Comment #6

Nickleback wrote:.

I would have though that sitting on the shitter would help withcamera shake?.

Oh, I make that typo so often! And I usually catch and correct it before posting!.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #7

Remind your self-what is the subject of a portrait pic? is it the person and everything around him/her? or the person only? normally a true protrait as opposed to a family snapshot or an area snapshot are 3 totaly different situations..

You the photographer has to decide before the shot - what it is that you are trying to take a picture of. is it the person only? that is a true portrait in which you want the dof limited to just the person. is it the person and the surroundings which may include the background and other people as well? if this is the case then you want to shoot at f11.0-16.0 for a large dof so everything can be scene..

You have to set the dof to get the image and effect you want in the final picture...

Comment #8

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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