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What am I doing wrong (5 images)
History - Fashio show low light photography. I chose to shoot at a 400 ISO f 2.8 at a speed between 160 and 200. This gave me the correct exposure. I am using an XTi and the canon 70-200mm 2.8 with IS turned on. Standing on stool with a monopod. I was working really hard to get the focus point on the models face.



The end result often looks fuzzy and out of fucus. What am I doing wrong. I don't think it is the noise because some of the dress is in focus..

Things possibilities I can think of. -.

* ISO is giving me noise* I am moving the camera when I press the shutter button.

* Speed is to low for models movement I need to boos the ISO to 800 and up the speed.

* 2.8 is to open and since I am shooting at a distance if focus is slightly off I am getting an image slightly out of focus.

Here are three examples.Click the image to get the full size.

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Thanks..

Comments (11)

They look pretty good to me, and I put the bottom one into Photoshop Elements and hit autosharpen, and the face got even better..

The Charleston dress seems to be moving, and then frozen, with the fringe swaying..

So, you've accomplished a lot considering the conditions..

If it was me, I'd raise ISO to 800 and stop down to f3.5 and boost the shutter speed a half stop, just to grab a tiny bit of benefit, twice..

And you're on an angle in some of the shots. If you tied a string to your lens and stetched it to a belly button, and hten lift the string and tried to reach a nose, you'd be a foot or so short, I'd bet..

That's quite a distance as far as depth of field at f2.8 on a 200mm lens goes..

You seem to be more straight on for some shorts than for others..

BAK..

Comment #1

Thanks yeah I did move teh focal "red dot" to the top so it was on the face and not the navel..

Thanks YEah I am going to neat image remove noise and sharpen, that helps alot. Jsut wasnt' sure if it was an equipment or a user problem...

Comment #2

First off I think you have done pretty well, all things considered. That black background is deeply unfortunate, and the lack of any clip lighting to separate the models from it hasn't done you any favours in the "apparent" sharpness stakes..

Martin Fahrer wrote:.

Snip.

* ISO is giving me noise.

Nah. Noise is entirely separate from sharpness loss, unless any noise reduction that's done is inappropriately strong..

* I am moving the camera when I press the shutter button.

That's possible. Enlarge up your originals to see if there is any "directionality" in the blur as perceived..

* Speed is too low for model's movement I need to boost the ISO to 800and up the speed.

Yes, could be. Generally speaking noise is more acceptable than blur. In any case, noise matters a whole lot less if the images are meant for repro in mags and newspapers, because the 4-colour screening process masks it, and actually works slightly better with a bit of noise.. (stand by for a flaming!).

* 2.8 is too open and since I am shooting at a distance if focus isslightly off I am getting an image slightly out of focus.

Yes, although I don't think distance is a factor that is also possible. Mostly if the face is sharp, the whole shot will look tolerable.... indeed, a little motion blur in the hands and feet can look attractive..

Thanks.

You're welcome. I hope you are reassured, 'coz they are far from failure, I think.Regards,Baz..

Comment #3

The rule of thumb you have quoted, and has been quoted to death is that the reciprocal of the lens is the shutter speed to use. Two comments on this:.

1) With a crop factor sensor, you have to add that in so your lens has to be treated like a 320 lens, so now 1/320 is the minimum speed you are looking at. I know you have IS and I'll get to that..

2) The rule I was taught was to two times the reciprocal factor of the lens, so now you will treat your lens as though it was a 640 lens, so 1/640..

I don't rely on IS as much as other's as I have found it just doesn't seem to work as well as advertised - your experience bears that out. With IS I still will use "my" formula which is speed = reciprocal of 1.5X lens/crop factor. So in your case I would have set the speed at around 1/500th - difficult in low lighting settings. So if I can't set it at 1/500th, I goes as low as I possibly can with higher ISO to stay as close as I can to that figure..

You said - "Focus is set at IA Servo" - which could be your problem. Somewhere today I read an interesting discussion about IA Servo and how one shouldn't use it, only as a last resort. With AI Servo there are minute changes in focus and you don't really know what is going on. My rule is - "Either you control the camera, or it controls you." The advantage of controlling the camera is at least you know or can try and figure out what went wrong; when the camera is in charge, you don't always know the thinking. If I could remember where I read the "AI Servo" discussion, I would provide a link to it, but can't..

If I were shooting your event, I would have put the camera in centre spot, but not any more. When I am shooting verticals, I moved the focus point to the top of the oval, more to hit the face if I can..

I think your images are "reasonable" and some of the problems like shadow on the arm in the first photo can be fixed in elements..

NextRationally I have no hope, irrationally I believe in miracles.Joni Mitchell..

Comment #4

Joni aren't those rules for hand holding your camera ?? I was on a monopod..

I do agree that I will take it off IA Servo set it to one spot. Could be part of the issue. I do have the focus spot where you are suggesting...

Comment #5

You might want to increase the exposure by a stop on the first image as her hair does blend into the background a little. Either increase the aperture, the background may lighten a little. What kind of metering were you using?.

The 3rd image looks pretty good to me...

Comment #6

Minolta Spot meter. Manual.

I have better exposed ones but these show the focus noise problem the best...

Comment #7

Martin Fahrer wrote:.

Minolta Spot meter. Manual.

I have better exposed ones but these show the focus noise problem thebest..

Could try zooming in more and using centre weigthed to get the whole head. lock in exposure and then zoom back out. Alterantively zoom out with your spot first for a similar effect...

Comment #8

At 200m where I am standing (at the back of the audience) I am getting full body..

Just the cosntraints I work under for this type of a shoot. The photographer is to stay out of the way of the audience paying to see the event. and I woud rather have the control of manual and use the spot...

Comment #9

Everything depends on the usage of the images..

I for one though would raise the ISO up to around 800 and slow down the shutter speed to let some ambiant light bleed in as well and yes have the focus dot on the face.'The moment you think your great is the moment you quit learning.'http://www.gawalters.com..

Comment #10

There was a good article on how to stand with a monopod. I do know if you hold hit in the traditional fashion, one hand on the camera and one hand on the monopod, it can almost be as unsteady as no monopod..

Http://www.outdooreyes.com/photo5.php3.

I use a monopod a fair bit and only learned of these techniques. My monopod wasn't as steady as I would have liked..

Here is link to Joni Mitchell:.

Http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgMEPk6fvpgRationally I have no hope, irrationally I believe in miracles.Joni Mitchell..

Comment #11

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