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Focusing with Canon EOS 5D Mark II

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damircudic
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:15AM

Hi everybody.


Can you please tell me your suggestions and techniques of focusing with Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, especialy with wide apertures (f/2.8 and wider), long focal distances (120+mm) and when focusing point is out of focusing points of camera. For example, how to get very sharp eyes when they are out of focusing points of camera when you photograph a person and use above settings. Using recomposing technique gives unsharp focusing object.


Thank you very much in advance.
Whiteway
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:50AM
Use the centre focussing cross whenever you can. It is the most sensitive.

Point the centre cross at your subject; half-depress the release button; swing the camera to frame your subject as you wish. Then complete depressing the release button. (This is your recomposing technique.)

If you are very close to a subject, so that focus on the eyes is critical, then you will probably have moved while focussing and recomposing the subject. To me, that's down to trial and error. Take a number of shots, being as careful as you can.

If you can arrange your subject so that you can support the camera comfortably while composing and then recomposing the shot, that could help, too.

Another possibility might be to focus using the centre cross and then do your composition in post-processing. Not ideal, but it might be better than missing focus all the time.
secablue
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:25AM
Posted By Whiteway:
Use the centre focussing cross whenever you can. It is the most sensitive.

Point the centre cross at your subject; half-depress the release button; swing the camera to frame your subject as you wish. Then complete depressing the release button. (This is your recomposing technique.)

If you are very close to a subject, so that focus on the eyes is critical, then you will probably have moved while focussing and recomposing the subject. To me, that's down to trial and error. Take a number of shots, being as careful as you can.

If you can arrange your subject so that you can support the camera comfortably while composing and then recomposing the shot, that could help, too.

Another possibility might be to focus using the centre cross and then do your composition in post-processing. Not ideal, but it might be better than missing focus all the time.

What he said
damircudic
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:30AM
Whiteway, thank you for your reply. I think you didn't understand me. I know that central fosuing point is most sensitive (it is sensitive verticaly and horizontaly), but I can't use it and recomposing the frame, because I'll lost focus (focus plate will not be on eyes anymore). I want pin sharp eyes of the person wich is 3-4m away from me, lens is EF 70-200 L IS, and the eyes are out of focusing points of camera.

(Edited on 2012-07-25 02:31:27 by damircudic)

(Edited on 2012-07-25 02:35:50 by damircudic)
Whiteway
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:13AM
You should read past the recomposing bit and see if any of the further suggestions can help.

Now that you've said which lens you are using - I would add, use a less clumsy lens. Something like an 85mm / f1.8, perhaps.
damircudic
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:19AM
Whiteway - I've tried everything you said. The lens is not the problem (I use a lot of them). Problem is camera's focusing system in my opinion. It has only 9 focusing points and they are all located in center of the frame. Thank you for your time.
secablue
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:30AM

think about the re-composition... the focal plane usually moves in an arc when you re-compose, so next time try this - don't simply focus and twist your neck/camera to re-compose... keep the camera's sensor moving through a flat plane.


Such as this shot which was using centre focal point with 5D2, 100mmL @ f3.5... I focused on her right eye:


file_thumbview_approve 


The other question that springs to mind is this... if you are shooting with a 70-200... why do you want to keep it at f2.8 or smaller?   Sure, if it is low light and hand held, makes sense, but again if you have IS you can use a slightly higher fstop and still achieve acceptable DOF, I have used my 70-200 f4 L down to 1/30sec @180mmFL, recomposed, and still with perfect sharpness with nice DOF...


file_thumbview_approve 


okay, so you may have your reasons for small fstop, lenses, etc all I am saying is that re-composition using centre focal point can be done on the 5D2


Hope this gives you hope! :P
damircudic
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:35AM

Secablue - thank you for your response. Yes, I use your technique #1 too, and it gives me better results than recomposing the frame. I'm trying everything not move the focal plane. It's very hard when focusing point is out of camera's points. That's the reason I asked for others photographers practices. The reason for f/2.8 you asked is mostly blur in the background, but i often need to stop down the aperture (f/4) for better focusing.


Thank you for your advice.
Whiteway
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:49AM
Posted By damircudic:
...Problem is camera's focusing system in my opinion...

Since others don't seem to have the same issue quite as badly, then maybe your particular camera body needs adjusting for that tele-lens?
damircudic
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:20AM
Posted By Whiteway:

Posted By damircudic:
...Problem is camera's focusing system in my opinion...


Since others don't seem to have the same issue quite as badly, then maybe your particular camera body needs adjusting for that tele-lens?

No, don't understand me wrong. My camera is working and focusing excellent. I get extremly sharp images with it, but in general, 5D MkII is using old focusing system from 2004 and it has only 9 center located f-points which complicates focusing non-center objects. I just wanted to know other photographer's techniques they use in the same situation.
kbwills
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:41AM
use live view and focus manually with screen zoomed to appropriate part of subject?
sjlocke
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:02AM

Posted By Whiteway:
Use the centre focussing cross whenever you can. It is the most sensitive.

Point the centre cross at your subject; half-depress the release button; swing the camera to frame your subject as you wish. Then complete depressing the release button. (This is your recomposing technique.)


I shoot wide open with my 70-200 all the time and have no problems focusing at center and recomposing.
4x6
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:58AM
I personally would use live view with camera on tripod. I get consistently sharp images with live view on the 5D Mark II 70-200 L. Although I shoot on F9, so I'm not sure how well live view would work on F2.8.

(Edited on 2012-07-25 10:59:21 by 4x6)
kelvinjay
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:02PM

Posted By sjlocke:

Posted By Whiteway:
Use the centre focussing cross whenever you can. It is the most sensitive.

Point the centre cross at your subject; half-depress the release button; swing the camera to frame your subject as you wish. Then complete depressing the release button. (This is your recomposing technique.)


I shoot wide open with my 70-200 all the time and have no problems focusing at center and recomposing.


Likewise. I'm always having to shoot portraits wide open on my 5d2 and this isn't a problem I encounter with any great regularity.
damircudic
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:10PM
Thank you very much for your suggestions.
DWithers
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:26PM
Are you using the "one shot" AF mode? 
damircudic
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Posted Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:01PM
Posted By DWithers:
Are you using the "one shot" AF mode?


When shooting static objects, yes.
YinYang
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Posted Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:08PM
Not sure why you are having so much trouble focusing, I use same lens and camera, regularly use the center point for focusing and recomposing, shooting portrait at about your distance, never had much problem with focusing and sharpness, it should not be that difficult to do, just make sure you do not move the camera front and back too much after locking the focusing distance, that is about all I have to do for my shoots.
damircudic
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Posted Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:29PM
Posted By YinYang:
Not sure why you are having so much trouble focusing, I use same lens and camera, regularly use the center point for focusing and recomposing, shooting portrait at about your distance, never had much problem with focusing and sharpness, it should not be that difficult to do, just make sure you do not move the camera front and back too much after locking the focusing distance, that is about all I have to do for my shoots.


Thank you very much for response. Do you shoot wide open (f/2.8)? Do you use or not use IS? Please don't understand me wrong. I get very sharp images with this camera and lens, but sometimes when I use center point and recomposing, I loose focus (If I've been focusing on eyes, I got sharp nose, or eyebrows). I'll be more careful and not move the camera too much. Thanks again.
YinYang
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Posted Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:10PM

Yes, in many occasion, I shoot wide open, yes, the DOF will be short, but you should be able to achieve good sharp focus without too much difficulty, yes I do use IS almost always. In some situation, I use strobe or speedlight as main or supplement light source, with could in some cases help to avoid camera shakes, but that should have no effect on focus issue.


The trick is not to move your camera to subject distance after you lock focus, any body sway of say 1" (forward or backward) would move your focus from your eyes to the nose, recomposing however if done carefully should not change the distance in significantly, you DOF even at f2.8 should be able to cover a small amount of slack, at least for me.
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