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Old Mar 28, 2005, 9:36 PM   #1
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I am preparing to do studio work, which will be taking pictures of one person at a time, maybe two and I need help with focusing the 20D (got dyslexic with the title). I am not crazy about the full auto focus (the nine little squares). And I have been just using that center square, which is like a spot focus, but I am just wondering how other people use their focusing for doing portraits.

I wish I could use that big circle in the center for the focal point, and then move the camera into position and take the picture. That square (the center one) is just too small. And, while I did read the f*manual.... if I am correct, I can use the 9 point auto focus, I can choose one of those 9 squares or I have to manual focus (which I have been doing with great success, but I would like the camera to do the work), is there any other type of focus that I am missing?
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Old Mar 29, 2005, 12:57 AM   #2
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Hi Nancy,

Personally I try to avoid using focus-recompose unless I'm shooting from a fair distance away or have lots of DOF. Take a look at this article regarding the problem with the "focus-recompose" technique, you might find it helpful:

http://visual-vacations.com/Photogra...pose_sucks.htm

I find the auto-selection of a focus point annoying when taking a photo of anyone willing to sit still for me, and usually find manually selecting a focus point works best. Itry to get the focus target on the pupil that I want sharp.



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Old Mar 29, 2005, 1:42 AM   #3
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Thanks for the help, Bob. I pretty much figured that the focus recompose wasn't the best route to take. But don't you find it annoying to have to selecta specific focus point on the camera when you attention should be on the subject? And, one more question, I plan on photographing children in the studio, and I usually have a time period where I let them run around (of course I have to tell them not to go too close to the seamless and stay on it and not run off to the sides), should I just use all 9 auto focus points with the "AI Focus" or the "AI servo"? What would be my other options. I think I have mentioned this before, and I am sure you can tell, I am very new to autofocus, and I have never used an slr/dslr with autofocus before. All of my cameras in the past were manual focus, but I would like to master the autofocus on my 20D.
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Old Mar 29, 2005, 2:46 AM   #4
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I've not done this in a studio, but I have taken lots of photos with kids running around so...

I just use the 9-point & One Shot focus mode and take lots of photos. I find that the AF gets it right 90% of the time and as it's digital those throw-aways don't cost anything to process except the time it takes you to delete them from your computer.

I was having some poor results on single-point AF with focus recompose until I saw the light. For still subjects I compose and then select the AF point and things are much better.

For large moving targets like children I just switch to 9-point and let the camera do the work. For small moving targets like birds I use the centre AF point only.
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Old Mar 29, 2005, 6:32 AM   #5
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I've had mixed results myself focusing the 20D.I try and use just the center square and focus using it alone.Sometimes the shots are in focus and sometime there not.This was one thing I never had any problems with when using my film cameras.Is there any way to consistantly get the shots in focus? I used to love my split screen as all I had to do was match something with lines up and voila infocus! I did some small leaves in the snow and took 2 or 3 shots and none of them were in focus.I am wondering If I should use more depth of field to try and get more of the scene in focus instead.What are your thoughts on this?
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Old Mar 29, 2005, 6:36 AM   #6
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I am having a difficult time focusing my 20D also as i use the center square alone to focus.Some of the shots are in focus and a lot are not.I used to use a split screen on my film cameras and always had great success,at least with the focusing anyway.Is there a good way to consistantly get good well focused shots?

Also do you think by using more depth of field would I have more success?Let me know your thoughts on this as I am getting slightly frustrated by many out of focus shots. Thanks
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Old Mar 29, 2005, 9:27 AM   #7
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Yup, the focus point selection takes a bit of timeand is sometimes difficult unless the shots are posed. For snaps of my kids when they don't sit still I use the center focus point and more depth of field (i.e., f8 )... and yes, for these situations I sometimes have to do a bit of focus-recompose.



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Old Mar 30, 2005, 12:01 AM   #8
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I also miss that split screen focus. It is too bad we can't change the focus screens like with most pro slrs, but I am sure I will get the hang of it. Also I think if I had a faster lens (f2.8, let's say) I would be able to see more in my viewfinder and I could focus easier, so that might be the way to go for me in the studio, even though with my strobes I am stopping down to at least f8. I would like to thank everyone for their responses and I will post my headshot shoot at the end of the weekend.
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Old Mar 30, 2005, 1:09 AM   #9
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I understand how you feel.

My first SLR was an Olympus OM-1 (still my favorite camera of all time), which didn't come with split screen, and just had that shimmering glass type of center spot (forget what it was called). By the time I got out of University my eyesight wasn't as good and I installed a split-screen, which I loved.

As my glasses got thicker and my subjects got more fidgety (kids), I just couldn't focus fast enough even with the split screen and had to trade in my OM-1 on an Elan II. It wasn't a tough transition since it only has three focus points (not overwhelming). However, I really like the choice of focus points on the 20D for taking "still" pictures, but for just picking up the camera and taking snaps it's easier to use the center point (which would be like the spllit-screen choice anyway) or do as peripatetic does and let the camera choose the focus point(s) and snap away.



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Old Mar 31, 2005, 8:22 PM   #10
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I think for movement shots you just need to let the camera do the work, esp with children moving about. You set it to continuous autofocus AI Focus or Servo and let the camera track the darn kids. I like AI focus so I can do the recompose if I have to. On servo it just keeps refocusing.
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