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Old Jul 16, 2009, 8:18 AM   #1
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Default Getting it right

I'm posting this shot to get feedback on "group shots".
I'm an adjunct instructor for a local university and I take a photo of my students so on down the road, when I hear back from them, I can pull up their class photo and connect a name with a face.

My issue with group shots is getting everyone in sharp focus and I'm not sure I'm getting that done.

Here's the story behind this photo: F5.6 1/125 iso 400, pattern focus, shot with 24-70 APO EX DG HSM Sigma F 2.8 & Canon 5d mark II. I was standing about 12 feet away.
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Old Jul 16, 2009, 8:28 AM   #2
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I also used a fill flash. It was about 7:00 pm in the evening. I am facing east, they are facing west and the sky is somewhat overcast.

I think that I should be in good shape when it comes to DOF with the settings I used. When I zoom in on this photo, (again, I'm looking for sharp photos) the guy in the red shirt has writing on his chest. It reads, "Walking for your" {This writing appears to be quite sharp, in the original}

The lady to his left is wearing a blue sweater that has writing on it "old navy 33-s" {This writing appears to be quite sharp, in the original}

But the guy to the right of the guy in the red shirt, his face looks fuzzy and blurry.

What am I doing wrong?

Is 1/125 too long? Is my dof calculation el stinko?
Very frustrating.

So please, if you have any ideas on how I can get group photo sharper, I'd really appreciate it. I know this shot is not a photo for a photo album, but one day I will be taking photos for exactly that purpose and I'd like to get my act together before then.

And I hope this last comment doesn't derail my thread. But I think I am learning that the better gear you have, doesn't mean better results. It sometimes means your flaws are more pronounced because they stick out like a sore thumb.
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Old Jul 16, 2009, 10:15 AM   #3
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I personally would have shot this at something like f7.1 or f8 to get them in focus.

The 'problem' with a FF camera like the 5D over a APS-C sensor or the even smaller 4/3s is that dof is more shallow for the same field of view and aperture settings. This being the case it does mean that you have to compensate more.

So yes having the best kit isn't always the easiest but if you keep up the practise then you will start to get some really nice results.
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Old Jul 16, 2009, 10:55 AM   #4
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Mark1616, thanks for the reply.

Are the other camera settings accurate for the situation I described?

Do you see more out of focus than just the one face that I pointed out?

Thanks.
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Old Jul 16, 2009, 2:10 PM   #5
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The settings will work fine apart from aperture, but with a small photo I can't tell if it is OOF or not.
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Old Jul 16, 2009, 10:43 PM   #6
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I do the same. I use aperture priority on my Pentax K10D and KM...f 8...is my common setting.
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Old Jul 18, 2009, 5:19 PM   #7
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Apart from the technical settings, I'm not sure about that bush. Is it a member of the group? Otherwise why is it standing in the middle?
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Old Jul 20, 2009, 8:07 AM   #8
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That bush is known to the students as "George" as in George Bush. His father is at another entrance to the building. They wanted the photo to include George. What a hoot.
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Old Jul 20, 2009, 2:38 PM   #9
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Oh so that's George? I've heard all about him. It all makes sense now.
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Old Jul 20, 2009, 8:12 PM   #10
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The way I see is the camera's focus is on the 'bush'... You can see how sharp the plant container is (So without the EXIF info I'm just guessing here)! http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

According to the DOF calculator (@ 70mm, f/5.6, and 12ft away) the sharpness will be within 1.33ft from the front to 1.7ft behind the focus plane:
-> So if the person in red is more than 1.7ft behind the front of the middle plant container then he should be out of focus

Last edited by NHL; Jul 20, 2009 at 8:15 PM.
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