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Thread: how to take sharp portrait?

  1. #1
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    Default how to take sharp portrait?

    I find that I have problem taking portrait of human very sharply.

    I focus lock on the eyes, then re-compose, but I suspect by doing so, OOF photos will come out due to my poor hand technique.

    Or is it my lens? using 18-200 (not blaming equipment, just suggesting)

    I am thinking if I change the focus point on the camera , so that I need not focus lock and then re-compose, is it the right method?

    I saw many sharp photos of human portrait here and in magazine, can expert advise me how to achieve that?

  2. #2
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    what is your f-stop?
    what is your speed?

    Most of the time is due to too slow speed and hands shake.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    with flash, thus, usually at 1/60, f5.6.

    sometimes, 1/30....but let's discuss 1/60 , f5.6 here first....

    If I focus lock on the eyes, when I re-compose, I am very likely to slightly shift the distance between the subject and camera right? this will result in OOF images?

  4. #4

    Exclamation Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    Dear paul,


    Please check :

    - Your len's maximum close focusing distance.Nikonusa states that the 18-200 max close focus is 50cm. You could be standing too close to your subject and your lens is unable to autofocus.

    - Stop down your f-stop to between f8-16. Depends on your taste on how much dept of field.

    - Using a nikon dslr, you either focus on the eye by holding the shutter release button half-way, then without lifting your finger, recompose. You can also use the AF lock button if theres any.
    An easier way, is to turn of your autofocus and use manual focus.




    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_Yeo
    I find that I have problem taking portrait of human very sharply.

    I focus lock on the eyes, then re-compose, but I suspect by doing so, OOF photos will come out due to my poor hand technique.

    Or is it my lens? using 18-200 (not blaming equipment, just suggesting)

    I am thinking if I change the focus point on the camera , so that I need not focus lock and then re-compose, is it the right method?

    I saw many sharp photos of human portrait here and in magazine, can expert advise me how to achieve that?
    Last edited by COBALT; 31st December 2005 at 01:08 PM.

  5. #5
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_Yeo
    with flash, thus, usually at 1/60, f5.6.

    sometimes, 1/30....but let's discuss 1/60 , f5.6 here first....

    If I focus lock on the eyes, when I re-compose, I am very likely to slightly shift the distance between the subject and camera right? this will result in OOF images?
    Using 18~200, at 200mm, using 1/60, don't you think is abit too slow speed to use? unless you have a pair strong hands, or camera mount on tripod. f5.6 is fine generally, not too shallow until only one eye sharp.

    Btw, most lens can have min focus distant of 30cm, you're not shooting closer than this right?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    I dont think paul is using the nikon 18-200. he's using the tamron version IIRC. and he shd be on canon?

  7. #7

    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaiahfortythirtyone
    I dont think paul is using the nikon 18-200. he's using the tamron version IIRC. and he shd be on canon?
    His profile says D2x leh...

  8. #8

    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    Since you're on a D2x, u hv the luxury of AF choices. Here's to share an article I just read on "focus and recompose" using center point AF. Just for your reference only.

  9. #9

    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    I think it's a lens issue. Usually pictures that turn out very sharp are in most cases not rendered by superzooms. Try a prime, it should turn out much sharper at exactly the same settings.

    Superzooms offer convenience but not quality. Equipment obviously matters, else people won't invest in equipment and everyone would be using a pinhole or a PnS. Consumer-grade equipment like superzooms and PnSs can produce great shots, within a limited range of conditions and genres.
    My Personal Folio (of random events and things)

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    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    Post a pic then we can pinpoint the prob, right now is all speculation.

  11. #11
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaiahfortythirtyone
    I dont think paul is using the nikon 18-200. he's using the tamron version IIRC. and he shd be on canon?
    Did he mention Nikon?
    Did I mention Nikon?

    Nothing to do with Nikon, Canon, Tamron or what whoever, if it is a poor camera handling technique, using Laica also no use.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    Npnt

  13. #13

    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    Most lenses today are of very high standard, so it's not normally the equipment.

    Causes of blurry photos are

    a. Camera shake
    b. Subject movement
    c. Wrong focus point

    The 1st two are obvious, for the third, there are many possible causes for these faults, eg. wrong focus point by user, camera focus not calibrated or not sensitive enough, lens not properly calibrated, etc.

    You want to know for sure? Test your equipment on a tripod with a still life, eliminate a and b, so you can determine if c is the cause, and if so, what caused c.


    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_Yeo
    I find that I have problem taking portrait of human very sharply.

    I focus lock on the eyes, then re-compose, but I suspect by doing so, OOF photos will come out due to my poor hand technique.

    Or is it my lens? using 18-200 (not blaming equipment, just suggesting)

    I am thinking if I change the focus point on the camera , so that I need not focus lock and then re-compose, is it the right method?

    I saw many sharp photos of human portrait here and in magazine, can expert advise me how to achieve that?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    Here's the EXIF and a sample unsharp snap shot of a friend of mine.

    Nikon D2X
    2005/10/29 16:42:16.6
    JPEG (8-bit) Normal
    Image Size: 3216 x 2136
    Lens: 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 G
    Focal Length: 75mm
    Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
    Metering Mode: Center-Weighted
    1/125 sec - F/6.3
    Exposure Comp.: +0.7 EV
    Sensitivity: ISO 640
    Optimize Image:
    White Balance: Auto -1
    AF Mode: AF-S
    Flash Sync Mode: Not Attached
    Color Mode: Mode I (sRGB)
    Tone Comp: Normal
    Hue Adjustment: 0
    Saturation: Normal
    Sharpening: High
    Image Comment:
    Noise Reduction: OFF


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    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    I am using Tamron 18-200 AF Asperical XR Di II IF 3.5-6.3 , Nikon Mount.

    Yes, I go for convenience and thus consumer lens.

    But I believe it is most likely my technique (handshake?)

  16. #16

    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    Hi paul,

    Thanks for posting the picture in question. It certainly does look rather soft.

    I think its most likely either caused by camera shake or wrong focus point.

    While you may prefer using AF for convenience (maybe?), i suggest switching to Manual focus and using the dept of field preview button to gauge dept of field.

    also, firing a few shots and reviewing them on the 2.5inch LCD to verify sharpness.



    cheers!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    I am using AF and 18-200 for convenience as I dun want to bring out or buy too many lenses.

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    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_Yeo
    Here's the EXIF and a sample unsharp snap shot of a friend of mine.
    Maybe it's because the image is scaled down, but the picture looks sharp to me.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    sharpness looks alrite to me also. print it 4R shouldn't be any problem, for web use, a little USM should be good also.

    btw the hair around the neck looks sharper then the eyes, but not seeing it @ 100% can't really tell.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: how to take sharp portrait?

    sharpness looks ok. im quite impressed by the bokeh. looks quite decent. a little under perhaps?

    shinken: you've opened a pandora's box with your link.

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