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Thread: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

  1. #1
    Member dlareg's Avatar
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    Default Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    Hi,

    Ive started Portrait shoot last week. I'm Using D90 with 85mm f/1.4, but most of the my photos are out of focus... I like the bokeh of 85mm f/1.4 but i don't know how to fully utilized its function. ;

    Here's a sample of my shot: (out of focus on the eyes)



    Can somebody give me an advise how i can improve my portrait shooting using 85mm f/1.4...

    Whats the correct settings....

    Hope to here from your advices....

    Thanks
    Last edited by dlareg; 14th June 2010 at 11:31 PM.
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  2. #2
    Member axis90x's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    what i see was the focus point was on the ear and hair..
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    Can't tell as photo is too small, whether it's totally OOF or there might be some handshake as well, but her right ear does look sharper than her right eye.

    What I remembered when using short tele ultra large aperture lenses when doing close-ups as that shown in the sample photo is focus on the eye closest to photograher then CLOSE down enough to get the ENTIRE eye and just slightly beyond sharp.

    Shooting totally wide open at f/1 - 1.4 usually does not cut it as there's not enough DOF or margin for error/subject AND photographer movement, and many wide aperture lenses are not resolving at their highest wide open.

  4. #4
    Member voxies09's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    if using wide open f1.4 in daylight, i believe if you are using AV, the shutter speed will be 1/1000 and dont know if handshake will cause the OOF?
    Canon Kiss X4 | 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS II Kit lens | 50mm f1.8

  5. #5

    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by voxies09 View Post
    if using wide open f1.4 in daylight, i believe if you are using AV, the shutter speed will be 1/1000 and dont know if handshake will cause the OOF?
    It's VERY hard to get handshake blur with a 1/1000s shutter speed.

    TS: What most likely happened is that you pre-focused, then you or the model moved without you refocusing.

    I suggest you learn how to use the other focus points on your camera.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    Can't tell as photo is too small, whether it's totally OOF or there might be some handshake as well, but her right ear does look sharper than her right eye.

    What I remembered when using short tele ultra large aperture lenses when doing close-ups as that shown in the sample photo is focus on the eye closest to photograher then CLOSE down enough to get the ENTIRE eye and just slightly beyond sharp.

    Shooting totally wide open at f/1 - 1.4 usually does not cut it as there's not enough DOF or margin for error/subject AND photographer movement, and many wide aperture lenses are not resolving at their highest wide open.
    should be OOF ba, not quite possible to have handshake because the shutter speed was 1/4000.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    yup agreed with dream merchant.

    i made the same mistake many times. Many a time, amateur photogs will make this mistake : they think when they get a lens at f1.8/f1.4 they will try to shoot wide open to get the best bokeh. They will think " hey since i got a wide aperture of 1.4 why shoot at anything narrower? Bokeh will be less at narrower apertures what.. "

    But thats not the case. Wide apertures lenses tend to have a narrow depth of field. Minute movements, handshake will cause the focus to be on the wrong places and this is what the TS is experiencing.

    I think TS should shoot at least at f4 or f5.6 at least to ensure good focus on the foreground subject. Likewise experiment with your settings and different apertures and not just use one fixed aperture with different composition.

    Im using Canon and from what i know their LCD is very deceiving in terms of color and sharpness. It may appear relatively sharp and useable on the LCD but only when transferred to a PC will the flaw be uncovered. Im not sure if Nikon has this problem.

    I feel that even shooting at f4 for a f1.8 lens, the bokeh will suffice for shooting models.

    Just my humble opinion.
    Last edited by hotchoco1ate; 15th June 2010 at 12:29 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    Even at 1/1000th of a second shutter speed, hand shake, or rather, movement from breathing, if it occurs along a transverse plane (back and forth) or worse, combination erratic transverse and transverse rotational movement can be enough to cause OOF issues not because of the shake per se, but because the movement was enough to cause the sensor plane to end up OUTSIDE of the lens's ultra-thin plane of focus when using extremely large apertures. The movement(s) may also be from the subject so it can be a double whammy.

    Think of the focusing problems which macro shooters have when working at 1:1 or larger and they are breathing (if camera is hand-held) or there's the slightest breeze to move a leaf or petal.

    Rashkae brought up a very valid point.

    HOW exactly did you focus and shoot?

    Compose-focus-lock-re-compose will not work at closer range, and errors will show up glaringly with short tele and tele lenses if you're shooting close-ups that way.

    Also remember that with 85mm wide aperture lenses, there is another problem called 'focus-shift' when stopped down, but that's a different scenario from your situation.
    Last edited by Dream Merchant; 15th June 2010 at 01:05 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    I have the same experience using my f1.4 lens too :P. You don't have to shoot at f1.4 all the time since you can already blur the background nicely at f2.8 or even f4. Your photos are also sharper as you stop down (until around f8 or f11). My case is even worse than yours because my lens front-focuses @.@
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    my guess maybe the model moved slightly into that slanted position.

    TS did u crop the pic? if you didnt crop and intention was to go for head-shot as per the photo above, f1.4 at that distance is not recommended. for head shots something in the f4 region would be more suitable. for f1.4 you need to stand quite far more like half body to full body shot.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    had the same problem as a newbie when i got a 50 f1.4.... used it wide open to shoot a plate of fried rice from the side... in the end only a few grains of the rice are in focus

  12. #12

    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    Front-back focusing issue with your lens?

    The pic is taken at 1/4000 speed, so it cannot be hand shake/wrong breathing technique. Most likely its because the photographer or the model shifted after focus lock, but before pressing the shutter that causes it, given the razor thin dof

  13. #13
    Senior Member Numnumball's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    TS, i have that lens as well and i honestly admit its quite a tough one to tame.. As the Dof is so thin at wide open, I will use spot AF and single focal point to nail a shot. With time and practice, ur technique will improve. And you dont have to shoot wide open, stop down alittle and practice more before u think u can nail the exposure spot on at wide open. To add, The AF will not be that accurate if u shoot quickly or when u re-compose with the use of AF lock etc.. With practice, u can get there.. ultimately.. HTH
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    Senior Member sinned79's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    u can try shooting at f2?

    i dun know about 85mm f1.4 but my 35mm f1.4's sweet point is f2 or f2.8 depending on situations.

  15. #15
    Member dlareg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by Numnumball View Post
    TS, i have that lens as well and i honestly admit its quite a tough one to tame.. As the Dof is so thin at wide open, I will use spot AF and single focal point to nail a shot. With time and practice, ur technique will improve. And you dont have to shoot wide open, stop down alittle and practice more before u think u can nail the exposure spot on at wide open. To add, The AF will not be that accurate if u shoot quickly or when u re-compose with the use of AF lock etc.. With practice, u can get there.. ultimately.. HTH
    Really tough... also just started portraits...

    my setting is f1.4 Aperture priority... so the shutter is auto...

    1.4 is very sharp so i don't think any shacking will affect my shooting in a close subject..haha

    Thanks for all you advice...

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  16. #16
    Member dlareg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by sinned79 View Post
    u can try shooting at f2?

    i dun know about 85mm f1.4 but my 35mm f1.4's sweet point is f2 or f2.8 depending on situations.
    Thanks... ill try it...
    Last edited by dlareg; 15th June 2010 at 10:30 PM.
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    Moderator ziploc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    Since the exif data from TS' pic didn't contain the shooting distance, let's assume the subject distance is 1.5m (to get the head-and-shoulder shot with 85mm. The shutter speed was 1/4000s from his exif, btw.) At f/1.4 the DOF will be razor thin and will only be 1cm in front and 1cm behind the focusing point. Let's say he focused on the subject's right eye. After focusing, any slight movement either from him (slight camera movement front or back) or the subject will cause it to be focusing at another spot.

    Usually when shooting head-and-shoulder, the DOF at f/1.4, 85mm would be too thin. More adequate aperture will usually be f/4~f/5.6 if you're taking from the side (so that both eyes will be in focus), or f/2.8~f/4 if taking from the front.
    Last edited by ziploc; 15th June 2010 at 11:35 PM.

  18. #18
    Member voxies09's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    Do we need to focus the eyes to or any spot on her face
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by voxies09 View Post
    Do we need to focus the eyes to or any spot on her face
    Basic photography notes, and every tutorial out there for beginners, will tell you to focus on the eyes.
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    Moderator ziploc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help/Tricks in 85mm 1.4 Portrait shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by voxies09 View Post
    Do we need to focus the eyes to or any spot on her face
    Yes focus on the eyes. It's because in our daily life when we talk to someone, we always look into their eyes. That's why it is important to get the subject's eyes in focus when shooting portraiture.

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