Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 20

Thread: EDUCATIONAL TOPIC #9 - FOCUS POINT SELECTION FOR FULL FRAME IMAGES

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    12,866

    Default EDUCATIONAL TOPIC #9 - FOCUS POINT SELECTION FOR FULL FRAME IMAGES

    FOCUS POINTS FOR FULL FRAME

    Most of the time when photographing birds we tend to use the central focus point with servo/continuous focusing activated. Mostly because its the most accurate of the focus points but also because it is the easiest to keep on target when tracking a bird. This is normally a good idea when the bird is fairly small in the frame and you plan on cropping and recomposing in post production. Getting as close as possible before you compose the image is always the preferred option as this will ensure the maximum amount of detail in your image and getting the composition right full frame should be your goal too (if possible).

    Here are a few examples of the focus points I use in different situations. Your camera may have differing focus point placements but the following examples will give you the general idea.

    Feel free to add your suggestions in subsequent posts if you like


    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	1.jpg 
Views:	184 
Size:	185.0 KB 
ID:	9750
    As this Egret was moving from left to right I decided on using an upper right focus point. As soon as it turned around and went the opposite way I quickly changed to the opposite focus point as well. Practicing changing your focus points is a great idea and will come in handy when the action is happening in front of you. Using a lower left/right focus point is sometimes a good idea as well (especially if you are having trouble focusing on an Egrets skinny neck/head) and I often use this on the birds chest as this is normally on the same plane as the head when Egrets/Herons are hunting.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	4.jpg 
Views:	186 
Size:	176.3 KB 
ID:	9753
    Its always best to try and focus on a birds head/eye as this is normally the focal point in most bird images. I've used the top focus point in this image so I can focus on the head of the bird but still keep some room below the bird so as to include a bit more of the lovely perch in the image.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2.jpg 
Views:	185 
Size:	138.7 KB 
ID:	9751
    Again, using the top focus point has allowed me to keep some room under the bird to allow me to have some breathing space between the bird and the bottom frame edge.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	5.jpg 
Views:	184 
Size:	177.0 KB 
ID:	9754
    Both of these birds were pretty much on the same focal plane so it was just a matter of choosing a focus point that could capture one of them. I just happened to use the far left focus point because that bird was being a little more active.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	3.jpg 
Views:	183 
Size:	148.1 KB 
ID:	9752
    With effective focal lengths of over 400mm you will find that the depth of field in front of and behind your focus point is about equal so anticipating this and selecting a point slightly in front of what you want in focus (in this case I have selected the neck/shoulder of the bird) will often mean that you have used every bit of your DOF effectively.

  2. The following 2 users say thank you to Paul Randall for their reply:

    Rick Playle (26-11-2011)

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    12,866
    Thread Starter

    Default

    Focus points continued....
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	6.jpg 
Views:	180 
Size:	165.7 KB 
ID:	9758
    Using the bottom focus point has allowed me to keep some room above the birds tail. If I had been using the central focus point the tail would nearly have been severed by the frame edge.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	7.jpg 
Views:	177 
Size:	141.0 KB 
ID:	9759
    As you can see, the 5D that I use does not have a focus point anywhere near the birds head in this image so I had to use a point on the bird that corresponded with the same plane as the birds head. In this case I used the birds breast.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	8.jpg 
Views:	178 
Size:	175.2 KB 
ID:	9760
    To keep from clipping the wings in this image I had to use a lower right focus point. Moving back a bit and using the central focus point would be a good option as well but would have meant cropping in post production, thus losing a little bit of detail.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	9.jpg 
Views:	176 
Size:	162.6 KB 
ID:	9761
    In this image I was going for a portrait shot so it was perfectly fine to use the central focus point at this time as I knew I was going to crop the image anyway. I would have perhaps changed focus point if I had gotten much closer but it wasn't to be on this particular day

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	10.jpg 
Views:	175 
Size:	163.4 KB 
ID:	9762
    On this occasion I had to bite the bullet and just use the very top focus point on the front of the birds neck because I was trying to include the reflection as well (which wasn't possible with a lower focus point). Unfortunately I have clipped the wings which is a shame, an alternative may have been to use a lower focus point (perhaps even the central point) and try focusing on the birds legs which will on most occasions be on the same plane as the birds head when hunting.

    I hope these examples have been helpful to you. It is most important that you do not become too reliant on the central focus point on your camera when using servo/continuous focusing...it will impact on your compositions and lead to clipped tails, wings and legs Good luck everyone

    Paul

  4. The following 3 users say thank you to Paul Randall for their reply:

    Andrew Bonnitcha (02-11-2012), Gillian Pitt (25-03-2012), Rick Playle (26-11-2011)

  5. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    12,866
    Thread Starter

    Default

    By the way, I've been slack and haven't been able to finish this up for a while so it has stayed a draft for some time. That is why the post date reads 11th of June

  6. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Yarra Ranges, Victoria
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    3,615

    Default

    In the last couple of months I've really been using the different focus points on the 7D. It's amazing how many more keepers I have as a result - a lot less clipped features (tails/wings/feathers/legs) and the eye/head in focus. And it's dead easy to change the focus point on the 7D as well. I love it!

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Canberra
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    3,553

    Default

    Thanks Paul, but this is not the full story. Firstly, what camera are you using, and what metering mode? With the Canon 7D, the metering area cannot be linked to focussing points other than the central one. Hence, if you have the focus point way out to the side of the frame and the camera is metering off the central area of the frame, you can find your point of interest badly (sometimes very badly) exposed. This is not to say I don't move the focussing point around, but only one click away from the centre for the above reason.
    Margaret Leggoe
    Never too old to learn.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    12,866
    Thread Starter

    Default

    I use a 5D Margaret and CW metering is my preferred mode. Most of the time my subject is still central in the image so I really don't have problems with exposure shifts. Try looking into your cameras AE lock function. It might help you immensely

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Brisbane
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    685

    Default

    Paul, I have found all the comments very interesting. thanks for sharing. Cheers, Xavier
    Xavier Montaner

  10. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Narrogin Western Australia
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    2,901

    Default

    Paul, appreciate this topic, gives great insight to me and many others
    well done , very usefull info indeed.
    cheers Rick
    Through the lens behold the glory of creation
    So much to see, So little time to behold
    Other captures located here :
    http://www.redbubble.com/people/justrick
    https://www.facebook.com/rick.playle.5

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    4,956

    Default

    An interesting and informative topic, Paul. Thanks for putting in the effort to write and post it. With work and family commitments to juggle, in addition to day-to-day running of this site, I don't think anyone could accuse you of being slack. Well done.
    Cheers,

    George

    Life List : 481 (Southern Cassowary, Etty Bay, QLD, Oct., 2016)

  12. #10
    Tony Hansford Guest

    Default

    How did you get the focus points to display in your photos? Is there a custom function for that?

  13. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    12,866
    Thread Starter

    Default

    I took screenshots in canons image browser program Tony.

  14. #12
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Yarra Ranges, Victoria
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    3,615

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Margaret Leggoe View Post
    With the Canon 7D, the metering area cannot be linked to focussing points other than the central one. Hence, if you have the focus point way out to the side of the frame and the camera is metering off the central area of the frame, you can find your point of interest badly (sometimes very badly) exposed. This is not to say I don't move the focussing point around, but only one click away from the centre for the above reason.
    Hmm, I use a Canon 7D and I haven't had any real issues with metering.

  15. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Sydney, NSW
    Image Reposts
    No, don't edit
    Posts
    2,555

    Default

    If you understand the way the camera interprets the scene and how it will expose (regardless of metering mode used) you can change to any AF point!

  16. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    12,866
    Thread Starter

    Default

    Spot on Akos. Knowing how and Which way to compensate will keep your exposures correct no matter which point you use

  17. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Soldiers Point NSW
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    6,467

    Default

    Thanks Paul for taking the time to present this and for the feedback from others that has added to the thread.

Similar Threads

  1. Crop vs Full Frame Help Please
    By Duade Paton in forum Photography Equipment
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 25-02-2012, 02:53 PM
  2. New camera options: Who has full frame?
    By Henry Cook in forum Photography Equipment
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: 12-02-2012, 11:34 AM
  3. EDUCATIONAL TOPIC #9 - "FOCUS POINT SELECTION FOR FULL FRAME IMAGES"
    By Richard Hall in forum Techniques and Educational
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 29-12-2011, 11:16 AM
  4. EDUCATIONAL TOPIC #7- EXPOSURE COMPENSATION ILLUSTRATED (images only)
    By Paul Randall in forum Techniques and Educational
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 23-10-2011, 08:06 AM

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •