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problems getting people in focus

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by awatahurm, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. awatahurm

    awatahurm Mu-43 Regular

    89
    Jul 10, 2011
    Hi, everybody.
    I'm new to photography, but I have high ambitions. I hope to master the basics by November of this year. So that I can bring back beautiful pictures from Japan.
    All feedback is highly appreciated.

    So far, I've discovered that I love taking photos of people on the street. Unfortunately I'm really bad at it.
    I can't even get them into focus.
    All of these photos were shot in good to glaring daylight at shutter speeds of at least 1000.

    The size was reduced for web publishing, but I believe the focus problems are still evident. (I've thrown in some inanimate objects to show the contrast.)
    I used an E-PL2 with a Pentax 20mm / 1.7 lens.

    th_wood-nymph.jpg th_water-salesman.jpg th_sprinkler-b.jpg th_shooting.jpg

    th_saving-for-hooker.jpg th_robophoto.jpg th_ricksha-man.jpg th_revelers.jpg

    th_ponderous.jpg th_photographer.jpg th_peacecordian.jpg th_not-homeless.jpg

    th_nice-legs.jpg th_menacing-bunny.jpg th_hotdog-vendor.jpg th_granny.jpg

    th_diners.jpg th_chess2.jpg th_chess.jpg th_camer-watching.jpg


    people need focus pictures by awatahurm - Photobucket
     
  2. mach330

    mach330 Mu-43 Veteran

    240
    Mar 19, 2011
    The OC
    sounds like you're doing mf? or did you really mean panasonic 20/1.7 and not pentax?
     
  3. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi I don't see a big issue with focus. Street shooting is its own art form, and often demands its own procedures and techniques.

    Lots of folks practice zone focusing for their street work. If the images here are your first attempts, you're off to a pretty good start.

    Alan
     
  4. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    Try shooting at ƒ8-11 :smile:
     
  5. awatahurm

    awatahurm Mu-43 Regular

    89
    Jul 10, 2011
    Oops:biggrin:
    Yes it's a panasonic. Sorry about that.
     
  6. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Try choosing focus point yourself instead of letting camera do it and half-press shutter button before fully pressing. 20mm is a slow focusing lens. I am using the same combo E-PL2 + 20mm.
     
  7. awatahurm

    awatahurm Mu-43 Regular

    89
    Jul 10, 2011
    Thanks for the advice. Zone focusing sounds complicated and holding my hands steady at f 8 will be a challenge. But I can't wait to try them out.

    On another note. Can someone recommend a good photo posting site?
    I just found out that "Photobucket" removed my photo of the wood nymph statue because it contained nudity.
    I am truly shocked.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  8. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    agree with alan that you are doing good

    art make a good point on learning how to half press on the focus and the recompose

    no need to go down to f8 for street

    just get closer and braver and accept that shooting street you you will throw away a lot of sand to find a diamond


    regarding web photosharing i would check out flickr

    k

    K
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4XQCc2uwKA&hd=1]YouTube - ‪PixBoomBa - Shooting Strangers‬‏[/ame] :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:
     
  10. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    ah texas... the land of subtlety :)

    K
     
  11. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Welcome to the world of depth of field! With a compact, everything front to back is in focus, so you never notice the focus errors (where it chooses the wrong focus point)

    Decreasing the f/stop will certainly help, f/4 ought to be enough, but then you will have the background in focus also, and that may or may not be the look you want.

    IMHO, the better solution is to switch to face recognition AF mode. It would have certainly chosen to focus on granny's face instead of the gentleman's arm ...
     
  12. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi,

    Let me second Kevin here. I was remiss in not mentioning that your Aperture is going to be more important than your shutter speed in this instance.... within reason of course.

    It is not the first time Kevin has bailed me out, and doubtful it'll be the last.

    Alan


     
  13. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
  14. awatahurm

    awatahurm Mu-43 Regular

    89
    Jul 10, 2011
    It's great to receive so much helpful advice.
    I went out to run some quick tests before work this morning.

    First I tried "AF Face recognition":


    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5927291818/" title="reference-piano by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="reference-piano"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5926731305/" title="art-girl by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="art-girl"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5927291370/" title="piano-time-2 by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="piano-time-2"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5926730895/" title="piano-time-1 by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="piano-time-1"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5927290958/" title="cop-car by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="cop-car"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5926730419/" title="photo-guy by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="photo-guy"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5926729925/" title="renovation-2 by awatahurm, on Flickr">"180" height="240" alt="renovation-2"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5926730175/" title="renovation-1 by awatahurm, on Flickr">"180" height="240" alt="renovation-1"></a>


    Results were quite mixed. The shot of the photographer seems dead on. The pianist was way off. And it seems like the billboard came out sharper than the guys working on it.


    Then I tried "Zone Focus":

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5926729685/" title="zone-reference by awatahurm, on Flickr">"180" height="240" alt="zone-reference"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5926728893/" title="bonyari-guy by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="bonyari-guy"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5926729361/" title="waiter by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="waiter"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5926728625/" title="city-worker by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="city-worker"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5926728129/" title="conversation by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="conversation"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5927288274/" title="guy-2 by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="guy-2"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5927288046/" title="guy-on-street by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="guy-on-street"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5927287704/" title="piano-repair by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="piano-repair"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5926727375/" title="overlook by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="overlook"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5927287362/" title="plaid-shorts by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="plaid-shorts"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5926726677/" title="skateboarder-1 by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="skateboarder-1"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5927286890/" title="skateboarder-2 by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="skateboarder-2"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5927286656/" title="taking-it-easy by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="taking-it-easy"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5926725903/" title="waiting-in-the-sun by awatahurm, on Flickr">"180" height="240" alt="waiting-in-the-sun"></a> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/5927286042/" title="self-portrait by awatahurm, on Flickr">"240" height="180" alt="self-portrait"></a>

    Actually "Zone Focus" wasn't as complicated as I had imagined. Somehow it was more fun. (I could shoot from the gut, if I wanted to.) And it seems a touch quicker. (I probably couldn't have gotten the skateboarder using AF.)
    After uploading the files on my computer, I noticed that the reference shot for my "Zone Focus" (the "Welcome to Denver" sign) was a bit off.
    So the results could have been better.

    I will run more thorough tests on the weekend.

    PS. Everything was shot on E-PL2 with Panasonic 20mm / f 1.7. I used f 1.7 exclusively (which may account for all the overexposure) so that I would have the maximum challenge and keep things standardized.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/65048372@N07/sets/72157627171130460/
     
    • Like Like x 3
  15. KS11

    KS11 Mu-43 Veteran

    411
    Jan 31, 2011
    Busan/Hong Kong
    maybe you could improve by using this guys' method?

    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRBARi09je8]YouTube - ‪WNYC Street Shots Bruce Gilden‬&rlm;[/ame]


    /sarcasm
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. I would expect the billboard to be the point of focus when using face recognition because they are the only "faces" visible in the shot. Face recognition works just as well on pictures of faces as it does on real faces. It seems like you've already come to the conclusion anyway but based on this sample I would avoid relying on face recognition since very few of the shots have someone facing towards the camera.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Now that guy's got guts!
     
  18. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Actually, the focus is pretty good. As for sites, I use Smugmug and pay $5 a month.
     
  19. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi Ned,

    That guy is the quintessential New Yorker....:thumbup:
     
  20. awatahurm

    awatahurm Mu-43 Regular

    89
    Jul 10, 2011
    Flash in the face!?
    That's just too rude.