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Focus issues-shooting large group of people
#1
I'm trying to shoot a group of about 50 people. I'm using a Canon 5D and have tried using different lenses. 24-105 mm, 17-40 mm, and 70- 300 mm. I've tried using both manual and auto settings on the camera. I'm using auto focus. The room is large and there are a lot of windows on one side of it. I'm focusing on the nearest person. However, towards the back and sides of the image the people are out of acceptable focus. I've been at this for sometime now, and can't seem to get any decent images. What am "I doing wrong?
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#2
Post a pic, to give an idea of the setup. Ed.
To each his own!
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#3
(Mar 26, 2014, 03:12)EdMak Wrote: Post a pic, to give an idea of the setup. Ed.

I'm new to this forum; not sure how to post a pic.
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#4
Hi, welcome. Have a look here. Ed.

http://www.shuttertalk.com/forums/Thread...cture-size
To each his own!
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#5
(Mar 25, 2014, 20:06)Faye Wrote: I'm trying to shoot a group of about 50 people. I'm using a Canon 5D and have tried using different lenses. 24-105 mm, 17-40 mm, and 70- 300 mm. I've tried using both manual and auto settings on the camera. I'm using auto focus. The room is large and there are a lot of windows on one side of it. I'm focusing on the nearest person. However, towards the back and sides of the image the people are out of acceptable focus. I've been at this for sometime now, and can't seem to get any decent images. What am "I doing wrong?

Do NOT focus on the nearest person!
Easiest rule of thumb is to focus 1/3rd of the way from the nearest to the furthest person. If you want to get more precise, then you'll need a DOF (depth of field) table or calculator (there's multiple apps for that)
The other thing is to put the people in an arc, equi-distant from your lens. That reduces the necessary depth of field.
Valley of the Sun, Arizona
D2Xs, D200's, D100's, LightRoom, CS-CC
2HowardsPhoto.biz
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#6
(Mar 26, 2014, 03:12)EdMak Wrote: Post a pic, to give an idea of the setup. Ed.

These images are of part of the group and are the best examples of what's happening.        
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#7
Try this. Set camera to 800 ISO. Select Landscape Programme, manually focus to about a third of the depth into the group. Tripod/monopod if possible. Use widest angle lens available. Post a result. Go from there. Luck. Ed.
To each his own!
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#8
Faye, the primary important factor here is Depth of Field, as you have quite a distance between the nearest and furthest people. This requires that you use a small aperture (i.e. a big f stop number), so use Aperture Priority Mode and set e.g. f/11. A lens in the standard range (40 to 60mm) should give a natural field of view on a full-frame camera such as your Canon 5D, while not making the furthest people look too small. A prime 50mm lens wouild be best , as the sharpness at the edge of the frame is usually better than it is with a zoom lens. As Ed has written, start with the ISO at 800, but check that the indicated shutter speed is at least 1/60 of a second. If it is slower than that, increase the ISO - on the 5D you should be able to go up to 3200 if necessary, and still get acceptable shots.

Cheers.
Philip
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#9
Shorter focal length lenses give more DOF so as mentioned go for 50mm or even less if required. As mentioned check DOF calculator and focus about 1/3 of the way into the group. You could try using a tripod if you have a slow shutter speed.

Mike
You can view a few of my images including some actions shots at

http://www.art-seekers.com

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#10
(Mar 27, 2014, 02:15)EdMak Wrote: Try this. Set camera to 800 ISO. Select Landscape Programme, manually focus to about a third of the depth into the group. Tripod/monopod if possible. Use widest angle lens available. Post a result. Go from there. Luck. Ed.

Thanks for your help, Ed. The group meets on Tues., so I'll try that. The widest lens I have is 17-40mm f/4 L USM.
Faye
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#11
(Mar 27, 2014, 03:10)MrB Wrote: Faye, the primary important factor here is Depth of Field, as you have quite a distance between the nearest and furthest people. This requires that you use a small aperture (i.e. a big f stop number), so use Aperture Priority Mode and set e.g. f/11. A lens in the standard range (40 to 60mm) should give a natural field of view on a full-frame camera such as your Canon 5D, while not making the furthest people look too small. A prime 50mm lens wouild be best , as the sharpness at the edge of the frame is usually better than it is with a zoom lens. As Ed has written, start with the ISO at 800, but check that the indicated shutter speed is at least 1/60 of a second. If it is slower than that, increase the ISO - on the 5D you should be able to go up to 3200 if necessary, and still get acceptable shots.

Cheers.
Philip

Thanks Phillip. I'll try this out on Tues, when the group next meets.
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#12
(Mar 26, 2014, 20:19)Faye Wrote:
(Mar 26, 2014, 03:12)EdMak Wrote: Post a pic, to give an idea of the setup. Ed.

These images are of part of the group and are the best examples of what's happening.

Reading the Exif data gives: 1/25th, ƒ4, ISO400

To get something usable, you need an ƒ stop of at least 11, more like 16, then increase the ISO to where you can get that with a shutter speed you can live with.

I'm going to assume you were using a tripod, since the vast majority of people can't handhold a shot slower than 1/60th.
Valley of the Sun, Arizona
D2Xs, D200's, D100's, LightRoom, CS-CC
2HowardsPhoto.biz
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