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Photography Question 
Cindy L. Ferguson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/25/2005

Focusing issues

I am shooting with the Canon 10d, 72mm 70-200 lens, and my 550ex flash for a wedding last weekend. The day is very overcast, as a matter of fact, the skies opened up 10 minutes after ceremony, and I didn't get all of the pics I needed. The problem I have encountered lately is focusing on my subjects. I was shooting a picture of the bridesmaids (4 of them). I had my camera set on ai focus, as the wind was blowing a little and their dresses were moving, along with their hair. My focusing meter was set to auto selection. The meter was focusing right down the middle of their dresses, and would not focus on their faces. I had the same problem at a prom I shot 2 weeks ago. Therefore the faces in the photo were blurry. The lab is trying to sharpen them for me, but I haven't seen the end result. I miss the eye-control I had on my eos7. I never had a problem with focusing when using my 35mm. Can someone help me? I was told by a friend to set my camera to the center focusing point. How do I do that? I I choose the manual selection, and the center focusing meter, will the rest of the people be blurry?

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5/6/2005 5:25:51 AM

doug Nelson   On a 10d, a 70-200 acts as about a 100-300. Your lens is way too long for the purpose. In that kind of light, hand holding a fairly heavy lens, I'd be surprised if there isn't a blur factor. The strobe effect of the flash may have saved the day.

Don't rely on automation for focus. If you can't readily see whether you are focusing on the eyes, there's a glitch in your technique you need to fix. Go for depth of field in a situation like this, and more of the shot will be in focus. I shot medium format for a couple of weddings, and the boss insisted I stay at f16, using 400 film and a flash.

I suggest the 35mm f2, which would be about a 52 on that camera. You would have a very bright screen view, because of the f2 max aperture, and the 10d reportedly has a decently bright finder. You'll also need a wide angle, for groups shots and for situations where you have little space to back up. The 24 f2.8 is a nice, inexpensive lens that would act as about a 35 in a digital SLR.

Until you get this act together, I suggest you go back to what worked before, your EOS film camera and a 50mm, and perhaps a 35 or 28.

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5/6/2005 5:51:05 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Ditto Doug N.'s comments. In addition, AI Focus is a combination on One-Shot and AI Servo, and in that it is the worst of both options. It is instructive to note that Canon's professional bodies do not have AI Focus. For weddings, especially staged shots, use One-Shot and manually select the center focus point (the most sensitive cross sensor). For candids and moving subjects use AI Servo.

To manually select the focus point you must shoot in the Creative exposure modes (P, Av, Tv, M). The other modes force automatic focus selection. Use Av so that you can control the depth of field (focus on bride's eyes, use set f/5.6-f/8-f/11 to keep a whole group in focus).

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5/6/2005 7:52:01 AM

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