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Photography Question 

slr out of focus at a distance

When I take a closeup portait shot, it's very focused, however if I try to get a full body, my camera consistantly focuses about two feet behind the subjects. I just got a new lense and the problem remains the same.

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10/26/2008 3:34:45 PM

Bernard    Hi Pat

I think you've got a problem

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10/26/2008 3:40:41 PM

  Hi Pat;

You're kinda vague on your questin. What camera do you have, and what settings are you using? If you're using a landscape setting, that may be your problem. You want to set your camera to portrait. This may clean things up a bit. Also, You may want to post a photograph so we can see an example of your dilemma.

Have fun and keep shooting,
Mark H.

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10/26/2008 4:10:52 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005

Without knowing what camera you are using, I have to venture a guess only.

Many DSLR's have the ability to "move" their focus points to different areas of the frame. Most people keep the focus (locked) at the center of the frame.

Is it possible your focus point is not in the center?

all the best,


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10/26/2008 7:07:30 PM

Pat    sorry to leave out info...
I have a pentax ist 35mm dslr . I usually shoot in portait or a large apature because I like a shallow depth of field. I lock on my subject and snap. Even if I use a tripod and the subjects are filling the view finder, It still focuses about two ft behind them. I recalibration in order?

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10/28/2008 6:53:36 AM

Alan N. Marcus   Hi Pat,

This camera features an 11-point auto-focus (AF) sensor system. The sensor lactations are arranged in a cross-shaped pattern. The pattern placement hopefully improves focusing accuracy. The pattern mainly covers the middle section of the frame however two sensors are positioned far to the side. You can switch to center “SPOT” using the “Select” mode control. This allows you to select just one of the 11 sensor points. You use the four-way control to switch between sensors. A red LED highlights the operational sensor. Likely you have inadvertently selected one of the off-center sensors.

As to depth-of-field: The classic view for portraiture is – eyes in focus – ears out-of-focus. This is achieved by focusing on the eyes and setting the aperture to wide-open. My advice is to reconsider and use a smaller aperture to increase depth-of-field as this will help solve your focus problem. Once you master ability to select focus points, you can return to your hearts desire, shallow depth-of-field.

Anyway, experiment selecting a center AF sensor. Experiment using both “AUTO” and “MANUAL”. Keep in mind that it is unlikely this setback is due to a camera malfunction i.e. you must strongly consider “pilot error”. Re-reading the manual won’t hurt.

Alan Marcus (marginal technical gobbledygook)

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10/28/2008 7:22:28 AM

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