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Old July 20th, 2009, 04:23 PM
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Default How do you keep the whole plane in focus?

Hi guys

I've been looking through a couple of the pics that I've taken this summer, and realized that some of them have one part of the plane in focus, but the rest of the plane is out of focus. How do I make it so the whole plane is in focus? I'm using a Canon Rebel xsi.

Here's couple of examples, maybe they can explain it better than I can in words.











Oh, wait, that one IS in focus ...don't worry about that one then.

Aaron
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Old July 21st, 2009, 09:41 AM
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Aaron,
Your suffering from camera shake, try using a faster shutter speed, practice your panning and when you feel your getting better lower your shutter speed. To get the whole subject in focus try using a higher aperture f-6, f-8. Depth of field is a hard one to master.

Not trying to tell ya how to take pictures these are things I was told by a pro. They really help.

HTH

Jon
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Old July 21st, 2009, 10:03 AM
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You want to use the smallest aperture (highest f-stop number) you can get away with. Unfortunately doing this you've got a tradeoff, your shutter speed will be slower increasing the risk of camera shudder. This is assuming your camera has manual settings for these adjustments.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 10:24 AM
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My bad your right Don smallest aperture! still asleep I think!!
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Old July 21st, 2009, 11:48 AM
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Thank's guys. I think I may need to invest in IS at some point. I don't get enough practice to get the quality of pics that I want to get. I appreciate the help.

Aaron
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Old July 21st, 2009, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strikeeagle48 View Post
Your suffering from camera shake,
Disagree. I don't see any motion blur, those pics are simply out of focus.

(insert joke about "focal plane" here)
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Old July 21st, 2009, 12:49 PM
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Maybe, I've had plenty of shots like that, after I practised panning and got that down I never got anymore like it.
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 01:42 AM
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Jon

It may be a bit of both. As you can see with the girl shot, I was at about 1/60th on that one, and there's no camera shake there. I probably don't have panning down as well as I should, and as I said, I'm having trouble focusing on the plane as well. I'm going to try to go to McChord tomorrow, and I'll try to get the F-stop up and see what that does. Again, thank's for the help.

Aaron
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 03:08 AM
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Which lens are you using? I'm assuming a zoom lens with a max of 300mm (from the exif data). At any rate, a zoom lens is going to be softer at the max focal length. That's nothing you did...that's just the way things are.

My two cents:

-better glass. An L zoom is going to give you better quality through the entire range than a non L. The Xsi is a great camera...save up for better glass. This is normally the biggest hurdle.

-like Don said...higher f-stop. With my 100-400 L I'm almost always at f7.1 or f8 unless I'm shooting at dusk or in the dark.

-plan your shots and shoot in bursts. I'm not saying point and hold the button down and rattle shots off until your buffer fills...be selective of the images you want to compose and shoot off maybe 2-4 shots. There's almost always one that's sharper than the rest in each batch.

-practice. Memory's cheap. Shoot at different settings and look at the results....this means shooting manual. Try an f-stop and each shutter speed. Try the next f-stop and each shutter speed again...and so on. You'll find one combo that works better than others...next time out start with that combo and tweak as conditions dictate. Be prepared to spend as much time in front of the computer (if not more) as you do shooting. No joke. Having a program (such as Adobe Bridge) that allows you to look at and organize multiple images and larger previews is essential when going through trying to find what works.


It took me almost a year to find the sweet spot for my 40D and 100-400mm L...that meant a TON of crappy pics lol. Honestly...that's the only way to learn though.
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 08:34 PM
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I normally experience that for two reasons, Camera Shake and when an aircraft is moving through more than two axis; forward, down (landing), and pivoting (nose going down, tail going up). best way to resolve the first issue is with a monopod. The second problem is best resolved with a higher shutter space.
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Old July 24th, 2009, 11:52 AM
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Not familiar with all the features of your Rebel xsi but you might try deselecting all but the center autofocus dot. I've found my camera often goes into "seek mode" when the sky background confuses the constellation of autofocus points. I had better luck "drawing a bead" on the target plane.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 10:21 AM
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I'm with Randy, practice, practice, practice. It's not like you've got to take your film downtown and wait for a week or two to get it back and shelling out the money for development and printing. With a digicam you've got darn near instant feedback, if you don't like the way the shot came out, hit the delete button.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 01:14 PM
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Hey Aaron, i usually shoot with f8, iso100, AI servo mode(Focus), and i usually vary from shooting just one shot or multi burst. These settings on a sunny day easily keep me at 1/500 or higher until late in the evening.

If your not sure about AI servo, that is a mode of autofocus that has a continuous focus as the subject moves and is great for shooting the aircraft flying.

Hope this helps you out a lil bit.

Zach
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Old July 25th, 2009, 11:14 PM
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I do believe it does Zach, and I should be able to get some practice tomorrow. Thank you.

Aaron
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Old July 27th, 2009, 07:20 PM
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As a fellow rebel shooter (I have an 400D XTi with a battery pack on it for extra grip and battery power), there is another trick that will help reduce blurry shots.

Ordinarily when you track an aircraft across the sky, if you keep the shutter button halfway depressed, the focus is constantly adjusting. Once you push the button all the way down, it STOPS adjusting and just shoots the photos. This means that while one of the photos might be in focus, you're going to shoot several more that aren't. Canon offers a way around this, although I'm not sure how to access it on the XSi... (their menus change a lot from camera to camera)

under custom functions, there is a way to slave the autofocus to something besides the shutter button (usually one of the thumb buttons on the back). By doing this, you can keep the autofocus adjusting throughout the entire pass, which ensures (in theory) that more shots are in focus. (if you have other issues, you're still going to see an occasionally blurry shot, it's just one more way to reduce the possibility). Obviously this is more effective on things like high-speed passes or other quick action scenes where you keep the shutter down longer than for a single shot.

This only works for the manual-adjustment modes (Shutter Priority, Aperature priority, manual, etc), and not the automatic ones... or at least that's the way it is on the XTi/XT/30D/40D.... the XSi probably isn't too different.
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