Here’s how to nail focus every time even at f/1.4

Jan 26, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Here’s how to nail focus every time even at f/1.4

Jan 26, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Getting precise and sharp focus at f/1.4 isn’t always an easy task, even with autofocus. In this video, Manny Ortiz shares some techniques that help him nail focus every time. He mainly shoots portraits, and he shares with you three tips that will help you get sharp and consistent focus.

YouTube video

1. Eye AF

Sony shooters know how useful the eye AF feature can be. It detects an eye of your model (even when they close their eyes) and focuses on it. Even if your model moves, the camera will track them and keep the eye in focus. As Manny puts it, “it’s almost like cheating.” But what’s with us who don’t shoot Sony? Well, read on.

2. Single Spot/Flexible Spot

If your camera isn’t equipped with the eye AF, Manny suggests using Single Spot/Flexible Spot AF. However, you need to be aware of your camera’s AF capabilities. For example, on Manny’s old Canon 6D, the only reliable AF point was in the middle. The focus points toward the edges were inconsistent. So, if he needed to compose something off the center, he would use the “focus and recompose” technique to nail the focus on the eye.

3. Back button AF

If you or the model don’t move around too much during a single series of shots, you can use the back button AF. It allows you to separate the focus from the shutter. This way, you can focus using the back button, recompose and take multiple shots. Without the back button AF, you would have to find the focus every time you recompose the shot. If your camera doesn’t have a dedicated back button AF, most cameras allow you to reassign one of the buttons and use it for this purpose.

I most commonly use the second method for getting the perfect focus with the aperture wide open. Sometimes I try to focus manually too, but it’s not so easy, I must admit. What’s your preferred method to get the perfect focus at f.1/4?

[3 WAYS to get PERFECT FOCUS at F1.4 | TUTORIAL! via FStoppers]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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3 responses to “Here’s how to nail focus every time even at f/1.4”

  1. 孟恬 Avatar
    孟恬

    Back button focus with servo focus, also for moving objects. If Auto focus fails me, manual with magic lantern. Set to Black and white and focus peaking + removed the 5x zoom so you can switch back and from 10x zoom quickly.

  2. SMSjohnson Avatar
    SMSjohnson

    Any tips for MF?

  3. jbratteson Avatar
    jbratteson

    I would not recommend focus, recompose. You will get soft photos. Especially at F1.4. I also have a 6D and always anticipate the composition of my shot, adjust the focus point I’m going to use for the composition, focus and shoot. So I commit to my composition before I focus. I used to focus/recompose and even with a 50mm at f1.8 my photos were soft. The physics of a lens with a large aperture is not forgiving to focus recompose unless you are shooting a fairly telephoto lens (maybe a little forgiving there). That’s just my 2 cents and my experience. Everyone has their own way.