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.
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?