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Focus point shifted

By Sayuti84
First of all, i am very sorry if this was not the appropriated way of asking.
I encounter this issue while capturing photo after raining.
Purpose of picture : Testing sweet spot of my camera with 50mm f1.8g.
Distance between lens n the subject approximately 130mm.
Focus point : Hole on the elephant trunk.
Problem : were my focus point shifted to either of this
1. Hole on elephant trunk or
2. wood and rock (didnt know what to call it) on left side
I also swap the focus point onto the rock at the left side but found that the wood and hole on the elephant trunk were out of focus.
Camera were place on tripod while i capturing the picture.
I would love to hear any comment .
Thanks and best regard.

Tags: General Focusing Beginners Photography

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mrswoolybill Plus
13 1.9k 2169 United Kingdom
1 Mar 2018 8:49AM
First of all, you have asked an interesting question very thoughtfully - absolutely in the appropriate way!

Secondly this is a wonderful subject, I wish I had one, it's much more interesting than my plain green watering can. Full of character, and with the choice of two focal points, as you realized.

For my way of thinking, the focus needs to be on the area where you want the viewer's eye to settle. The viewer then uses that point as a base from which to explore the rest of the frame.

Working through the options you suggest - the classic advice when photographing a face, animal or human, is to focus on the eye, it is almost always appropriate and it's what I would do here. But there is a complication - the elephant is actually looking at the end of its trunk, a sort of equivalent of hand / eye coordination in a human, so both are equally important. In practice here they were both in very much the same plane here, ie both were at about the same distance from the camera, so the result is fine. F4.5 was a good choice.

No, I would not consider focusing on the stone edge on the left, it is peripheral. But equally, an area that's out of focus and close to the viewer's eye is not comfortable to view. You did well to allow space for the elephant top gaze into, but I want to crop a slice off the left, just leave the zigzag of lines running down the side of the frame. Modification to follow.

There's a lot of scope for different angles - placing the elephant on the same level as the camera, having it face the camera so that you can experiment more dramatically with differential focus. I could have fun with this...

Incidentally pink elephants have a particular connotation in North European culture, example here.


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paulbroad 12 131 1288 United Kingdom
1 Mar 2018 10:04AM
I'm not sure, from your experiment, if you understand what the sweet point is? It has nothing to do with focus distance, it is the optimal aperture, and you are at f4.5. It is the aperture at which the lens resolves detail the best.

The sweet point is likely to be about f8.

You need to set up the camera on a tripod, focus critically MANUALLY on an object with a lot of detail, then take a shot at each set aperture, F1.8, f2.8, f3.5, f5.6, f8, f11, f16 and f22. Then study the results at 100%.

I repeat, the sweet point is a set APERTURE, not a distance.

Having said this, if you set f5.6 or f8 you will be about right!

dudler Plus
16 1.1k 1604 England
1 Mar 2018 4:37PM
I'm not quite sure what question you are asking us, Sayuti. However, it's really good that yo uare experimenting - that is how to find out more about your camera and what it can do for you.

Are you asking where you ought to focus (in which case Moira's comment that you should focus on the thing you want the viewer to look at is right), or whether you have managed to focus on the thing you tried to focus on (the hole on the elephant trunk), in which case you definitely succeeded.

Paul has picked up on the term 'sweet spot' - and there are several possible meanings, though the one that Paul states is the one most people will understand by it - the aperture at which the lens gives the most balanced and high quality image.

It could mean the distance at which the lens gives the best results - in which case I'd say ttere's little effective difference until you get very close to the subject, when the quality may deteriorate a bit.

Or are you trying to find out about depth of field, how much front-to-back sharpness you get? If so, you would find out more by looking along the pavement so that there is detail at every distance.

And finally, it could be about how much of the frame is sharp at each aperture. I'm uploading a picture of my own as a mod, taken with a very old lens. Though hte leaves in the middle are sharp, everything further out is soft, whether it is the same distance from the camera or not. Also, the corners are considerably darker than the centre - this is called vignetting. Both effects can be really good things to have in a picture, helping - as Moira said - to draw the viewer's attention to the place you want it.
banehawi Plus
15 2.2k 4095 Canada
1 Mar 2018 6:42PM
Lots of good feedback.

However, there is some of the information that no correct, or perhaps some is missing.

First, forget about the tern sweet spot for now, and lets talk about the fact that even though you focused on one small area, the camera seems to have missed it 9not so sharp) and focused someplace else, - ok!

The 50mm lens has a MINIMUM focus distance of 451mm according to Nikon, assuming its a Nikon lens; this means that you cannon focus on an object at 130mm. So the distance measured from the front of the lens is too close, and the camera, depending on whether you use autofocus, or manual focus, will not focus on any object closer that 451mm.

Next, - mentioned above, tell us how you focused, manual of auto; if auto, use Manual focus, - auto could well select an area you didnt want due to the minimum focus issue Ive mentioned.

Lets assume that you did indeed have the subject at 451mm, and used f/4.5; this will result in an image where 64mm in front of the focal point, and 66mm behind the focal point will "appear" in focus and sharp compared to the out of focus, soft areas.

This is a very, very tiny area that will "appear" sharp; notice I say appear sharp, - this is because it may not necessarily be critically sharp, - it simply looks sharper as its in focus,.

IF you see a difference in where you focused MANUALLY to the resulting image, you need to be using a remote shutter release, or the self timer.

The larger th4e aperture, and f/4 is larger than f/11, the more shallow that area of apparent sharpness is. The more shallow it is, the higher the chance you can miss a small focus point due to the smallest camera movement.

The image I uploaded is your own, untouched apart from trying to indicate where that very shallow range os, which appears to have just missed the holes in the trunk.

Next, - why do you think the rain makes a difference? Does this work better when theres no rain? IF you are using autofocus, - you could easily get a focus where you dont intend it as the wet weather may increase contrast in some places and decrease it in others.

If this doesnt answer your question, please comment back and let us know.


2 Mar 2018 12:43AM
Thank you for the constructive comment and modification. I really appreciate the modification made to make the photo look better.
I shall take note on the item suggested by Paul and try to perform it.
I am very sorry if the way i ask make people confuse. I will work hard to improve both my photography and English skills.
Thank you to Willie for the explanation as this was the answer to my question.
I do a manual focus while capturing this picture.
I switch the focus point onto the stone on the left and the focus area becoming slightly radius. Wood and elephant trunk was out of focus.
I was wondering, is there a problem on my camera/lens(nikon).
My intention was to capture reflection of the elephant on the water spot but end up encounter this issue.Smile

Thank you again for the comment.

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