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Focus issue at longer range

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by DanB, Jul 31, 2017.

  1. DanB

    DanB Member

    Hi, apologies for this as it's probably very basic but having had a search online I cannot find the answer or at least not one I understand so hoping someone here might solve this issue.

    I am using a Sony RX10-3 and whilst at the cricket on Friday I felt I was getting some decent shots. However when I got home and had a flick through I'd say that 80% of them had my subject e.g. The batsman out of focus but the crowd behind perfectly sharp!!

    Through the viewfinder and the live view everything looked good however I'm obviously not getting something right when taking the shot. I guess when taking these types of picture the it might be difficult for the camera to distinguish between the one person and then the thousands behind however from seeing thousands of sports photos it is obvious that anyone competent can manage it. I have attached a picture to give an example of how mine tended to come out.

    So essentially my question is, when shooting at distance how can I get the object in focus against a very 'busy' background. I was using Shutter Priority mode to freeze the action. Are there any other particular settings that would help focus the subject?

    Again, apologies as this is probably Photography 101 but any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    How are you selecting the focus point? You need to choose it. Auto selection is poor with busy backgrounds.
     
  3. DanB

    DanB Member

    Hi Pete, I must admit I was using auto focus using the 'Continuous AF' setting. As a lot of the action was fast I assumed this would be the best method however obviously not if the initial target it out of focus to being with!!
     
  4. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    At a longer distance the focus square is probably larger than the subject, and will focus on the highest contras area with in it. eg. the background.
    I do not know if you can change the size of the focus point on that camera, but on many you can. A smaller square would certainly give you a better chance.
    sometimes the only option is to manually focus on small objects in the distance.

    There is a chance that you never had the focus point on this player at all, when you actually fired the shutter. In that case using focus lock can help a great deal.
     
  5. DanB

    DanB Member

    Hi Terry, thanks for the advice, I'll have to go back to the manual and have a look. On photos where the subject was still for a period I did use 'Direct manual focus' which worked well however when things were moving at higher speed this wasn't an option, or at least not for me!
     
  6. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    My suggestion would be to switch to back-button focus. In case you're not familiar with this, it disengages focus from the shutter button, so you can focus on something at the appropriate distance, and then shoot your chosen subject without the AF trying to change your focus distance.

    It takes a short while to get used to this, after which it's infinitely better. At least, that's my experience, and I now use nothing except this method. YMMV, of course.:)
     
  7. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    For cricketers at the wicket you can usually pre-focus and wait for the action. As you can for bowlers, as they run the same line.
    For fielders this is not an option and it would probably take a pro camera to keep up with the action.
     
  8. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    It's a compact/bridge, I'm not sure it'll have back button focus (which I've never understood the benefit of anyway, but that's a different issue).
     
  9. DanB

    DanB Member

    Thanks for the responses, I'll have a look into this and see what the camera is capable of.
     
  10. DanB

    DanB Member

    Terry, you're probably right, a lesson learnt for next time!
     
  11. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    It does not have an AFL button for back focussing
    It only has an AEL button to lock exposure.

    If you want to lock Focus that camera only has the option to "Hold the Half press"
    OR to "manual focus"
     
  12. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    I have the RX10 MK1, and I use BBF exclusively on it. I'd be surprised if Sony had removed that ability in the MK3, but it's possible, I suppose.
     
  13. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Which menu / button / feature is it, because I couldn't see it in a search?
     
  14. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    The AEL button is set for AFL.
     
    Terrywoodenpic likes this.
  15. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I'd sit doen with the manual. I don't know ours back to front - it isn't my camera - but when I read AP review of the new Sony whatever @£4.5k (body) I thought there goes an Rx103 with interchangeable lens
     
  16. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    The basic problem is that you have been lead to believe that the autofocus is infallible, but how can it know you want to focus on one small part of the view? So you have to restrict the autofocus to a very small part of the view...

    Does the camera allow the choice of 'spot' focusing, as on a DSLR? (If it is half as good as everybody claims, it should do.) This is usually a very small point in the centre of the image, so you partially depress the shutter release to lock the focus, quickly 'reframe' the image if needed (by moving the camera without moving the finger on the shutter button), and take the picture. In your example, use the spot focus on the batsman, move the camera if you don't want him dead centre, and take the picture. You will quickly find this becomes something you do without thinking about it.

    A few years ago a lady on the office where I used to work showed me a few of the 'best' pictures from her holiday in Chianti, selected from the 1,000+ that her husband shot with a Canon DSLR. Most of them had the same problem as your pictures - she was in the foreground out of focus and the (much larger) buildings behind her were in perfect focus. However, since she told me that she had no intention of having any prints made, I suspect she didn't care very much...
     

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