Focus With Precision

Assure accurate sharpness

Many pictures are quite sharp, but not as sharp as they should be in the right places.

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We've all seen portraits where a nose (or worse, crow's feet under the eyes) are rendered with exquisite sharpness, but the eyes and eyelashes that should be tack sharp look a bit fuzzy.

Part of the problem is depth of field, which is limited in close-ups. But the main culprit is not focusing precisely on the defining elements--the eye, the stamen and pistil of a flower, etc. The autofocus (AF) systems in the latest DSLRs do a great job of identifying and focusing on the subject, but they're not as intelligent as you are at identifying the precise areas of the subject that need to be as sharp as possible.

Photo © Silvrshootr/iStockphoto

To achieve precise focus, either:

  • Set center focus (rather than multi-zone) AF, focus on the subject, hold the focus point by pressing the shutter button part way down, recompose, and shoot; or
  • Use manual focus. In terms of results, both methods are effective, but using manual focus is by far the most reliable method, especially when shooting extreme close-ups.

All DSLRs and many high-end compacts offer center AF and manual focusing options.

Photo © xyno6/iStockphoto


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