Bit more DOF, bit more light, bit better?

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Dudley Hanks, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

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  2. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    Dudley Hanks, Mar 26, 2009
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  3. Dudley Hanks

    Bob Williams Guest

    There was a popular Photo Studio in my ex home town, whose specialty
    was producing Portraits in "Soft Focus"
    My wife loved the effect and I thought the portraits looked like they
    were taken with a "Baby Brownie". So this Soft Focus/Shallow DOF issue
    is strictly a personal preference thing. Perhaps this is the effect you
    are trying to achieve, and I am totally comfortable with that.
    But I, personally, like to get as sharp a picture as my lens/sensor will
    permit. Otherwise why pay $500-800+ for a fine DSLR and then get
    out-of-focus pictures. I don't understand the rationale.
    If you decide you want soft focus, Photoshop can get it for you in a
    heartbeat and you can control how soft you want the image to be.
    You don't need Full PS to do this, either.
    PS Elements will do it just as well for 1/10 the price.
    Bob Williams
    Bob Williams, Mar 27, 2009
  4. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    That would be great if I could use Photoshop, but it is not compatible with
    my speech program, so I cannot use it.

    Sighted photographers can use Photoshop; blind ones can't.

    Besides, I find it interesting that many shooters complain mega-pixel
    cameras are getting softer, and that they want to get sharper pics. Then
    insist that portraits should be pin sharp out of the camera only to be
    softened in Photoshop. If cams do great soft focus shots, why not build on
    the strength of the camera?

    Take Care,
    Dudley Hanks, Mar 27, 2009
  5. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    Thanks, Ron, appreciate the feedback.

    If the focus was on the forehead, I'm assuming the eyes were in focus, and
    the nose is a bit soft. This sounds like I'm getting close to the effect
    I'm after.

    It doesn't matter so much for this shot, but, for people with larger noses,
    I find it helpful to bring the focus to the eyes, if possible.

    The guitar shot didn't quite work out the way I wanted it to. I wanted to
    get his hand in the shot, somewhat blurred from action, with the guitar in
    sharp focus. Unfortunately, I couldn't catch his hand where I wanted it.

    Had I caught the hand, the effect would have been to catch the viewer's eye
    with the hard lines and sharp colour distinctions of the instrument, and
    then draw it away to the hand and bring it up to the face, eventually, where
    one would be left thinking about the musician's deep concentration.

    The overall effect should have been to make a statement about how the human
    creative process can coax beauty out of the hardness of the physical world.

    I'm getting closer, but still have a ways to go.

    Once again, Ron, thanks for describing your impressions.

    Take Care,
    Dudley Hanks, Mar 27, 2009
  6. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    You said it, yourself, "There was a popular photo studio ..."

    If people want soft focus, why not give it to them?

    As noted elsewhere, Photoshop is not an option for me.

    Besides, why spend a considerable amount of time coaxing a soft image out of
    a hard one with software, if you have the ability to do it in a fraction of
    a second when you take the shot?

    Take Care,
    Dudley Hanks, Mar 27, 2009
  7. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    To each his own...

    Concert photography is one area where the soft focus is really an issue.
    Nothing worse than using half an inch DOF on a heavy metal rock shot, at
    least when faces are involved.

    Take Care,
    Dudley Hanks, Mar 27, 2009
  8. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    How would they know what?

    If you are talking about how they would know whether or not a shot is soft
    or crisp, experience and sighted feedback would be the key. I don't pull
    out a 50mm lens and shoot at f/1.8 expecting a crisp, sharply focus image --
    except maybe if I'm shooting a scene that is only half an inch deep. With
    portraits, that lens and aperture combo is used with the intention of
    achieving a soft focus portrait in the Romantic tradition.

    If you are talking about a camera's general characteristics, then camera
    reviews would be the source, as well as comments from known shooters who
    have used the box in question. But, such reviews and comments need to be
    taken with a grain of salt, since a lot depends on what lens is being used
    on the camera, and how the shots are framed as to whether or not a soft
    image will be obtained.

    If you are talking about how blind shooters will know whether Photoshop is
    working, just close your eyes and sit in front of your computer and load
    Photoshop. Then, try to do something. That's the scene when I try to work
    with it.

    No audible feedback -- zilch. So, I can do nothing with it.

    Take Care,
    Dudley Hanks, Mar 27, 2009
  9. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    One of the problems with critiquing soft-focus shots over the internet, is
    that the effect of the pic on a monitor about 18 inches from the face isn't
    the same as the final print viewed after framing and hanging, at least 5 or
    10 times farther away.

    Certainly, the out-of-focus nose may appear a bit strange when zoomed in on
    and overly obvious, but I doubt any viewer will notice it on the final
    print -- unless, of course, they get up close and personal with the print
    and examine it more minutely than was intended by the photographer.

    Let's not forget that the viewing distance probably plays a larger role than
    the actual focus of the lens.

    Take Care,
    Dudley Hanks, Mar 29, 2009
  10. Dudley Hanks

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    Actually, I only get sighted assistance setting my camera untill I get a
    feel for my camera's menu system. Then, I count clicks (or beeps) to set
    things where I want them.

    Regarding framing and focusing, I seldom use sighted assistance. Instead, I
    either just point and click (as in the shot of "Mich on the Bus," or do the
    best I can interpreting the blurred blotches that appear on the LCD or in
    the viewfinder, as in my portrait shots.

    For me to frame / focus a shot, myself, a number of factors have to be just
    right. The light intensity of the scene can't be too bright or too dim (dim
    works better than bright), and the subject has to contrast with the
    surroundings. To focus, I just turn the focus ring until I get the most
    contrastted image I can achieve. When the contrast level is maximized, the
    shot is in focus. When the blob is where I want it, it's framed.

    It bears repeating that it isn't actually as difficult as most sighted folks
    imagine. I've had years of sighted and semi-sighted shooting to fall back
    on, so, as my eye doctor says, I've got pretty good skills when it comes to
    interpreting blurs. Keep in mind that it takes way more skill just getting
    to a shoot for a blind person, than it does to take the picture.

    Of course, I don't want to minimize the challenge. The aggravation level
    can, indeed, get pretty high at times. But, I love the art and can't
    imagine giving it up.

    Take Care,
    Dudley Hanks, Mar 29, 2009
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