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Cameras, Lenses and Accessories: Discuss Wide angle lens for portrait shots...Hi I am looking to buy a lens for my Canon 400d camera that is suitable for studio portrait photography ...
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Old 18-11-2010, 11:40   #1 (permalink)
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Red face Wide angle lens for portrait shots

Hi I am looking to buy a lens for my Canon 400d camera that is suitable for studio portrait photography and group shots. I need to take group photos of delegates at the completion of thier courses as a memento to go with thier certificates. I have some good studio lights but have been using my EF 18 to 55mm f/3.5 - 5.6 and either I am too far away because they are a big group(approx 25) or I am struggling to focus. I have recently shot at f8.0 iso 400 at 1/60 sec. Its coming out blurred even after I have used a tripod and a trigger.

What am I doing wrong?
Thanx Mims
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Old 18-11-2010, 12:28   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

I would have thought that your 18-55 would give acceptable results.

How are you arranging the group?

What focal length are you using?

Are you using manual or autofocus?

Is the blurring even across the picture, or (for instance) toward the edges?
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Old 18-11-2010, 13:33   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

Hi Dabhand the focal length for this image is 48mm on a manual focus, exposure compensation is 0, using evaluative metering.


Let me know what you think?

Cheers
Mims

Last edited by Midnightstar; 18-11-2010 at 13:38.
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Old 18-11-2010, 13:34   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

Sorry about the big picture, I can't seem to be able to retract the picture and resize.
One to check next time.
Mims
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Old 18-11-2010, 13:38   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

Figured it out how to resize finally. Drama over.
Cheers
Mims

Last edited by Midnightstar; 18-11-2010 at 14:06. Reason: reads wrong
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Old 18-11-2010, 14:21   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

Right - thanks for the additional info

It look like the people are moving during the shot. Is that correct? If so 1/60 is probably too slow to get a sharp image.

Have you tried a faster shutter speed?

If they are not moving, at f8 you ought to have has plenty of depth of field. The depth of field will extend approximately 1/3 in front and 2/3 behind the point of focus. You can check the focus by arranging some objects in your set slightly offset to form a diagonal line. Place them with about one foot spacings in front of and behind the centre one. Focus on the centre one and see what objects are in focus on the image.

It might be a fault on the lens, so you might want to try another lens to see if that one has the same effect. Use a tripod and remote release (or the timer).
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Old 18-11-2010, 14:47   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

Hi Graham,
The other lens I have is a EF90-300mm f/4.5-5.6 or 100mm macro. Should I try these?
Thanks for taking the time out to comment. I will be required to reshoot this again around 4.30 today and am getting worried.
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Old 18-11-2010, 16:03   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

Every time I've been in a studio I've always set up f11, 1/125sec, iso 200 and works a treat. This is what was taught to me during a course a few years back for high key and you then set your light up according to these settings, if i recall back the rear lights lighting the back drop where two stops less than the subject lights or light. So front lights would be f11 and rear f22. These where the exact same settings recommended to me at studio I recently hired as well!!!
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Old 18-11-2010, 16:08   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

If your subjects are moving try 1/200sec with above settings, this is what i've used before for children on a small trampoline in studio and works fine!
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Old 18-11-2010, 19:09   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

Looks like out of focus to me - make sure you manually set focus rather than let AF take over
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Old 02-12-2010, 16:17   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

Okay I might be off my rockers here, I have been known to be way way way off the mark before, but I will give it a try anyways. So here it is. IF you are using studio strobes midnightstar, then the flash SHOULD help you freeze your subjects to a certain degree. So the first thing I would do is to either go back to auto focus and let your camera do the focusing for you or retest your method of manual focusing. I have used the 400D before and like most DSLR manual focusing on a DSLR is not as easy for some people as it was with film camera's viewfinder. From the look of your picture, I would certainly investigate the focusing first.
In regards to shutter speed. Shutter speed works differently in "flash studio lighting" then it does with natural lighting. A faster shutter speed is really not a huge issue in a studio as the flash should help freeze your subject, what a higher shutter speed does do for you in a studio setting is it makes the background darker than the foreground. Also you cannot just crank up your shutter speed in studio as you have a MAX sync speed that you camera and the strobe can sync to, once set over that sync shutter speed you start to get frames cut off and that is not what you want.
F11 is a good setting for large groups of people as you need a larger DOF, but beyond F11 I am not so sure. If you take a look at the strobist site, many strobist would not be able to shoot at such an aperture as their flash simply cannot give them that kind of output in power, yet they can get pictures of large group of people in or a large object. To shoot at F11 to F22 you will need to pump a heck of lot of light out of your strobes (which might or might not be a problem) and from examining your picture, it clearly shows that it is not a problem with movement but rather a problem with focus. [Shots that are not sharp due to movement will show blurred MOVEMENT rather than just blurred people. Your picture has NO blurred movement of any kind, so it is the focusing.]
So when it comes to focusing, it is either you or the camera. Since you are in manual focusing I suggest that you were having an off day when you took these shots and I would try AF instead. However, sometimes a faulty camera or a faulty lens can cause you trouble as well, so clean your camera and your lens.
Once again, I would take Dabhand's advice and try to arrange your subjects in rows or in some other setting other than lining them up in a straight horizontal line. It makes for a more interesting picture as well as it is easier to photograph. Your 18-55 is pretty wide already, unless you want to buy a sigma 10-20 you don't have many choices in terms of going wider with a DSLR. With your crop factor, you can only get so wide...and really you only want to go SO wide.......then you run into other problems....lol
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:17   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

I'd never do a portrait at 1/60 as it is too slow. Any movement you will see. So definitely turn up your shutterspeed as said above.
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Old 03-12-2010, 16:35   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

Shutter speed of 1/60th or not I am not sure...that depends on her strobes. (Flash durations). However, I think her picture was out of focus rather than having motion blur due to movement. The Canon 400D has a max Sync speed of 1/200th, so I think something at or below 1/200th would be acceptable. I personally have taken portraits with subjects who can hold a pose at 1/60th with no problems at all. (I have done that with monoheads as well as with SB28s). Since she is taking shots of people lining up for a photo for after a course is done, I don't see why the shutter speed needs to be very high. Also I think, she should know that increasing or decreasing the shutter speed also affects her background brightness and that shutter speed does not work in the exact same way with flash as it does with natural light photography.
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Old 03-12-2010, 20:55   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

Well that's true. With 1 person it's easier then with 4 though. But yes I agree it was out of focus. Too be honest I've got experience with natural light, but with strobes I've got a lot to learn as yet.
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Old 04-12-2010, 13:30   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

The light duration of a burst of flash is waay shorter than 1/60th of a second...

o
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Old 04-12-2010, 17:09   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

Hence it should be able to freeze action.....tho the big studio strobe has a slower flash duration than the portable flashes..like a SB800
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:08   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

The first point is that the shot looks to me to be out of focus. A quick pixel peep shows none of the obvious signs of excessive movement blur.

Before going any further, you need to check if the lens/focus system is working properly. Stick the camera on a tripod, tape a newspaper to the wall and fill the frame with a page. Focus both automatically and manually, then check the images. You should be able to read the smallest type with reasonable clarity.

If the camera/lens passes this test on both auto and manual, then the simplest explanation is that you just can't focus manually with that combination. No need to feel bad about it, dSLRs are not famed for good focus screens. Check in the manual on how to use 'pre-focus' or whatever it's called these days. That's where you press a button to make the camera autofocus and it then holds that focus point.

If the camera doesn't pass the focus test, then you'll need to get it checked out properly.
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:46   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

Looking at the shot it really does look like a focusing issue to me rather than a motion blur issue, the focus point seems to be behind the subjects as the blinds on the right hand side look sharper than the people.

If your starting off with a reasonable amount of light in the room then the camera's auto focus should give you pretty accurate results most of the time (I'd keep it in 'one shot' mode), just make sure that the active focus point is over the closest subject. You can then go on and fine tune the rest of the settings (shutter speed, flash etc.) to whatever the situation requires... the settings mentioned above are a great starting point.

Regarding your lens situation, I'd definitely use the 100mm macro as much as possible really, providing you have the room to fit everyone/thing you need in the frame of course!, it's a great quality lens. For the times when you need a wider lens and if your still not happy with your 18-55 then maybe changing it for something in the 24-75mm range might work well, both Sigma and Tamron both do f/2.8 versions in this range that are highly regarded and a decent step up in quality over the 18-55.

I realise this info is a bit late to help your innitial problem but hopefully it may be useful for the future.
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Old 29-01-2011, 02:50   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Wide angle lens for portrait shots

Definitely out of focus. I would stay in AV mode with AF on and set white balance to Auto. Set ISO to 100 and you should be on the right track. My 2 cents.

Good luck!
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