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Out of focus images

oldtedoldted Member
edited December 2015 in general photography
Neil, I have been a follower of yours for many years and have several of your books. But, I am now having a problem with focusing two people side by side.

They may be a couple inches from being on the same plane. I focus on the eye of the person that is closes to me and that person is in focus. The person next to her will be blurred, not in focus. I have tried

different setting and lens. I have even tried a different camera. Camera setting: 1/250 @f/4.5 @800 ISO, SB 800, Nikon 85mm f/1.8G, Nikon D700. I hope I did not make this too complicated. Help!

The images are straight out of the camera. The first image the focus was on the large doll. The second image the focus was on the small doll.

image image


  • NikonguyNikonguy Member
    edited December 2015
    Hi, you answered your own question: "They may be a couple inches from being on the same plane."

    The exif on the first one says the focus distance is 1.33 m. Second one 1.41 m. Quite close to the subjects either way. A depth of field calculator says at 1.33 m focus distance at 85mm, f/4.5 on a D700, the depth of field behind the subject is just 0.03 m. This is just slightly over 1 inch! And that is for "acceptable sharpness," not pixel peeping sharpness.

    Some ideas to solve:
    • Get the subjects in the same plane.
    • If you must use the 85mm at that focus distance, you need to stop down more (although at 1.33 m you may need as small as f/11 to get the smaller doll in focus). Also, you could focus in between the two dolls rather than on the closer or further one. That would buy you the ability to use a slightly larger aperture (although not as large as f/4.5).
    • If you must use the 85mm but can change the focus distance, back up. Shooting from 3 m away would help a lot, although the subjects would be smaller in the frame.
    • Use a wider angle lens.

    Edit to add: Here is a link to a DOF calculator if you want to try some settings


  • Nikonguy, Thankyou for all the info it was very helpful. Thanks again!
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