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Old Jan 6, 2013, 07:41 AM   #1
mickimac
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I'm a blind photographer! :-(

I love being a photographer, however my eye sight is getting pretty bad. 80 percent of my work is either very soft or blurry and its starting to get pretty embarrassing. Besides the obvious, making sure that my settings are correct to get clear pictures, I have gone to Auto focus and even that turns out blurry every now and then. The reality of it all is my eye sight is bad. So is there any gadgets out there to help me (i.e. bifocul diopter!!!!). Maybe my eye sight isn't THAT bad but its getting there. HELP!!!!

Camera Type: Cannon EOS 7d
Lens: Cannon Zoom Lens EF 24 - 70mm 1:28 L USM
Flash: Canon speedlite 580EX II
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 07:56 AM   #2
ChristianJapan
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Sorry to hear about your trouble with eye sight. First suggestion: did you went for an eye doctor having a check ? Maybe there is some way to fix or minimise the impact.

Regarding gadgets: how is the auto focus setup in the Canon ? Do you use center AF point only ? If not it might be good to see if there is an improvement. Sometimes the Canon AF system is a bit random with its focus point selection. I struggled with that on my 1DM3 until I switched to one dedicated AF point (no "ring of fire").

Are you shooting mainly indoor with lower light ?

Is the flash always attached (because you could use the focus assist beam)

Shoot raw files and do post processing for corrections and sharpen.

Tell us a bit more about your shooting; maybe samples with EXIF data.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 08:17 AM   #3
acearchie
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May sound silly but have you attempted to adjust the diopter in the cameras eyepiece?

It's something that a lot of people just miss but apart from that have you considered contact lenses?

The bluriness might be down to using too slow a shutter speed and allowing in some camera shake from your body and hands. Do you have an example of some of the shots?
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 08:21 AM   #4
MCAsan
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Set the camera body diopter for any needed correction. I need reading glasses but do not wear them for photography. I set the diopter correction on the view fielder for the needed correction. If that is not enough, wear the needed glasses and then set the diopter correction.

When shooting still objects (landscapes, portraits,...etc.) always use a tripod. No one holds a camera as steady as a good tripod, ballhead, and clamp. Also use mirror lockup and 2 second timer. The 2 second timer provides time for any vibration from the mirror lockup to subside.

Double check which AF point is going to be used and manually select it if needed. Remember that having the eyes in focus on people or animals is key. Shoot with a variety of DOFs so that you can pick the best one later for post processing.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 11:20 AM   #5
Designer Dale
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Shooting LiveView with one of these might help.

Hoodman Loupe

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Old Jan 8, 2013, 12:40 AM   #6
mickimac
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Hello all, thanks so much for responses!

I wear contacts and reading glasses. I am in the military and I am the squadrons photographer. Every 3 weeks we have a class of students graduating and I take their pictures. It is always at the officers club so the lighting really suck. So I started using the auto focus thinking that I would get clearer pictures. Nope, the pictures come out very soft and yellow. I also have my flash on. I tried playing with the diopter but I have put it as high as it would go. I have gotten a lot of feedback about using the live view.

I actually used the live view today to take headshots of 20 of our students. The pictures came out great. Weird because when I put the camera on auto focus and look through the view finder, the pictures comes out soft, and the color is yellow (and that's on AUTO FOCUS!!!! But when I change it to live view (keeping it on AUTO FOCUS and not changing anything) the picture is clear (still not as crisp but clear) and the color is great! This lead me to believe maybe my camera do need a checkup like a few of the people suggested. *:-)*

Your comments came just in time. I have been tasked to do 2 huge Change of Commands (that's the changing of our commanders) on 18 Jan and 22 Feb. *I am actually kind of nervous about it! There will be guest speakers, high ranking individuals, People will be in formation, they will do the changing of the squadron flag, and a pluthera of other stuff! YIKEs I think I'm freaking myself out now!!! Hahahahaha.*
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 02:35 AM   #7
Laird Knox
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Out of curiosity where are you stationed?
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 04:32 AM   #8
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The yellowing is nothing to do with the focus, rather it is to do with an incorrectly set white balance for the lighting conditions. Do you have it on automatic? You may get better results with a preset for the conditions you find yourself in (or shoot RAW and correct later).

I am unsure if canon cameras are able to use more information to set the white balance when using live view, but I can see it might be be the case.

My eyes are fine but I still use autofocus, or at least the guide light in my Nikon. Modern camera focusing screens are built for brightness rather than shallow depth of field. It is impossible to focus accurately with them when using wide apertures.

And the tripod or a monopod is not a bad shout. Are there any examples you might be able to share so we can better analyse your problem? I appreciate maybe not if they're work shots.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acearchie View Post
[H]ave you attempted to adjust the diopter in the cameras eyepiece?
If it's as bad as he makes it sound, he'll need to buy a diopter lens. On my Nikon, the stock eyepiece only goes from -3 to +1, in half diopter increments, but they offer further correction lenses, going from -6 to +3. Perhaps that and a magnifier (a la DG-2) could help? I'm not sure if Canon offers something similar, but it's food for thought. Between that and a monopod, OP should be set.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 02:13 PM   #10
Laird Knox
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Originally Posted by milbournosphere View Post
Between that and a monopod, OP should be set.
Oh that's a good point - are the bad images from being out of focus or motion blur due to slow shutter speeds in the low light?
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 04:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickimac View Post
Hello all, thanks so much for responses!

I wear contacts and reading glasses. I am in the military and I am the squadrons photographer. ...
If you can, post a couple of examples. It will help to figure out what is happening.

-------

On a another note - this is typical military procedure - put the blind guy in charge of the photography....

I say that with tongue in cheek, and with deep respect. Let me tell you tale.... My Uncle was determined to enlist in the US Army in the WW II. The fact that he was verging into being legally blind was not a obstacle... he just kept showing up and volunteering at different enlistment offices until he had the eye chart memorized. His first job? Interpreting aerial bomb damage photos.... Luckily for the American war effort in Italy he was quickly switched to managing the Officer's clubs.

He - and the Americans around him - survived the war and he became my favourite Uncle. I still have a bunch of photos from his time there.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 04:42 PM   #12
ChristianJapan
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Agree with leighonigar: the yellow comes from a missed white balance; do it yourself or shoot raw and correct later. How often I missed to change that setting can't be counted; so I alwas shoot raw and be on th safe side.

Now when you used to shoot mainly indoor: are you using the flash in ETTL or manual mode ? I had so many times wrong exposures because the flash had a different opinion from what I wanted. So I started to use the flash in manual mode. There is a nice book explain some techniques around that (Speedliter’s Handbook). Have that as kindle version on my iPad.
Specially if you have often the same scene and distance to people; they are not fast moving like little kids the few more seconds for a proper flash setup can get you more consistent images.

Why that ? Because you might be able to get a higher f-number/aperture which increase the DOF "covering" sharpness errors you get.

If you are lucky you might get some real (light) lightning equipment for indoor ? And dump the SpeedLite ?
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 08:29 PM   #13
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Let's hope you find a low-cost solution that doesn't involve buying focusing aids. If not -- Hoodman is fine, but I know a Hollywood DP who swears by this:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...er_Pro_3x.html

saying he's hauled it all around the world and it's never let him down.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 09:03 AM   #14
GXPvince
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickimac View Post
Hello all, thanks so much for responses!

I wear contacts and reading glasses. I am in the military and I am the squadrons photographer. Every 3 weeks we have a class of students graduating and I take their pictures. It is always at the officers club so the lighting really suck. So I started using the auto focus thinking that I would get clearer pictures. Nope, the pictures come out very soft and yellow. I also have my flash on. I tried playing with the diopter but I have put it as high as it would go. I have gotten a lot of feedback about using the live view.

I actually used the live view today to take headshots of 20 of our students. The pictures came out great. Weird because when I put the camera on auto focus and look through the view finder, the pictures comes out soft, and the color is yellow (and that's on AUTO FOCUS!!!! But when I change it to live view (keeping it on AUTO FOCUS and not changing anything) the picture is clear (still not as crisp but clear) and the color is great! This lead me to believe maybe my camera do need a checkup like a few of the people suggested. *:-)*

Your comments came just in time. I have been tasked to do 2 huge Change of Commands (that's the changing of our commanders) on 18 Jan and 22 Feb. *I am actually kind of nervous about it! There will be guest speakers, high ranking individuals, People will be in formation, they will do the changing of the squadron flag, and a pluthera of other stuff! YIKEs I think I'm freaking myself out now!!! Hahahahaha.*
I want to know how your blind and in the military? You must not be blind and exaggerating a bit. I am/was a combat Photographer/Videographer with horrible eye sight also (until the Military paid for my PRK(LASIC type) surgery). I am almost certain you have the same schooling as I do (if your US military).

Your doing something wrong is what it comes down to and I believe it is related to you looking through the view finder. Does the picture look sharp right before the shutter snap? If it doesn't then you need to adjust the setting that is located on the viewfinder. And manual focusing is something I never do in most situations. Let the camera do all the work, believe it or not the camera will do a better job at focusing than you realize.

Btw, I used to do a lot of COC's (mostly Video) easy stuff. Nothing to get worried about. The Photo Marines used 200-400mm lenses, amazing photos for a COC.
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