What eye to focus on when shooting wide open

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by OreoCookie, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #1
    I've gotten a lot better trying to focus on the eyes when shooting portraits wide-open. The D7000's AF system makes nailing the AF a lot easier than my old D80. I've noticed, however, when shooting wide open with either of my primes (30 mm f/1.4 or 50 mm f/1.8) as well as my 80-200 mm f/2.8 that often only one eye can be in focus. So which one should I go for, the one closest to me? Is there a `rule'/suggestion and if so, what is the explanation?

    Note that since I'm thinking of available light photography, stopping down isn't an option.
     
  2. harrisondavies macrumors 6502

    harrisondavies

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    #2
    My opinion is the closest eye, as technically anything in front is blurred and everything behind is blurred, has a better appeal to the onlooker.
     
  3. H2Ockey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #3
    I'm not sure if there are any hard and fast rules, but I would say from some recent experiences the closer eye = better.

    I had a nice outdoor portrait of my daughter and at first zoomed in I was a little upset and a bit confused by the lack sharpness. Then I looked at the other eye. It was a little funny to me that I looked first at the closer eye, and feel that I basically lost a potentially great shot by having focus on the wrong eye. It just doesn't sit well with me on the farther eye.
     
  4. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #4
    Back up or shoot wider- at 80mm on a D7000, DoF is half a foot at 10' and over a foot at 15'. You need at least 20' at 200mm, though 25' would be better. I can see it with the faster lenses, but with the 80-200mm this should be a rare occurrence at normal portrait distances on a DX body. I certainly can't remember an event where I had an issue when I shot my D2x and 80-200.

    Paul
     
  5. OreoCookie thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #5
    That's what the DOF calculators tell us, but in practice, the actual dof seems smaller.

    I've got two examples, one old shot at 135 mm, f/2.8, 1/60 s (click in the image for a full-res version):
    [​IMG]
    Here's a 100 % crop of the eyes:
    [​IMG]

    I've got another one shot with the 30 mm Sigma at f/2, 1/60 s.
    [​IMG]
    Here's a 100 % crop of the eyes:
    [​IMG]

    I'm not unhappy with the shots (especially the second one) nor am I a pixel peeper where a good photo is tack sharp everywhere by definition, I'd just like to hone my skills a little and do things that were random in the past become (semi-)conscious.
     
  6. elfy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #6
    While it's not a hard and fast rule by any means (are there any when it comes to art?) it's generally accepted that you should focus on the closest eye.
     

Share This Page