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12-19-2011, 04:39 PM   #1
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Help with 77mm f1.8 limited

Just got a 77mm limited to go along with my K5 and I am having trouble taking pictures of more than one person. I know this is a portrait lens, but is there a secret to get three people in focus with this lens. I've only had it for a day and the images it produces are like out of a magazine with one person, but when I focus on a group it hits one person and slightly blurs the others. This is my first portrait lens and any tips and hints would be greatly appreciated. I will take any advice on this setup that I can get. Thanks!

12-19-2011, 04:54 PM   #2
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Zoom with your feet and stop it down to F8 or F11

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12-19-2011, 05:26 PM   #3
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congrats on the 77!
The magic of that lens is in the wider apertures but squeezing in more than one person is a challenge without stopping down a bit as adam suggested. for starters, arrange your subjects so their faces are in the same relative plane of focus. you may have to get creative with positioning. Once they are arranged, the difference between the closest and furthest person's face/eyes will determine how much DOF you'll need. There are charts for this or you could just snap a few while stopping down until you get the minimum amount of DOF to reasonably capture them. Focus 1/3rd of the way into the area created by the front person and the back-most person.

Here, i used the 77mm to photograph my kids in the backyard. i really wanted to blur out the leaves, ie, max aperture while still getting the kids' faces in reasonable focus. In this example, the rear-most child (on left) is slightly out of focus at f/2.8. If I were shooting this again, i would click up to f/3.5 perhaps. They were constantly fidgeting, standing up, playing in the leaves, so there wasn't much time for studying the zooms on my LCD. Regardless, i caught the beauty of the lens as well as a good holiday portrait.


12-21-2011, 05:03 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice Adam. A few more question. What should I have the autofocus on for more than one person? When I am taking portraits I put it on center focus (is this right), but I'm confused when taking a group photo. Also, when taking pictures in a home with poor lighting what shutter speed would you suggest? My k5 is great, but is struggling in my poorly lit living room in program mode. When I switch to manual mode I can override the camera and get decent shots without the flash, but would take suggestions. Thanks in advance!

12-21-2011, 05:18 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikeSF Quote
congrats on the 77!
The magic of that lens is in the wider apertures but squeezing in more than one person is a challenge without stopping down a bit as adam suggested. for starters, arrange your subjects so their faces are in the same relative plane of focus. you may have to get creative with positioning. Once they are arranged, the difference between the closest and furthest person's face/eyes will determine how much DOF you'll need. There are charts for this or you could just snap a few while stopping down until you get the minimum amount of DOF to reasonably capture them. Focus 1/3rd of the way into the area created by the front person and the back-most person.

Here, i used the 77mm to photograph my kids in the backyard. i really wanted to blur out the leaves, ie, max aperture while still getting the kids' faces in reasonable focus. In this example, the rear-most child (on left) is slightly out of focus at f/2.8. If I were shooting this again, i would click up to f/3.5 perhaps. They were constantly fidgeting, standing up, playing in the leaves, so there wasn't much time for studying the zooms on my LCD. Regardless, i caught the beauty of the lens as well as a good holiday portrait.

Lovely photo Mike. Almost, almost, makes me want the 77.
12-21-2011, 08:00 PM   #6
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try to get as much light as possible because a poorly lit room will challenge the camera. For me, i wouldn't go below 1/60th sec shutter speed when shooting very stationary people. you probably cant use f/8 indoors, so maybe f/4 with a bumped up ISO will work unless you know how to use your flash.
i dont pretend to be a portrait photographer but you want as much light as possible, diffused light even better.

In my pic above, it was way too dark inside but outside it was totally overcast. this is perfect soft light for faces. i placed the bright sky behind me and to my left a little and then shot a flash through a reflector to my right. The tree branches were casting shadows on the faces so i had to bump up the flash power a little more to balance that out. ISO 80 allowed me to keep the pic super clean for printing enlargements.
good luck.
for auto focus, you are working with a relatively narrow plane of focus, so dont lock on the closest face nor the furthest face; pick the person in inside that plane, generally speaking. in the example above, i would select the eye of the child on the right for focus.
12-21-2011, 08:00 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
Lovely photo Mike. Almost, almost, makes me want the 77.
thanks doc.
12-21-2011, 11:33 PM   #8
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Freewheelin, it sounds to me like you are only used to point and shoot cameras and unfortunetly K5 isn't and requires a bit of knowledge how to use. I recommend you pick up a book that will teach you the basics of photography, like shutter, aperture, iso, DOF etc... The reason SLRs can take great photos, is because they give you control of this variables and you can become creative. But to be able to use them, you have to understand them. K5 isn't a point and shoot camera, even with it's green mode.

To shoot a group of people, you select a person who is in middle of DOF of the particular lens + aperture, you can preview your DOF to make sure that everything is sharp and then recompose the camera and take a photo. K5 doesn't have a group mode, it requires you to know about cameras. Learn and enjoy, not to mention become more creative.

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