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Portrait Example

For a portrait to succeed, invariably at least one eye must be sharp (the surface of the eyeball to be precise). We don’t demand crisp eyelashes or hair, but at least one eye had better be sharp.

Focus somewhere inside the eyeball means a blurred eye, a throw-away. Do this as a professional more than once and maybe you’ll have to find a new job—it’s probably one reason one sees so many portraits shot at f/11 or f/16 with strobes: it’s hard to get focus exact at wide apertures.

Shown below is our very cooperative model, able to hold perfectly still and very patient with our efforts. The shooting distance corresponds roughly to a head and shoulders portrait.

Focus was carefully placed on the eye at right using Live View. At f/1.2 the eye at right looks sharp albeit with low contrast, by f/2 there is a strong shift of focus to the eye at left, moving further to the left at f/2.8!

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Diglloyd Making Sharp Images articulates years of best practices and how-to, painstakingly learned over a decade of camera and lens evaluation.

Save yourself those years of trial and error by jump-starting your photographic technical execution when making the image. The best lens or camera is handicapped if the photographer fails to master perfect shot discipline. High-resolution digital cameras are unforgiving of errors, at least if one wants the best possible results.

  • Eases into photographic challenges with an introductory section.
  • Covers aspects of digital sensor technology that relate to getting the best image quality.
  • Technique section discusses every aspect of making a sharp image handheld or on a tripod.
  • Depth of field and how to bypass depth of field limitations via focus stacking.
  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
  • MTF, field curvature, focus shift: insight into the limitations of lab tests and why imaging performance is far more complex than it appears.
  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
  • How to test a lens for a “bad sample”.

Intrigued? See Focusing Zeiss DSLR Lenses For Peak Performance, PART ONE: The Challenges, or (one topic of many) field curvature.

Aperture series 1.2, 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8 available in full article

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