David Medeiros's picture

colossal coastal fail - missed focus

Took the morning off to go out to the coast to shoot some rocks and waves at Pescadero SB. The weather has cleared so wasn't expecting to come away with anything great, mostly an exercise trip to work on timing and compositions. Took 72 shots over about 2 hours. Thought I had at least few to play around with in post.

Missed focus on every. single. shot.

I wasn't expecting any keepers, but I wasn't expecting such a colossal failure either. Super discouraging. I miss focus occasionally, but usually only a frame or two out of dozens. I'm always re focusing. I use a tripod. Turn off OIS. Use manual focus with peaking and the magnifier. That usually ensures a majority, if not all, of my shots will be sharp. Need to figure out what I did wrong here, but I'm a little stumped. Will test the lens and camera for focus this weekend.

That's all. Just venting.

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9 Comments

I always bring a display loupe (e.g. https://www.amazon.com/Hoodman-H32MB-HoodLoupe-Outdoor-Screens/dp/B074N4...) these days to avoid that exact scenario.

David Medeiros's picture

I have a pair of reading glasses I bring now. With those on and the evf magnifier in manual focus, I'm pretty spot on with focus. I sometimes check the image afterwards, but usually catch bad focus before I snap the shot.

Thing is I did all of the normal stuff this time and still got 100% out of focus shots. I'm sure this is somehow my fault, but I don't think I actually missed focus myself. I checked focus repeatedly during the shoot and everything look normal. I must have done something else. The frames all included moving water so I'm wondering if I accidentally set continuous focus. Or I may have been using too large an aperture creating a narrow plain of focus with an angled sunbject (shooting sloping beach from above on a cliff). But I don't think so, I was at 6.3 most of the time I think, on am MFT camera, so lots of DOF.

Alan Brown's picture

I have been tempted toy buy a loupe - do you find this works better than using the built-in magnifier?

Hello Alan, the thing is with the loupe you have a much wider view, with the magnifier you need to move around the image. Besides, the magnifier won't help you in bright conditions, the loupe will.

Alan Brown's picture

It sounds like your workflow is pretty solid, like you I try to ensure focus by magnifying the subject, but find autofocus normally get it spot on.
My biggest issues arise after the AF has difficulty (low contrast, long exposure) and I forget to switch back.

Let us know what you find

David Medeiros's picture

I'll do a focus test tomorrow and post what I find.

David Medeiros's picture

Hopefully the gif I'm uploading will play for you. This is a set of RAW mages from the coast yesterday. I took several strings like this, all from the same location all w the same settings and focal length, so basically fames in a movie! Well when you play them as a movie it becomes obvious what the issue probably was... see any rocks moving?

This was a steep rock bank (I'm shooting down from above so its hard to tell). As every wave came in you could hear the rocks all moving around. Never occurred to me that would of course cause them to blur is I'm shooting at 1/2 - 2 second exposure. Some rocks are moving outright, others are probably vibrating from the overall ruckus. Not sure why this was't an issue a few weeks back. But makes sense to me know. I'll still check my lens, but I think this was the real issue.

David Medeiros's picture

Confirmed. Shot some pics over the weekend, all as sharp as I would expect. The rocks moving and vibrating must have been the issue here. Whew!

David Medeiros's picture

now I want go back to shoot a timelapse!