Question about Nikon D200 Body Only Digital Camera

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Who to focus on when shooting a family with Nikon D200

I have the Nikon D200. I have a problem on who to have my active sensor through the view finder on when shooting a family portrait so everyone is sharp. Help!!

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  • dh1073 Feb 07, 2008

    Thanks for responding! Here is a long version-

    Hi, I have a some knowledge about exposure ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed. I have been reading a lot and have been doing some shoots for high school seniors, babies/children, and families. I do great when shooting just one person, but when it comes to two or more people it confuses to who to lock focus on. I shoot in Single-area-AF. I know that if say two people are side-by side the same distance from my lens then I can focus on one and recompose, but I have had other peope say toggle with the active focus and move it to one or the other instead of recomposing. ( tell me if I'm wrong or there is a better way) I know that if I'm shooting more than one person say 10 I've been told if they are in a 2 rows focus on someone in the middle of the pack. Also DOF can't be to shallow so everyone is sharp. I've been on the DOF calculator site and know that you have to be a certain distance from the subject do to the focal length of the lens you have on your camera. My big problem I try to go by all of that and it never fails the person I lock focus on is always the sharpest in the group. I have tried everything I can think of and try to find articles to read on the internet but I've never really get a straight answer. Some say if you are shooting 2 people ( a couple) focus on one then recompose. If I shoot let say 10 in 2 rows focus on one in the middle of the pack and ( then some say focus on someone in the 1st row. Gosh I just want to narrow down what I'm doing wrong because I'm being asked to do lots of family shoots and they are never really sharp, well the person I lock focus on is but the others look a soft. I've seen some awesome pictures of let say a family of 5 and the background out of focus ( SDOF). I want to be able to do that. Please someone help me shoot 2 to 20 people sharp. Help! Thanks

  • dh1073 Feb 07, 2008

    Hi thanks, yes I have the Nikon 17-55 and in primes the 35mm, 50mm and the 85mm. So maybe one of the primes or the 17-55? I also have the 24-85 2.8 and the 18-200 VR but I don't think those are good choses. Thanks so much!!

  • dh1073 Feb 07, 2008

    Thanks for the info!!

  • dh1073 Feb 10, 2008

    On this one pic the larger family pic, I did had them in two rows and focused on someone in the in the back row and was 15 ft. back. I wish I would have had my 35 or 50 at the time. I would have used one of them instead of the 24-85 zoom lens. Yes I do have the SB800 in this shot it was outside had the Gary Fong lightshpere diffuser on the 800. Thanks so much for trying to help me!!

  • lurdes Dec 12, 2008

    yes I too have the same problem. I'm hoping for some help with getting the group all in focus..Help!

  • Kevin Pettit
    Kevin Pettit May 11, 2010

    How are your subjects arranged? 1 row, 2, 3? Are you using the built-in flash or a larger external? Finally, What mode are you shooting in on the camera?



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Anything you can do to increase the depth of field will help. I've found that focusing on the center person in the back row (of say a group of 8-12 in two rows) works better than the front one. F8 minimum @ a distance of 12-15 feet works pretty good with a short zoom.

Posted on Feb 07, 2008

  • Kevin Pettit
    Kevin Pettit Feb 07, 2008

    I would think the 35mm or the 50mm would be ideal. Any extra ambient light or external flash would fill larger groups better. I've had good success with an old Vivitar 285 on a slave shoe, bouncing off the ceiling in close quarters with a full size flash on the camera.



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