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Trouble focusing by relying on LCD monitor of my Canon MarkII

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Melissa Hammel
Trouble focusing by relying on LCD monitor of my Canon MarkII
on Mar 29, 2013 at 8:49:14 pm

I had a really tough time determining if my shots were in focus simply by using the LCD monitor on the camera. Turns out only about 60% of them were. There was a lot of guess work. Is there a trick? I simply can not accurately read the monitor on my camera. Thanks in advance for any advise.


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Todd Terry
Re: Trouble focusing by relying on LCD monitor of my Canon MarkII
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:33:31 am

Yeah, the LCD on that Camera (and virtually any camera) is almost useless for precision focusing, especially when shooting with a very shallow depth of field. It's just that the resolution of the LCD screen is just miniscule compared to the real image, it's just showing a small fraction of the actual pixel count... so, no worries, you're not doing anything "wrong"... other than using it for focusing.

Shooting large-sensor cameras pretty much dictates using an HD monitor for focusing (when manual focusing by eyeball, not using any autofocus)... and that means a real HD monitor, not one of the myriad small TTF monitors that say they are HD (look at their actual resolution specs, often they are are really only SD or less, they can just take an HD signal).

Or, there's the old-fashioned "Hollywood" way of focusing, which is still used today... the good old trusty tape measure, and focusing by measurement and the witness marks on the lens. Be warned though, SLR lenses don't always have exact accurate barrel markings. Real cine lenses yes, but SLR lenses, no. They all bear testing.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Melissa Hammel
Re: Trouble focusing by relying on LCD monitor of my Canon MarkII
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:01:35 am

Thank you for your input, Todd. I was afraid of that....But how does anyone shoot a verité documentary anymore? Is there a particular attachable monitor you recommend?


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Todd Terry
Re: Trouble focusing by relying on LCD monitor of my Canon MarkII
on Apr 2, 2013 at 3:53:24 am

Well, there are those of us who would argue that you shouldn't... DSLRs are great tools, but for motion video they are a wrench when you need a screwdriver. I realize there are many many people who feel otherwise, but I'm afraid I'm an old-school "proper" video or film camera guy.

I can't recommend a specific viewfinder because I don't use a DSLR, except for stills. But there are several out there, I'd just suggest doing some hunting and researching. Zacto makes one, I believe RedrockMicro might as well. As far as true HD small TTF screens go, there's SmallHD. Whatever you choose, just look at the REAL screen specs closely and make sure you aren't really getting a low-res screen masquerading as HD.

The other thing you can do, is shoot with higher f-stops to increase the depth of field so that pin-sharp focusing is easier and focus pulling isn't quite as critical. Of course that means more light and/or a higher ISO.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Melissa Hammel
Re: Trouble focusing by relying on LCD monitor of my Canon MarkII
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:52:10 pm

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and thoughts. I'm afraid this is the tool I have, so I've gotta figure out how to manipulate it. I'll look into true HD viewfinders:-)


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