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After some shooting, I inevitably find that some photos (and by Murphy, often the best ones) have a blurred subject.

Even if the shots are spontaneous and hence the subject is hardly static, I imagine that selecting shutter priority at 1/200sec. is a guarantee against blurriness resulting from motion (as opposed to limited depth-of-field and incorrect focus).

My question is: Is there a way for me to see where I have set the focus point to determine whether that was the mistake? I am using a Nikon SLR with processing on OS X. Needless to say, available light limits how narrow an aperture I can choose.

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2 Answers 2

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ViewNX 2 will tell you your active focus point(s). (And EXIF contains focal length info, if you are interested in that, by any chance...)

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This is indeed a main option in ViewNX. I recall I gave up on ViewNX (1?) after finding it was not usable to maintain a collection that also includes Canon Elph photos. This is now not a problem: ViewNX2 is happy to handle Canon Elph photos and the EXIF data within appear seamlessly. I'm not sure there is any feature in Picasa that I would miss if I switch to ViewNX. I know that moving out of iPhoto would not have been quite so easy (which is the main reason I used Picasa in the first place). –  Calaf Apr 25 at 21:46
    
Applications that show which focus point was "in focus" at the time of the shot don't show where that focus point was pointed when the focus was locked. If you focus and recompose then where the focus point is displayed in the scene will not be where it was pointed when the camera was focused. –  Michael Clark Apr 26 at 11:11

Most camera manufacturers include such functionality in the software they provide with their DSLR cameras. Since you are shooting Nikon, ViewNX should provide such an option.

A couple of things to keep in mind when analyzing photos with regard to auto focus performance:

  • If you lock focus and then recompose before taking the shot any application that displays which point was in focus will not show you where that focus point was aimed during focus lock but only where it was aimed when the shot was taken.

  • Many DSLRs, especially those with a lot of AF points, use active focus areas for each point that are much larger than the point itself is displayed in the viewfinder. The AF system will focus on the highest area of contrast in the entire area of sensitivity for a given focus point, not just the area directly over the little square in the viewfinder. See Andre's blog for a real world example of how this can result in missed focus. Although the camera in question is different the principle discussed in this answer and this one is not.

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