What is recomposing?

It is the action of setting the focus on the subject then reframing (while locking the focus) to get the desired composition. This technique is mostly used when the desired position of the subject in the frame is not under one of the camera focus point.

Why is this a problem?

Lets look at the illustration below.

In both cases, the distance from camera to subject is the same. The only thing that changed is the angle of the camera relative to the subject, which has the effect of changing the position of the focus plane.

In situation 1, the subject is directly in on the focus plane, it will be sharp.

On the other hand, in situation 2 the plane of focus is behind the subject which will result in a soft image.

How soft? It depends of the camera to subject distance and aperture but from my experience, photographers always under estimate the effect of recomposing. Lets see how to mitigate its effect.


There are few solutions to this problem. You can either use a smaller aperture to increase the depth of field which negates the intent of using a wide lens or use the peripheral focus point that is the closest to the subject in the desired composition. Then again, it is not always practical or possible since even peripheral AF points are close to the frame center.

Ironically enough, the solution to this problem is available either in point and shoot with touch focus or expensive Hasselblad with their TrueFocus technology. Hasselblad solution is pretty cool and I suggest you go take a look.


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