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Thread: DOF and Macro

  1. #1
    Pjerry's Avatar
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    DOF and Macro

    With great interest I read this discussion started by Pat in San Jose. Man, what a expertise and knowledge on this forum, really outstanding.

    In the beginning Pat stated:
    In the part of the tutorial I did follow, it is approximately true (except for macro shots) that for equivalent fields of view, to maintain the same depth of field requires an f-number inversely proportional to the sensor width.
    That's just where I'm facing problems. I bought on my Nikon D7000 a Nikkor 105mm Micro. I faced the problem of using the right aperture when I made a macro of a Green Lacewing. Here a 100% crop of his head:

    DOF and Macro
    Groene gaasvlieg (Goudoogje) \ Green Lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea) by PjerryT, on Flickr

    With smaller apertures I couldn't get the matrix in the eyes clear (diffraction). But now, as you can see the DOF is too small to get the total insect sharp all the way. Further backwards is no real option, because the insect will be too small on the picture (and that's not the reason why I bought the lens ).

    I'm facing the problem with close-ups from flowers, macro's from insects, a.s.o.

    Did I bought the wrong lens or is their a simple work-around? Apply for a macro lens also the DOF rules? I'm really interested in your answers.

    I hope my English is good enough to clarify my problem.

  2. #2

    Re: DOF and Macro

    Hello

    That is a real great picture. That is one of my interests is to take close ups of tiny creatures and flowers and be creative.
    Can anyone suggest the best Macro lens to buy for a Nikon D7000? And will it be able to shoot long distance or do I need a separate lens for distance?

    I learned about how f/1.4 allows more light into the subject than the higher f/3-5.6 aperture. Does that apply to Macro aswell?
    At the moment I am saving to buy my very first Nikon D7000 and I need to know what lens I should get that does both (Macro & Distance) and still get a great professional image. Will be back later to check for responses to my questions

    Thank You!

  3. #3
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    Re: DOF and Macro

    Hi Pierre,

    You may want to look at the CiC tutorial here:

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...cro-lenses.htm

    The part that is of most importance is the following:

    The more one magnifies a subject, the shallower the depth of field becomes.
    This means that as you get closer to a subject you need to stop down the aperture just to keep everything in focus. This has resulting problems with the amount of light that can reach the sensor. You will have to use a slow shutter speed and may need more light from a flash. The use of a slow shutter means you may have to use a tripod.

    The use of flash has its own problems. Since the subject is so close it is hard to get even lighting with the standard camera flash and you may get a shadow from the lens. This is why dedicated ring flashes exist for macro. These form a ring around the end of the lens and provide even lighting. You can also try using an off-camera flash with a standard speedlight to illuminate the subject from a different angle with a more even light.

    The DOF calculator in the tutorial should help you work out your depth of field and the settings you need for your focussing distance.

    Hope this helps.

    Alex

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: DOF and Macro

    Hi Pierre,

    I'd quite like one of them D7000's

    I do have that lens and basically what you are describing is a fact of life I'm afraid.
    You need to understand the technicalities, perhaps moreso for macro than other forms of photography, I recommend reading the tutorials here and asking more specific questions (here in the forums) if there is anything you don't quite understand.

    Is there a workaround to the lack of DoF problem? Yes; it is called focus stacking - shooting several images with fractionally different focus distances set, or leave the focus fixed and move camera slightly fore and aft (on a macro rail). There's a tutorial on that too.
    Focus stacking won't work for many insect subjects, but this particular species seem to be quite happy to pose motionless, possibly making it viable.

    This was my best effort at one of these last October;
    DOF and Macro
    Not easy, even with a cooperative subject; 1/60s f/11.0 at 105.0mm iso400, not focus stacked.
    This was, against all good advice, shot handheld with on camera flash (take lens hood off to minimise lens shadow that Alex mentioned), focus in single mode and click when it beeps - if not on a tripod; try several shots (in burst fire mode) as you frame up and one may be better than others.

    I recently bought some LED lights for this use, but find that having a bright, continuous source of daylight so close disturbs (and attracts ) them, so a flash solution is better, also helps freeze any subject movement and operator wobble

    btw, your English is perfect,

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: DOF and Macro

    Quote Originally Posted by Khrystyne View Post
    Hello

    That is a real great picture. That is one of my interests is to take close ups of tiny creatures and flowers and be creative.
    Can anyone suggest the best Macro lens to buy for a Nikon D7000? And will it be able to shoot long distance or do I need a separate lens for distance?

    I learned about how f/1.4 allows more light into the subject than the higher f/3-5.6 aperture. Does that apply to Macro aswell?
    At the moment I am saving to buy my very first Nikon D7000 and I need to know what lens I should get that does both (Macro & Distance) and still get a great professional image. Will be back later to check for responses to my questions

    Thank You!
    Hi Khrystyne, (an interesting name)

    I will envy your new body, the D7000 I mean, although - thinking about how mine has gone outa shape, maybe ...

    Welcome to the CiC forums from me

    Yes, the same rules apply; lower f number lets in more light, BUT (and it was a biggie, see that) when you shoot macro, you need the extra depth of field that say f/11 or f/16 gives, so having a lens that is a f/3-5.6 amximum won't matter then. That said, (meaning I'm about to contradict myself), I do love using the 105mm at f/2.8 on non macro subjects.

    Photography isn't cheap and if you want professional quality, the roughly thousand dollars/euros/pounds (btw; where are you?) of the D7000 body is going to be just the tip of an iceberg

    For small insect shooting, you will need a dedicated macro lens, at least 105mm, or longer, which may mean going third party; e.g. I think Sigma do a 150mm, you need the longer focal length to shoot from a greater distance (so as not to scare 'em away). There are also cheaper options, extension rings or 'close up filters', but these will (respectively) make life more difficult at shooting time or compromise quality.

    For large insects like dragon flies, while not macro, you can get acceptable images with say a 70-300mm telephoto zoom. I was going to provide an example, but I haven't shown any of my recent images This lens will also do for 'long distance' work - as will the 105mm macro as long as you don't need the longer focal length to bring distant objects closer. Beware other manufacturers claims of being "macro" 70-300's, yes they will focus closer, but not to achieve the 1:1 magnification of a proper fixed focal length macro lens. Also third party lenses are usually slightly lower quality (but more affordable).

    For flowers, a shorter focal length macro lens may do; 40 - 85mm in Nikon's range. You could use the 105mm if you can get far enough away though.

    "Being creative", I wonder what that means?
    It might mean you want access to wide angles of view than the focal lengths we have been discussing here, not cheap, but I'd recommend the Nikon 18-200mm, it is a compromise, with almost an 11x zoom range. Only downside; it does suffer zoom creep when pointed up or down, but that's only an annoyance when shooting and won't affect the quality of images. 18mm on a crop body D7000 may not be wide enough, I am considering getting something that starts around 10 or 12mm myself at the moment.

    Cheers,

  6. #6
    PhotomanJohn's Avatar
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    Re: DOF and Macro

    Khrystyne - In my opinion the Micro Nikkor 105 VR is very good at what it is good at but not a general purpose lens. If you comb the internet you will find others who say that this lens requires some time to learn how to use. In my opinion it is an excellent macro lens and an alright portrait lens but a very poor medium telephoto for any distance work. This should not be too surprising since it was optimized for close work and they had to give up some things in the process. I was rather disappointed with mine when I got it until I spent some quality time using it and quit trying to use it for things it is not good for. I have better lenses for distant work than the 105.

    I have no experience with the Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro macro lens but Ken Rockwell loves it and it is about half the price of the Nikkor. It doesn't have VR so it won't be as well for catching those critters crawling around in your yard while shooting handheld. The VRII system works well even at fairly close distances. Most of my macro is on a tripod where the VR is turned off anyway. I would read Ken's comments on both lenses for reference. I would also consider buying one of the earlier model Nikkor 105's used as another option.

    John
    Last edited by PhotomanJohn; 20th August 2011 at 03:17 PM.

  7. #7
    Pjerry's Avatar
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    Re: DOF and Macro

    To begin with, thanks all, for your quick responses.

    @Khrystyne
    You have taken over for a bit this topic .
    The lenses I used most now-a-days, are this lens (the 105 mm Micro, I love him) and my 18-105mm which comes as a kit with the D7000.
    I bought (among others) also the 50mm 1.8D, for portrait uses. The lens is a real bargain, but I've ever hardly used him (got it only for 2 months or so). To my surprise portraits could better be taken with 105 mm (depending on what you want to see on the picture). Although taken with my 18-105 mm, in the attachment is a portrait at 105mm, so it will give you a good impression. The 105 mm Micro is sharper!. It also is a difficult lens.
    There are some issues with the AF. It need rather a lot of contrast to focus, otherwise it will hunt. But it is fast, crispy sharp, good contrast, nice colors. I really love him.
    I have tried this lens together with the Tamron 90mm macro. The Nikkor is sharper, faster, has a VR and last but not least IF (internal focusing). All together, if you want to spend the money (and has it ) I really do recommend the Nikkor.
    P.S. I haven't tried the Nikkor 180 mm macro....

    @herbert
    Thank you. You pointed me one of the view tutorials I haven't read yet. Thanks for that.

    I know about the aperture. When I narrow more, the diffraction is getting to high so the very tiny matrix is lost then. With larger aperture my DOF is less. So from the dozen of photo's I took () this was the best option, but still not good enough to my opinion.
    The total picture:
    DOF and Macro
    Groene gaasvlieg (Goudoogje) \ Green Lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea) by PjerryT, on Flickr
    with real great detail:
    DOF and Macro
    Groene gaasvlieg (Goudoogje) \ Green Lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea) by PjerryT, on Flickr
    (100% crop of the wing).
    I used the internal flash at lowest light and a strobist SB-600 from left above, with diffuser at +2 eV to compensate for the diffuser (it's all possible with the D7000 ). 1/250 sec f /16. That's what I can recall from the Exif.

    A ring flash is a step to far yet. I first have to know or macro is going to be "my thing". On my wishlist are the rather expensive 24-70 and 70-200mmm f/2.8 so I have to be careful what to buy .

    @ Dave
    btw, your English is perfect,
    I think it's better than the Dutch of most of you .
    But perfect.....Thanks anyway, I'm trying to do my best.

    A rather stunning shot you have there. At this moment, it's a bridge to far for me to take that kind of pictures handheld, but it improves every day.

    Mine was taken from a tripod (Manfrotto 055XPROB). Focusing with Lv at maximum magnification. The camera has a delay of 2 sec, to get rid off any vibration. I didn't want to take my remote control :lol:.

    Photo stacking is also something for the future. I'm right now focusing on SOOC. Post-processing is something I don't know anything of.

    I'm thinking about LED's too, but only for portrait.

    Thanks all once again. I think I have to live with it .
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: DOF and Macro

    Quote Originally Posted by Pjerry View Post
    I'm thinking about LED's too, but only for portrait.
    My lights are VERY bright, too bright for a subject to comfortably look at indoors, even from a distance, but outside, when the subject's eyes would be irised down anyway, it might be ok.

    My dutch is rubbish, it is true,

  9. #9
    Pjerry's Avatar
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    Re: DOF and Macro

    I though they have a intensity setting on it. They are relative cheap, that's why I was thinking about it. But if they are of no use......

  10. #10
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: DOF and Macro

    Quote Originally Posted by Pjerry View Post
    I though they have a intensity setting on it. They are relative cheap, that's why I was thinking about it. But if they are of no use......
    That's why I got them.

    Yes, very bright and very, very bright
    The lamps themselves get a bit warm too, although the light beam is ok.

    I haven't had them 7 days yet, so too soon to say
    I'm sure they'll be useful for something, they make good torches because the diffuse source is better at illuminating behind furniture if you lost something

    Cheers,

  11. #11
    Pjerry's Avatar
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    Re: DOF and Macro

    LOL, I will consider to buy them for that purpose.

    Tanks again,

    Cheers, Pierre

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