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Thread: better depth of field

  1. #1

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    better depth of field

    Just took my first real macro with the Tamron 90 mm and am wondering how to get a better depth of field, is it possible to get the whole bee in focus?

    [IMG]better depth of field[/IMG]

    Nikon D7000
    f/5.6
    1/125sec
    ISO - 200
    90mm
    Peter

  2. #2
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: better depth of field

    Hi Peter, maybe. If the subject is not moving, quickly take as many shots as you can while varying the focus then load all the images as layers in Photoshop, then use Edit/Auto-Align Layers followed by Edit/Auto-Blend Layers to pick out the sharpest part of each image and stitch them into a single image.

    If there is time and you have it, set up a flash or two to increase the f-stop above f5.6.

  3. #3

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    Re: better depth of field

    Try an f-stop in the direction of f13 to f22.
    Anyways, I suggest you read the tutorial on macro photography here on CIC.
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...cro-lenses.htm
    Last edited by Hero; 29th October 2011 at 02:33 PM.

  4. #4

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    Re: better depth of field

    I have the same lense and I have found it much better to take a step back which should allow you to continue using a faster shutter speed whilst getting the DOF you require, you can then crop the end result

  5. #5

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    Re: better depth of field

    Is it possible to get the whole bee in focus?

    Working with a narrower aperture will help like Hero said. I usually find F14 to be a good compromise.

    But from my experience you really only have two options here, Peter. Stack multiple shots with different focus, or get absolutely square with the subject so more of it will be in your limited focus depth.

    Personally, I have found that trying to get suitable shots for focus stacking just doesn't work in the real world, particularly with creatures like bees which won't stay still; plus wind movement problems.

    Occasionally, using a tripod, I have managed a couple of shots of things like beetles on the ground but it is difficult if you subject is amongst foliage; it is surprising just how much a leaf can move on a windless day.

    Studio shots of dead insects give you a much better chance but even here I have found little success with most of the image stacking software. But some people do get sharp results so part of it might just be me not fully understanding the programmes.

    I have had better, although limited, success by hand merging two shots using masks.

  6. #6
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: better depth of field

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Is it possible to get the whole bee in focus?

    Working with a narrower aperture will help like Hero said. I usually find F14 to be a good compromise.

    But from my experience you really only have two options here, Peter. Stack multiple shots with different focus, or get absolutely square with the subject so more of it will be in your limited focus depth.

    Personally, I have found that trying to get suitable shots for focus stacking just doesn't work in the real world, particularly with creatures like bees which won't stay still; plus wind movement problems.

    Occasionally, using a tripod, I have managed a couple of shots of things like beetles on the ground but it is difficult if your subject is amongst foliage; it is surprising just how much a leaf can move on a windless day.

    Studio shots of dead insects give you a much better chance but even here I have found little success with most of the image stacking software. But some people do get sharp results so part of it might just be me not fully understanding the programmes.

    I have had better, although limited, success by hand merging two shots using masks.
    I certainly agree with these comments. I would add that for extreme closeups (like the OP example), there simply isn't an aperture that is small enough. I've certainly tried with no success, and most lenses are best at f/4 to f/8.

    I've shot literally thousands of macro images of flowers using a tripod, and even flowers can move enough to make stacking problematic.

    Insects are beyond challenging - occasionally one will land on a flower I'm set up on, and in most instances their wings or legs are blurred even with a single shot - with multiple shots, the bee would be missing on most of them, so stacking isn't the solution for live insects.

    Glenn

  7. #7
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: better depth of field

    I agree that a smaller aperture might be a better choice for this image. In macro photography, you are working with a very narrow depth of field and need all the help you can get. Sometimes positioning yourself so that you shoot from the side of an insect...

    better depth of field

    will be better than trying to shoot the length of the insect because the insect can be more easily captured with the shallow DOF you will be shooting at. However, as with people, I think that the head of the insect is most important and I want to get the head in focus even if the rest of the insect is OOF.

    better depth of field

    I realize that you did this with the bee and that extended DOF is what would be needed in this shot along with some additional lighting. I also realize that a bee is a smaller subject than a dragon fly and thus will probably be shot from a closer distance; compounding the DOF problem.

    I have trouble hand holding at 1/125 second or slower when shooting macros which would be needed in the case of the bee. BTW: I can get some pretty decent quality from my Canon cameras at ISO 400 and will quite often shoot macros at that ISO so I can use a faster shutter speed and/or a smaller aperture.

    I have not had much success focus-stacking images of creepie crawlies because I most often shoot these types of images hand-held. Instead, I will pump some additional light with a flash into the image which will allow me to shoot (using HSS) at a higher shutter speed and still maintain a relatively small aperture for the widest DOF possible.

    Some macro photographers use ring lights while others use multiple flash set ups. I use a single flash on an articulating bracket modified by a Lumiquest Mini Softbox.

    better depth of field

    My bracket is a Siegelite which is no longer available new but, which can often be found on eBay here in the USA for around $USD 20.00 or so.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Siegelite-Ca...item3a6be59b53

    The advantage of this bracket is that it articulates and you can place your flash just about anywhere you desire. Additionally, the grip on the bracket which I hold in my left hand provides a solid two handed hold.

    I trigger my flash with an off camera sync cord but, I suppose that I could use the wireless sync of my 7D since when shooting, the camera has line of sight to the flash.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 29th October 2011 at 08:05 PM.

  8. #8

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    Re: better depth of field

    I heard of a good little trick at a seminar.
    Insects (and other little animals) move slower when cool. So, early morning before they've had their cuppa Joe, AND if you have a freezer pack to hand (not difficult), place it so the focus of interest is within the cooling range (i.e. hold it above the critter so the cold air drops onto it). I did try taking some home in a plastic container, cool in fridge (not freezer as they may die) and then place onto a similarly cooled heatsink (e.g tile or other large dense object). Foliage can also be placed into frame to make it look more realistic.
    My main issue wasn't the technical (once I set up with practice items), more so the wife wasn't excessively amused at my keeping little critters in the fridge. We had a small talk about that . No more macro of bugs in the house apparently.
    Graham H
    (honestly, not henpecked, merely respectful of other people who live in the house )

  9. #9

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    Re: better depth of field

    Yes, Graham, chilling insects then photographing them in a studio with suitable lighting and carefully arranged background is how some professionals create prizewinning photos.

    There can be a few problems in catching then transporting them alive to your studio when there are a few miles to travel but there are specially constructed storage jars for the purpose.

    Probably easier than taking a refrigerator with you though. But there are a number of mini refrigerators for vehicle use now, which may be something to consider.

  10. #10

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    Re: better depth of field

    From a minimalist viewpoint, i extend the utility of a sharp telephoto lens by coupling it with extension tubes; Extension tubes decrease the minimum focusing distance of a lens, by this mechanism they also produce a very limited dof; i personally find it very difficult to use AF with extension tubes, i've found that once you set the lens at a focal point & manually set a focus point you move the camera/lens toward or away from an object to achieve focus; varying the lens f/ to near its upper ranges can slightly increase the dof; extension tubes also diminish the available light hitting the camera's image sensor by 3 or more f/; since i like to shoot macro of flowers in muted lighting i've found that i can use my 50D's speedlight with either the canon 70-300mm or the Canon 70-200mm set at 90mm - 140mm with 2 extension tubes & not get any illumination shadowing from the lens end; for me trying to use anything other than M to balance the f/, iso, shutter speed, flash compensation setting is frustrating, but this amount of "hands on" has been learned from many failures & some successes; when i 1st started macro with extension tubes i hand cobbled a macro focusing platform since i didn't want to sink money into an unproven interest, by using a 10-32 machine screw i was able to get 1/64" platform travel with 1/2 turn of the adjustment knob & 1/32" with a full rotation; if you are curious like me macro can become a passion & a basic inexpensive macro focusing platform can be had for under $75, then you can add a free macro stacked focus program to your arsenal like CombineZP for those times when your limited dof doesn't render an image with a flower, insect, etc in sharp focus from fore end to back end.

  11. #11
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: better depth of field

    This book gives quite a bit of information on multi-shot techniques for extended DOF and other uses...
    http://www.amazon.com/Photographic-M...0170588&sr=1-3

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