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Thread: white lilacs . . .

  1. #1

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    Kathy

    white lilacs . . .

    Still trying to get that really sharp flower photo, but I am beginning to think all of my flower photos are going to have a soft focus. I am shooting on my Macro Mode setting on my camera (Coolpix L120) the only adjustment I can make on my camera is the ISO setting. All of my flower photos come out with a soft focus (I have posted some on here a about a week ago) I am using a tripod, timer and I have shut off my vibration mode as someone suggested I should do. Anymore advice would be welcome. It could be this is as good as it is going to get.

    Kathy

    white lilacs . . .

    white lilacs . . .

  2. #2
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: white lilacs . . .

    When you get really close, depth of field becomes extremely narrow. That is your basic problem, I think. Even with an SLR and a dedicated macro lens, you would have a hard time with this. You can close down the aperture to get more depth of field (that is probably what your macro mode is doing), but that can only get you a modest amount of depth of field before you start getting softening from diffraction.

    On top of that problem, you have the problem of deciding where the focus will be. Most point and shoots (I don't have any knowledge of yours) have a bunch of focus points, and the camera has to guess which to use. In an image like yours, there are LOTS of points of contrast that the camera can guess should be the focal point.

    If your camera will let you do these things, I would suggest these steps:

    --arrange the flowers to be as close as possible to a single plane, parallel to the sensor.
    --focus (using manual focus or a single focusing point) on the part of the image you most want to be in focus. (In macro photography, most of us use manual focus, sometimes actually moving the camera rather than the lens barrel.)
    --stop down. A tripod will let you use a slower shutter speed and therefore a smaller aperture.

    I am not a gearhead, and I think that in general, people worry much too much about equipment. The biggest problems with my rig is about 10cm behind the viewfinder. nonetheless, if you are serious about macro, a P&S probably won't really do it. You can get superb results with a cheap SLR (many use Canon Rebels) and a dedicated macro lens, but that is a sizable investment.

    Also, even with that setup, you will often run out of depth of field. The solution to that is to stack multiple images in software, using slightly different focus for each image. For crisp flower shots, I most often use 5 images or more. However, if you are careful and can abide a tiny bit of softness from diffraction (fine for many flower photos), you can do a lot without stacking. I'll post two here that I did with a Rebel XTi and a 60mm macro lens quite some time ago, when I was starting with flower macros. Both are single images:

    f/20:

    white lilacs . . .

    f/32. I rarely go smaller than f/20 because of softening from diffraction from the tiny aperture. In this case, however, given the subject, I think the softness is fine. I have printed this up to 11 x 14 with good results.

    white lilacs . . .
    Last edited by DanK; 5th April 2012 at 01:04 AM.

  3. #3

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    Kathy

    Re: white lilacs . . .

    Dan,
    Thanks for the great information . . . I appreciate it very much!

    Kathy

  4. #4

    Join Date
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    Kathy

    Re: white lilacs . . .

    Dan,
    Thanks for all the great information, it is very much appreciated!

    Kathy

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