fstops, action shots, & depth of field

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by bluewaterjon, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. bluewaterjon

    bluewaterjon TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    San Diego
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Hi. I am shooting for mags- I came to photography after first being a writer- and I am getting these assignments where I have to freeze the action of a jumping billfish from approx 20-80 yards. I'm shooting with a D300 and 700, with the Nikon f2.8VR.
    In an attempt to get the best stop-motion pics, where the spray is suspended in midair, and no blur from the movement of the fish, I am using the highest shutter speeds I can. I've been in shutter mode; I jam the EV controls all the way up, which allows me to use shutter speeds up to 1/6400 of a sec, or if super bright outside, 1/8000. I'm shooting in RAW with the MB-D10 battery grip and getting plenty of frames per second..
    My prob is, is that the depth that is in focus is VERY narrow- so narrow only maybe 8 inches is in focus. If, say, the fish's midsection is in focus, and the fish is facing to or away from me, often the front and back of the fish is out of focus. I look at other shooter's work and see that not only is the whole fish in focus- same type of thing I am shooting, jumping marlins- but some of the water ahead, and behind the fish, is in focus, and I'm envious.
    A hack like me is thinking, ok, try higher fstops- that will allow for more things to be in focus than such a shallow range (forgive me if I am using the wrong terms). Problem is, if I use higher fstops, I have to use slower shutter speeds, and I don't imagine I will have the same ability to freeze the motion so well.
    Thanks in advance for input.
     
  2. BrandonS

    BrandonS TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Sounds like you need to raise the ISO or use a Speedlight if your close enough. I'm imagining though you haven't changed too many camera settings and you're probably on Auto ISO anyway. If that's the case you can raise the max ISO it'll select.
     
  3. Ls3D

    Ls3D TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,279
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Encinitas Cali
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Welcome to the TRIANGLE! You are correct, stopping down will provide a wider DOF, ahh but those stops sure change the exposure time.

    So where is ISO in your triangle? That D700 can be cranked up quite a bit... I guess your EV, or exposure compensation is in effect an ISO gain, but better to choose it yourself and consider it an important leg of the exposure triangle as you are working.

    More about your lenses please. And I can't wait to watch this thread expand! :thumbup:

    -Shea
     
  4. Dubious Drewski

    Dubious Drewski TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Messages:
    909
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Well if I had the D700, I'd do 3 things in your situation:

    1. Reduce your shutter speed. Are you aware of how fast 1/8000th really is? Jumping fish aren't moving that fast; you could easily get away with 1/4000th or possibly 1/2000th if you catch them at the apex of their jump.

    2. Bump up the ISO to the maximum acceptable level (On the D700 and for a magazine, you might get away with up to ISO 3200, depending on the print quality). Most noise that looks horrendous on the monitor seems to be much less noticeable when printed. This is what I've noticed after shooting so many weddings and events at ISO 1600 and 3200.

    3. I'd stop the aperture down to whatever you need to get the whole fish in focus, maybe f5.6 or something.

    That should do it.
     
  5. bluewaterjon

    bluewaterjon TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    San Diego
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Hi folks, thanks for the replies so far.
    I never considered the ISO's- I figured I'm outside, and since I am shooting for the mags and they want the cleanest pics, and I have plenty of light, I have been using 200, always- unless it's early am or late afternoon and the sun is setting. It never occurred to me to do anything BUT use 200.
    Of course as you mentioned, the D300, unlike the D700, can't handle the higher ISO's w/o noise, so...of course i could use just the D700 and bump up the ISO, I guess you're telling me that would allow for higher # fstops (by that I mean, 2.8 is the lowest, so I could move up the chain to maybe f8 or higher) which would give me more depth of field?
    One of you asked re: the lenses. I am using the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VR. My probs are not coming from when I use my 24-70 for shorter range, as you can imagine.
    Of course, if it's true, as you seem to be suggesting, that by using higher ISO's I can also use larger fstops (again, larger meaning the #, as in 2.8 is the smallest #, f8 would be a bigger #, although I understand that the 2.8 fstop has the larger aperture), and by doing so, I could get back some depth of field, why don't I do that?
    The answer is that I have been using the D300 because the half frame makes my 70-200 lens have a lot more distance, right? It not being full frame, it crops the image, as you well know, so my 70-200 turns into what, close to a 300mm, or more, I can't remember, but the difference is significant. BTW I did buy the 1.4 converter, but then again, that slows the lens down to an F4, and I assumed I wanted to be at f2.8, wide open, always for action.
    Anyway, please lemme know- it seems that you all are suggesting, use a higher ISO, that will allow me to use a higher # ftsop which will give me more depth of field.
    Thanks very much folks!!
    Jon
     
  6. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Durham, UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    if you can get 1/6400 shutter speed at 200 iso @F2.8 then leave the iso alone and close down the aperture to f5.6 or f8, this will give you a SS of 1/800 - 1/1600 giving you plenty DOF while also stopping motion, thats for any living thing on this planet.

    As the lens your using is an f2.8 its also probable it isn't totally sharp at this aperture 2 stops to 5.6 should have it tack sharp, I dont have this lens so can't really judge its performance but most lens, although having a wide aperture, dont perform best at the ultimate setting. H
     
  7. Ls3D

    Ls3D TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,279
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Encinitas Cali
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Because smaller number = larger aperture = less DOF.

    If you have been locked to ISO 200, I bet you could get f/8 with the slightly slower shutter speeds, that were addressed above. D700.

    I think the ISO breakthrough will change your experience quite dramatically, and the rest of your post will no doubt be inspected by others.

    -Shea
     
  8. Pure

    Pure TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Messages:
    416
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Things to do:
    BOOST YOUR ISO-Seriously you can get clean 800 ISO pictures from a D700 and D300, you Noiseware or such if you need to, but I doubt it.
    Use a Monopod-It'll support your camera and you'll get less shake.
    Use at least f/5.6 to get everything is focus.
    Use a flash in auto FP mode to allow for high shutter speeds.
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    6,111
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Whoa there a little... lol

    First, you should not need thousandths of a second to freeze motion. A good 1/500th, 1/640th or 1/800th and that should be way more than enough to get what you want (clear water droplets flying off a flailing fish in the air as it jumps out of the water).

    Using the D700, you could crank the ISO to 1600 if needed, which is for all intents and purposes as clean as 99% of all camera's ISO 200, and up the aperture to something like F/5.6. Now, you did not say what focal length lens you have. The DOF of a picture at F/4 and 50mm will be a LOT deeper than a picture at F/4 and 200mm.

    Set the camera to aperture priority mode and make sure that your shutter speeds are controlled by the ISO. You can go to ISO 3200 and still get incredibly clean shots, and even in the late afternoon sun, you should still be getting shutter speeds well into the high 3-digit to low 4-digit speed ranges.

    As the owner of a D700, I can tell you, that if you expose your shots right, you don't need any noise reduction until you go over ISO 3200.

    Forget AutoFP mode... flash power falls off incredibly fast, and at 20-30 yards, its all but useless. AutoFP works wonderfully for giving you the ability to shoot wide apertures in the bright sun at distance of 20-25 feet MAXIMUM and closer (much less 20-80 yards).

    Now, you always want the lowest ISO possible for the cleanest shot, of course... but this 1/8000 shutter speeds and rattling off 50 frames at 8FPS... TOTAL overkill.

    With the D700, you have one of the best high ISO performing cameras on the MARKET. Also, unless you are telling me that your mag is printing out the pictures at 24X36 inches or bigger, there is NO reason you cannot use the D700 and crop. The pictures will be cleaner, you can use the higher ISO more effectively and shutter speeds will be higher.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2009
  10. dEARlEADER

    dEARlEADER TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,312
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Step 1 : Put you camera in Manual

    Step 2 : Assign your aperture to 5.6

    Step 3 : Assign you shutter speed to 1/1000

    Step 4 : Enable the Auto ISO function (cap the ISO @3200)

    You now have a deep(er) depth of field, a shutter speed to freeze action, and the Auto ISO function to balance the Exposure.

    You will get a deeper depth of field naturally by using the D300, but more ISO lattiude with the D700.

    I'd be using the D700 with the shutter release set continous high. You can even go way past 3200 ISO but should have enough with this combo.
     
  11. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    16,062
    Likes Received:
    2,813
    Location:
    Chesterfield UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    For a start shutter priority is the wrong mode to be shooting in you need to be in Aperture priority or manual if you want to control aperture, are you travelling infront of the fish if so 1/640 would be plenty
     
  12. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    6,111
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Ok, I went back and did a few experiments.

    It seems water droplets don't defy physics and travel faster than we think... lol

    Now, granted, I did not put much work into this, and quality of the shot was not the point, but... I took my D700 and took a few pics indoors (where it is a LOT darker than a normal day on the lake), to see what speeds were needed to freeze water.

    My very rudimentary tests showed that by 1/500th there was good separation and that by 1/640th individual drops were clearly visible:
    [​IMG]

    Which leads me to say that you don't really need speeds in the 1/2000th or higher range. What you *do* need, as per your own admission, is DOF. So... for a little leeway, set your shutter speeds to something like 1/800th, you don't need more, and open up the aperture as wide as it will go before maxing out at ISO 200. If you are not seeing at least F/8, crank up the ISO to something between 1600 and 3200 and you should be there.

    BTW, if you don't think that the D700 does clean higher ISO, the shot above was done at ISO 3200. ;)
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
action shots depth of field
,

depth of field action

,
depth of field action shots
,

depth of field actions

,
depth of field and action shots
,

depth of field when taking moving shots

,

fstops

,

moving shots depth of field

,
shooting depth of field in san diego
,
what depth of field should action shots have