Help with Macro lens DOF

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Kethaneni, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. Kethaneni

    Kethaneni TPF Noob!

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    I am only able to get a very thin frame in sharp focus with my Sigma Macro lens on my D60. I can either get the eyes of the insects in focus or the body and the same with flowers, either I get the petals or the core. Am I doing anything wrong? Any help in this regard would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    No, that's pretty much normal...

    What aperture are you using? Stopping down will help, but even then - it's still going to be pretty thin.

    If you can get the subject more parallel to the film plane, that will help too.
     
  3. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    Or a small aperature like 22f and a flash.
     
  4. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is why you see macro setups with two powerful flashes... you need to shoot at a very small aperture.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yup...the DOF gets thin as you get closer to your subject...and at Macro distances, it's razor thin. The way to increase your DOF is to 'stop down' the lens (use a smaller aperture). Of course, as you stop down the lens, you need to either increase the exposure time (probably requiring a tripod) or you need to add more light (flash etc).
     
  6. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Try plugging different numbers into this on-line depth-of-field calculator. It will help you get a better understanding of just how little room you have to work with, even at the smallest apertures.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Sort of true - you do want to shoot with the smaller apertures (bigger f numbers) to get as much depth of field as you can into the shot. However most macro shooters consider f16 to be the smallest they will go, with many sticking to f13 as a standard smallest size. This is because at around 16 Diffraction will start to take place, its not too bad (in most lenses) at f16, but go smaller (Say to f22) and it will start to make a noticable difference by giving you softer images.

    Actually macro flashes don't have to have that much power - since they are often very close to the subject - many ringflashes and twinlight setups are not that high in guide numbers (compared to say a 580EX speedlite) but they are enough for lighting many macro scenes.
    Flash is an important consideration for macro if you intend to shoot without a tripod, or if your shooting highly mobile insects (where subject movement makes a tripod impractical most times).
     
  8. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    Interesting I will try f16 or f13 with my flash. Thanks Overread!
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    F/11-F/13 seems to be the sweet spot for sharpness with my Sigma 105mm F/2.8 macro.
     
  10. Kethaneni

    Kethaneni TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone, I feel a lot better now:peacesign: (worried that I suck at macro). It is really very hard to take macro pictures (especially of bugs) with a tripod, but will try next time.
    Thanks again for all your help.
     
  11. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    Phhhhtttttttt........:greenpbl: :lol:

    DOF is definitely also a function of distance. The closer you get, the thinner your DOF is going to get, even stopping down. The following 3 pics were taken at successively closer distances AND gradually stopped down.

    f/40...taken from a few feet away.
    [​IMG]


    f/43
    [​IMG]

    f/45
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Very close, but diffraction is a function of primarily sensor size, as f/22 on two different 105mm lenses would produce the same diffraction because of the same aperture.

    A lens that you say shouldn't go above f/16 (I say f/13 myself) could quite easily be taken a stop higher on an FX camera before diffraction plays the same role in reduced sharpness.
     

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