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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 14 Jun 2012 (Thursday) 16:31
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Depth of Field w/ a Macro 100

 
Stillwater ­ Gold
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Jun 14, 2012 16:31 |  #1

I'm a newbie here and I just got some nice new equipment. Now I just need to figure out how to use it? I'm shooting a canon mark iii with a 100mm f/2.8L macro. I'm trying to shoot bugs but I'm finding I can't get the entire bug in focus. How do you go about increasing the depth of field? I've only had this set up 4 days and used to shoot SLR's and as much as i like it I'm almost completely lost on this digital.

Thanks,

Pete




  
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dsit995
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Jun 14, 2012 16:34 |  #2

DOF is DOF no matter if it's film or digital.... Try shooting w/ flash at say f11-f16 and that should be a good start and FYI the 100L goes all the way to f42

If u don't have a flash just bump ur iso up some to get a faster shutter speed....
The 100L is a great lens!


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DreDaze
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Jun 14, 2012 16:39 |  #3

Get a flash- and stop down the lens


Andre or Dre
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John ­ from ­ PA
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Jun 14, 2012 19:03 |  #4

Good DOF calculator here...http://www.dofmaster.c​om/dofjs.html (external link). Play with the numbers.

One of the things you'll notice is that at minimum focus distance (MFD) of 12 inches and wide open (2.8) there is minimal DOF. 0.040 inches, about the thickness of perhaps 8 sheets of paper. Going to f5/6 helps but only minimally.

Going out to 20 inches subject distance instead of 12 now starts to have a great effect. As I said go play with the numbers and learn the limits of the lens.




  
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Stillwater ­ Gold
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Jun 14, 2012 19:32 as a reply to  @ John from PA's post |  #5

Great stuff...thanks guys.

Pete




  
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xarqi
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Jun 14, 2012 20:23 |  #6

dsit995 wrote in post #14580037 (external link)
If u don't have a flash just bump ur iso up some to get a faster shutter speed....

I think you mean smaller aperture.




  
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dsit995
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Jun 14, 2012 20:26 |  #7

No I mean shutter speed, if he is handholding and goes to say f22 he will have a very slow SS (unless he is using a flash/in manual) so bumping the ISO will help keep focus @ smaller apertures
That's also a good question are u in manual, Av, Tv?


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Stillwater ­ Gold
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Jun 14, 2012 21:15 as a reply to  @ dsit995's post |  #8

I'm thinking Av at the moment for best results.

Pete




  
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troypiggo
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Jun 14, 2012 22:00 |  #9

"Av" and "best results" aren't always possible at the same time, depending on your definition of "best results".


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thephotographynut
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Jun 14, 2012 22:36 |  #10

Stillwater Gold wrote in post #14580021 (external link)
I'm a newbie here and I just got some nice new equipment. Now I just need to figure out how to use it? I'm shooting a canon mark iii with a 100mm f/2.8L macro. I'm trying to shoot bugs but I'm finding I can't get the entire bug in focus. How do you go about increasing the depth of field? I've only had this set up 4 days and used to shoot SLR's and as much as i like it I'm almost completely lost on this digital.

Thanks,

Pete

Pete, you need to research macro techniques. I would recommend goggling tutorials or picking up some books on the subject for some help with technique, setup and gear.

In a nut shell though you need to know a few things.

DoF:
You need to stop down to min f/16 to get the bug in focus. This may not be enough though. DoF can sometimes be as little as less then 1mm. The higher your f/stop, the more you can get in focus. Be aware that it is not always possible to get everything in focus in one shot.

Light:
At high f-stops you will lose light. You need to get a flash unit to provide the light. Your options are the two canon ring flashes and/or a custom setup. I prefer a custom setup as I can control the lighting of my macro shots. There are tons of macro setups but the first step is to get a flash unti and an ETTL cord.

Gear:
You need a solid tripod with a solid head. This is a must to be able to hold your gear. Macro setups can get very heavy so the better the tripod and head the better. You can also pickup other accessories such as macro rails with will help you with setup and focusing.

Stacking:
As I mentioned above, sometimes the DoF is so small there is no way you can ever get the entire subject in one shot. Some shots are done by a technique known as focus stacking. This is a technique where you take multiple photos of the subject with the focus changed in each photo. The photos are then blended in software such as Photoshop and then blended.

For example: Here is a 3.5:1 macro of a strawberry. This was taken a f/22. The magnification is so close here that the DoF is less then 1mm.

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Now here is a photo using focus stacking. This photo uses 16 photos stacked and blended.

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xarqi
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Jun 15, 2012 00:51 |  #11

dsit995 wrote in post #14580819 (external link)
No I mean shutter speed, if he is handholding and goes to say f22 he will have a very slow SS (unless he is using a flash/in manual) so bumping the ISO will help keep focus @ smaller apertures
That's also a good question are u in manual, Av, Tv?

Ah - a faster shutter speed having already stopped down for increased DoF. Got it.




  
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wildspirit
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Jun 15, 2012 03:23 |  #12

thephotographynut,
Thank you for those pointers. If i go for the recent 600EX-RT, do i still need to go for a ettl cord? I have a 60D, can the wireless function be used instead of a ettl cord?




  
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thephotographynut
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Jun 15, 2012 15:25 |  #13

wildspirit wrote in post #14581958 (external link)
thephotographynut,
Thank you for those pointers. If i go for the recent 600EX-RT, do i still need to go for a ettl cord? I have a 60D, can the wireless function be used instead of a ettl cord?

I believe the 60D has a wireless transmitter so no you don't need an ETTL cord. I would still pick one up if possible though. I believe the 60D can also transmit to the 430exII. You might want to get the 430exII instead of the 600EX-RT. The 600EX-RT has a lot more power and for macro it will be wasted. Even the 430exII is too powerful. That strawberry was shot with the flash being bounced and the flash was set to manual and 1/16 power. You might want to save the money and go with the cheaper flash.




  
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wayne.robbins
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Jun 17, 2012 09:16 |  #14

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EOS 5D III, EOS 7D,EOS Rebel T4i, Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS II, Canon 24-105L, Canon 18-135 IS STM, 1.4x TC III, 2.0x TC III, Σ 50mm f/1.4, Σ 17-50 OS, Σ 70-200 OS, Σ 50-500 OS, Σ 1.4x TC, Σ 2.0x TC, 580EXII(3), Canon SX-40, Canon S100
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amfoto1
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Jun 17, 2012 18:24 |  #15

Yes, get the Off Camera Shoe Cord. Or an ST-E2 (for 580EX, etc.) or ST-E3 (for 600EX). Wireless control with the 6OD won't work with the 600EX and with other flashes it won't allow you to do rear curtain sync or high speed sync (FP flash). Plus, it uses pulses of the built-in flash to communicate with the off-camera flash, so the flash has to be in front of the camera within a limit arc of about 80 degrees. Likely a bad place or the flash, taking a macro shot (actually it's one of the problems with the IR controlled flashes for non-macro shooting, too, that the flash has to be in front of the camera to work, though using and ST-E2, which can be pointed to the side, can help).

You don't need the 600EX (unless you really, really gotta have radio wireless control for other reasons). In fact a smaller flash such as 430EX or even 270EX might be a better choice for macro, yet still be a pretty good "all purpose" flash.

The "best" flash for macro specifically is arguably the MT-24EX Twinlite.

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7004/6772190839_db977e77d8.jpg
But the MT-24EX is pretty much a dedicated macro flash.

Another dedicated macro flash is a ring light, such as the MR-14EX. Personally I'm not a fan of ring lights with typical macro magnifications up to 1:1 or a bit more... Though they are fine with higher magnification (2:1 through 5:1). IMO, ring light give too flat lighting effect at the more modest magnifications. That makes for rather scientific looking images, perhaps good illustrations of coins or watch mechanisms, just not very "artistic" light modelling effects and less three dimensionality.

A single, standard flash such as the 580EX or 430EX works pretty darned well, too. Nice because it double to use as a regular flash for other purposes. And the easiest way to use it is with an off-camera shoe cord.
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7033/6772540431_47da554ceb.jpg
Often with a standard flash such as the 580EX II in the photo above, the output is too much with a close up subject. However, a simple solution is to attach a couple layers of white qauze bandage over the flash tube, to act as a diffuser and reduce the output, as shown. That's what was done for this shot...

IMAGE: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5007/5310747604_24629e0980_z.jpg
"I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille."
EF 100mm f2.8 USM macro lens at f11. EOS 30D camera at ISO 100, 1/200 shutter speed. Handheld with 550EX flash, off-camera shoe cord.


The reason a single, standard flash works is that it's sort of like a giant softbox, compared to a small macro subject. The light tends to wrap around the subject, for pretty nice modelling even with a single light source. If the critter is slow enough moving or cooperative enough, you also could use a bounce card, to fill the shadows a bit, if you wish. That's in lieu of having a second flash (though one or more could be triggered by the main flash, in a Master/Slave arrangement, without the limitations of the camera's on-board wireless flash control.)

There's another problem, though...

WIth an 18MP camera such as 60D, you are going to start bumping up against diffraction as an issue, trying to use really small apertures. Your lens can do f45, but due to diffraction a lot of fine detail will disappear from your images. With an 18MP, crop sensor camera, the Diffraction Limited Aperture (DLA) for an 8x10 print is f7.1. A camera with a less crowded sensor with larger pixel sites can tolerate a smaller aperture with less diffraction effect... a 21MP 5D Mark II's DLA for 8x10 print is f10.

The DLAs mentioned above are the apertures where diffraction starts to occur. It isn't bad, has pretty limited effect at first. So I'll use f11 without much concern on my 7D (same sensor as your 60D), and sometimes even f16. But with each smaller aperture, diffraction and loss of fine detail increases. So I try to avoid apertures f18 and smaller, with an 18MP crop camera.

So, as suggested above, you might want to look into focus stacking... the difficulty with that is you have to make a series of shots at slightly different points of focus, to combine for the final image. It's possible when shooting a stationary subject, but moving subjects present a challenge to make a series of shots. (An old bug photographer's trick is to refrigerate your subject for a 15 or 20 minutes before the shoot, which will immobilize them for a few minutes... of course you have to be careful not to kill them in the process! Alternatively, shoot outdoors on cool mornings, before critters warm up and get active.)

Shorter focal lengths will have more depth of field than longer ones at the same aperture. Here is an image shot with a 180mm macro lens at a middle aperture (unfortunately the exact setting was unrecorded). You can see how DOF is just a couple millimeters deep...

IMAGE: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5093/5585285923_f2d1d237aa_z.jpg
Golden bee
EF 180mm f3.5L macro lens. EOS-3 camera with Ektachrome E100VS or E200 film. Settings unrecorded. Handheld (camera and lens resting on the ground). Available light (no flash).


There's some subject movement, due to a breeze, but the image below was made with a 20mm lens with a 12mm macro extension tube behind it. That very wide lens was used to gain a lot of depth of field, retain much more background detail than is usually possible.

IMAGE: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5023/5601543420_61d786650e_z.jpg
California poppies
EF 20mm f2.8 lens with 12mm macro extension tube. EOS-3 camera, Ektachrome E100VS or E200 film. Settings unrecorded. Handheld, available light.


At times when trying to shoot the above, the petals of the flowers were in focus when touching the front element of the lens. That's the down side to using a shorter focal length to gain DOF... you lose working distance, too. It might be okay shooting flowers that way (just watch out for accidentally casting shadows on your subjects), but usually you have to maintain more working distance with skittish insects.

It can take a lot of tries, to get one or two good macro shots. I think I took about 75 shots of this bee, to get a couple I was happy with...

IMAGE: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5125/5283068575_5d2187dd6f_z.jpg
Bee on orange poppy
Tamron SP 90mm f2.5 macro lens (vintage, manual focus) with 20 or 25mm macro extension tube at f11. EOS 7D at ISO 400, 1/400 shutter speed. Handheld, available light.


Your camera has one really handy feature... That articulated LCD screen should be helpful, shooting macro at odd angles, along with Live View.

There are many other macro techniques... more than it's practical to post about here. If macro photography really interests you, I'd recommend getting some books on the subject and start reading. John Shaw's "Close-Ups in Nature" is a good starting point, but I've read other helpful books by Tim Fitzharris, Joe and Mary MacDonald, Nial Benvie, George Lepp, Heather Angel and others. Head on over to Amazon and do a search.

Macro photography isn't easy... Heck, if it were everyone would be doing it!

Look at your subject and see if you can arrange the plane of focus parallel to their body or otherwise, to have adequate depth of field...

Alan Myers (external link) "Walk softly and carry a big lens."
5DII, 7DII(x2), 7D(x2) & other cameras. 10-22mm, Tokina 12-24/4, 20/2.8, TS 24/3.5L, 24-70/2.8L, 28/1.8, 28-135 IS (x2), TS 45/2.8, 50/1.4, Tamron 60/2.0, 70-200/4L IS, 70-200/2.8 IS, 85/1.8, Tamron 90/2.5 Macro, 100/2.8 USM, 100-400L II, 135/2L, 180/3.5L, 300/4L IS (x2), 300/2.8L IS, 500/4L IS, EF 1.4X II, EF 2X II. Flashes, studio strobes & various access. - FLICKR (external link) - ZENFOLIO (external link)

  
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Depth of Field w/ a Macro 100
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