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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Macro Talk 
Thread started 30 Apr 2013 (Tuesday) 13:32
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how do I get greater DOF without spending a fortune?

 
Jeff_56
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Apr 30, 2013 13:32 |  #1
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I have a setup that produces acceptable results (it's no pro level setup by any means but it will shoot a fairly good photo IMO) except that I haven't been able to extend the DOF to much at all. I realize it's always tough with macro photography but I've seen stuff with much better DOF here than I'm getting. i barely get past a totally flat plane in fact.

I'm using a tube to get better macro shots. It certainly improved over what I've used in the past including lens converters. I just need to get more of an insect than it's back and the top of it's head in focus. I've worked out lighting fairly well I think but I don't get good overall results almost totally because of a shallow DOF. I've slowed down the shutter as much as possible to get a tighter aperture opening. I guess I'm lost when it gets past that point. I've had better luck with other cameras really including some video I shot. I can't get in as close with my video equipment but I do get a pretty close view and greater DOF.




  
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chrisa
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Apr 30, 2013 13:44 |  #2

What aperture are you using?
I shoot at f/8-f/11 with a flash at high speed sync at 1/250th.


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gonzogolf
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Apr 30, 2013 13:44 |  #3

Are you adding artificial light? Flash will allow you to work at smaller apertures. Have you considered focus stacking? Combining multiple images to for greater depth?




  
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maverick75
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Apr 30, 2013 13:48 |  #4

Like gonzo said try focus stacking.


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Jeff_56
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Apr 30, 2013 22:37 |  #5
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Well I learned something today. I learned the controls for the aperture were on the lens instead of in the camera in my Canon. And since I use a tube for marcros that means I don't get to control the aperture at all. I had been adjusting the shutter speed in shutter priority mode assuming that the camera would adjust the f stop based on my shutter setting and light metering. But that isn't the case. I don't really know why I continued using shutter priority mode except I got started using it trying to capture a moving spider that was having a beetle for lunch. As you can see I'm pretty new to this tube and I'm still learning what to make of it. My images show up as F0, which is of course not possible. And when I tried to adjust the F stop I learned I couldn't while using the tube. So I won't be gaining any control over my DOF that way.

That brings me around to this focus stacking thing. That is a term I've never heard. I assume it requires multiple images with different focus settings then combining the in focus parts to form a whole. But I haven't got a clue how to make that work. So I'd appreciate al the help I can get since I think that will get me to better macros until I get a true macro lens. That or I'll just go back to my first love which is video where I already have the equipment to make macros work.

BTW I've been using a light ring for artificial light. I've been very happy with it. Combining it with ambient light seems to be very effective at giving me natural images with realistic looking shadows that keep my images from looking too flat. I'm sure there are better ways to do this but this is just a hobby for me with the remote possibility of using some stills in my video work. I've kinda gotten away from that work too though. My big project hit a major roadblock and I've yet to figure a good way to solve it. Hopefully that will happen sometime soon.

I have had some images that looked halfway decent. They don't look like some of the stuff I see here which is generally done with way more expensive equipment than I'm using. Like I said it's just a hobby for me and it's not even my main hobby. I spend far more on other hobbies so I'm trying to avoid jumping in with both feet and spending a wad of cash. I suppose that means I have no choice but to live with the consequences.




  
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May 01, 2013 07:20 as a reply to  @ Jeff_56's post |  #6

I'm just beginning to look into focus stacking myself. From what I have been able to determine, the Helicon Focus software is well liked and recommended by many. It has a reputation as being easy to use, so that's a big plus to me. Check YouTube, there are a number of helpful videos on this topic available.


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maverick75
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May 01, 2013 10:34 |  #7

Jeff_56 wrote in post #15885225 (external link)
Well I learned something today. I learned the controls for the aperture were on the lens instead of in the camera in my Canon. And since I use a tube for marcros that means I don't get to control the aperture at all. I had been adjusting the shutter speed in shutter priority mode assuming that the camera would adjust the f stop based on my shutter setting and light metering. But that isn't the case. I don't really know why I continued using shutter priority mode except I got started using it trying to capture a moving spider that was having a beetle for lunch. As you can see I'm pretty new to this tube and I'm still learning what to make of it. My images show up as F0, which is of course not possible. And when I tried to adjust the F stop I learned I couldn't while using the tube. So I won't be gaining any control over my DOF that way.

That brings me around to this focus stacking thing. That is a term I've never heard. I assume it requires multiple images with different focus settings then combining the in focus parts to form a whole. But I haven't got a clue how to make that work. So I'd appreciate al the help I can get since I think that will get me to better macros until I get a true macro lens. That or I'll just go back to my first love which is video where I already have the equipment to make macros work.

BTW I've been using a light ring for artificial light. I've been very happy with it. Combining it with ambient light seems to be very effective at giving me natural images with realistic looking shadows that keep my images from looking too flat. I'm sure there are better ways to do this but this is just a hobby for me with the remote possibility of using some stills in my video work. I've kinda gotten away from that work too though. My big project hit a major roadblock and I've yet to figure a good way to solve it. Hopefully that will happen sometime soon.

I have had some images that looked halfway decent. They don't look like some of the stuff I see here which is generally done with way more expensive equipment than I'm using. Like I said it's just a hobby for me and it's not even my main hobby. I spend far more on other hobbies so I'm trying to avoid jumping in with both feet and spending a wad of cash. I suppose that means I have no choice but to live with the consequences.

If you want to control the apperture you need electrnic tubes, all is not lost with those tubes though. You can simply preset the lens. Mount it on your body and change it to a desired apperture. Now press and hold the DOF preview button at the same time press the lens release button and take off the lens. It will now be set to a different apperure than wide open.


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vengence
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May 01, 2013 15:55 |  #8

Either manually set the aperture or start focus stacking. If you have control of your subject and can take 3 (or 300) images at different focuses, then you can get as much or as little depth of field as you want. Helifocus is extremely simple to use, export from light room, click run, click save and it'll give you a 90-95% picture. You can do more and touch up, but it's "green box mode" is pretty good.




  
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Jeff_56
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May 02, 2013 01:41 |  #9
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OK I found out what focus stacking is. I'm just not sure if I have the software to do it right now. I have an older version of Photoshop but I've actually been using Paint Shop Pro for many, many years (decades actually) so I've always resisted switching to Photoshop. I'm not sure if that version of Photoshop I have will do the merging to make it work. I'm trying to find out whether Paint Shop will right now.

Thanks for the help. I'll figure out focus stacking soon enough. It seems pretty straightforward with the right software. I'll just need to find if I have it and if not I'll look for some way to do it. Thanks again.

Unfortunately my entry level DSLR doesn't have DOF preview. Would it work to do a half shutter button push to set the light metering features and then take the lens off while I have the shutter pushed halfway?

I saw an explanation on how to get to a DOF preview on my T3 on this page:

https://photography-on-the.net …/showthread.php​?t=1199263

But I'm not familiar with the terms they use to describe how to get a working solution.




  
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vengence
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May 02, 2013 07:49 |  #10

Heliconfocus has a free trial




  
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schlagle
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May 04, 2013 23:10 |  #11

I use Zerene stacker, which also has a limited trial period, and the cheapest fosuc rails I could find. I'm proud of my results with this setup. Of course, out in the field I just shoot hand held and focus stack with those shots, but the quality of the stack isn't as good.

Depth of field has nothing to do with how good or expensive your lens is. It's just a simple calculation based on the physical setup of your system. Basically if you want more depth, shoot at smaller apertures. For macro I practically live in f8 - f16 territory.


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sandpiper
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May 05, 2013 08:52 |  #12

Jeff_56 wrote in post #15889310 (external link)
Unfortunately my entry level DSLR doesn't have DOF preview. Would it work to do a half shutter button push to set the light metering features and then take the lens off while I have the shutter pushed halfway?

I saw an explanation on how to get to a DOF preview on my T3 on this page:

https://photography-on-the.net …/showthread.php​?t=1199263

But I'm not familiar with the terms they use to describe how to get a working solution.

This seems to be the important part: "choosing C.Fn 8 option 5 will designate the Set button as the DOF preview button"

Simply put, you need to go into the custom functions in your main menu, navigate to number 8 and set it to option 5. Then you can set the lens to f/11 (for example), press the set button and hold it down while you take the lens off. Then refit the tube and the lens, you will of course have a much darker image in the viewfinder now.

No, you can't do it by holding the shuuter down halfway. That doesn't stop the lens down at all, it will only stop down as you actually take a picture.




  
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LV ­ Moose
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May 05, 2013 09:11 as a reply to  @ sandpiper's post |  #13

I usually shoot hand-held, and not steady enough for mutiple images close enough to stack.

On a crop I use f/11, and on a full frame f/14. These seem like the best DoF/diffraction compromise to me.


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how do I get greater DOF without spending a fortune?
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