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Thread: Zoom, Aperture, and Macro

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    Default Zoom, Aperture, and Macro

    Wondering if you photography buffs can help me learn a thing or two.

    My camera has "regular", macro, and super macro settings, 12x zoom, and manual aperture settings raging from around 3 to 8. My understanding is when I am shooting things around 8-18" away I should use the macro setting. I also understand that no zoom should afford the best depth of field, and setting the aperture as large as possible will also provide the best depth of field.

    My question is in regard to the zoom and aperture. With macro on and around 6x zoom I'm able to set the aperture to f8 and focus on something about 8" away, zooming more or less than about the halfway point affects the aperture size reducing it to a max of about 6 when zoomed all the way out. Zooming alot more makes it unable to focus. Zoom is not possible in super macro.

    Should I be shooting my models with macro on, about 6x zoom to get f8, 0x zoom and f6, or something else entirely to get the best depth of field? Or is this a trick question and I just need to do some testing with my specific setup and see what it is capable of?

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    It's hard to say on a generic camera how the focus works. F8 is definitely what you should be shooting at, as it will give the best depth of field. The shallow depth of field is more noticeable at longer focal lengths, so beyond a certain point (call it about 3x zoom) you'll probably start to be bothered by out of focus elements - That's very subjective, though. I wouldn't recommend going 'oh this zoom gives the most focus, I'll always use that' as you're really stinting yourself artistically if you do that!

    Based on the fact that you can't zoom in super macro mode, it may be that the highest magnification is available at 0x zoom - This is the case on many compact cameras I've used. Being careful not to block your light, that's probably your best bet for taking really detailed photos.
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    On most cameras, the macro preset generally uses a small depth of field that gives you those lovely flower pictures where the flower is in focus, but the bush is either blurred or in soft focus. This is awesome if it's what you're looking for, but can be lousy for taking pictures of an entire loco from close up. It is not the same thing as a dedicated (and generally expensive) macro lens by a long shot.

    Depth of field just means "how deep is the focus range". In the "flower" picture, you want only things that are roughly the same distance from the camera to be in focus, everything else to be blurred. In a landscape picture, you probably want everything in focus and so want a large depth of field.

    A small aperture number means less depth of field, a large number gives you more. The cost of very large depth of field is it tends to make the pictures look flat.

    If I want better depth of field I forget the macro button and use a longer lens, tripod, and try to shoot from further away (typically 6-8'). I was documenting a build with this image, so wasn't paying very close attention when taking the picture, but you'll see despite being a fairly deep building, the back left corner is still fairly crisp. I'm pretty sure an up close macro setting would have had that a blur.
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    You could try moving back a little and then see if you can zoom in more. I believe some lenses unless they are a specific macro lens have a "too close" point they can't focus.

    Another thing you should look at is increasing the light and even consider using a tripod.

    And you could use manual focus - if you have that available.

    Or ive used a flashlight to shine on my focal point, press the shutter half way down so it'll focus and then turn off the flashlight to take the shot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kalbert View Post
    Wondering if you photography buffs can help me learn a thing or two.

    My camera has "regular", macro, and super macro settings, 12x zoom, and manual aperture settings raging from around 3 to 8. My understanding is when I am shooting things around 8-18" away I should use the macro setting. I also understand that no zoom should afford the best depth of field, and setting the aperture as large as possible will also provide the best depth of field.

    My question is in regard to the zoom and aperture. With macro on and around 6x zoom I'm able to set the aperture to f8 and focus on something about 8" away, zooming more or less than about the halfway point affects the aperture size reducing it to a max of about 6 when zoomed all the way out. Zooming alot more makes it unable to focus. Zoom is not possible in super macro.

    Should I be shooting my models with macro on, about 6x zoom to get f8, 0x zoom and f6, or something else entirely to get the best depth of field? Or is this a trick question and I just need to do some testing with my specific setup and see what it is capable of?
    I know this may come as a shock, but read the manual, then read it again. That was one of the first things i learned studying photography.... Get to know your specific camera.

    otherwise practice, try different settings and record them as you go, that way when looking over the photos youll know what you did (theres also xif data embedded in the image most good photo editors should be able to show you)

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    Lots of good input here, thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by zosimas View Post
    read the manual,
    Read the manual? What's that? I think I used it as a mixing board for epoxy

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    Quote Originally Posted by kalbert View Post
    Lots of good input here, thanks!



    Read the manual? What's that? I think I used it as a mixing board for epoxy
    :l:

    you can probably find it online

    seriously though, I learned a lot about my camera by reading the manuals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zosimas View Post


    you can probably find it online

    seriously though, I learned a lot about my camera by reading the manuals.
    And Zosi takes mighty fine pictures
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    on my fuji finepix 5700 , super macro is for 9 to 1.5 inches away from the bject with good light , and it locks the zoom off

    on macro its for about 40 to 10 inches, and zoom sometimes available depending on f stop(i think) but usually a lot noiseier pics with zoom so i try get closer rather than use zoom , works better by far.

    an example of the super macro from my gallery of a 1/32 figure , camera about 4 inches from object ,and mini tripod , using the timer to trigger, you could also possibly set the camera to bracket shoot 3 or so pics with slightly different settings automatically ,

    http://www.nscale.net/forums/attachm...1&d=1370564078

    http://www.nscale.net/forums/album.p...chmentid=46444

    http://www.nscale.net/forums/album.p...chmentid=48518

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    Quote Originally Posted by kalbert View Post
    Should I be shooting my models with macro on, about 6x zoom to get f8, 0x zoom and f6, or something else entirely to get the best depth of field? Or is this a trick question and I just need to do some testing with my specific setup and see what it is capable of?
    Larger F numbers mean a smaller aperture (hole in the lens). The smaller the aperture, the longer the depth of field is.

    I have a lens that will stop down to F32. You can really tell the difference between F32 and F16 or even F22.

    It sounds like the camera you are using is a point and shoot type. Those generally get decent snapshots, but photos of miniatures tend to be hard to get. If the camera has a manual aperture mode, that can sometimes help, because you can force the aperture to be smaller (within limits). The camera will compensate by leaving the shutter open for a longer period of time, so you either need more light or a tripod (or both) to do this right.

    Paul
    Last edited by pbender; 18th Jan 2016 at 12:22 AM.

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    I have a question about depth of field.

    Imagine your tripod has a rail and on it you can slide the camera toward or away from your subject, an n-scale box car.

    Now think about how, at some range of distances from lens to subject (until you get too close to focus or so far you can't zoom enough) you should be able to adjust the zoom so that your boxcar just fills the viewfinder. Close to the boxcar you are zooming out wide, far from the boxcar you are zooming in close.

    You use one f-stop (f/8 or better if you have it) for all your pictures and shoot from those various distances. Question: which shot will have the largest depth of field?

    I would think all would be the same, but what I am hearing here is "take the picture from as far away as possible, and zoom in". Is that right? Every time I zoom in I seem to lose depth of field.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NtheBasement View Post
    Every time I zoom in I seem to lose depth of field.
    I read where some folks suggested backing up and zooming in, but I don't think(?) it was to increase DOF. In your scenario, the picture where the lens is zoomed out vs in tightly, should give you a better DOF. As another writer mentioned, zooming in "flattens" the visible layers in the background (a nice effect in some situations).

    Paul

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    I was told for macro and super macro...Get Closer, and improove lighting rather thn use any zoom.

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    A lot of cell phone cameras have very good depth of field, due to the short effective focal length.

    I do agree with the mention above of taking images with a normal lens from a distance to get good DOF.

    Regardless of what you do, get a lot of light on your subject. This will improve your pictures probably more than anything else, by cutting exposure times (less digitial noise and motion blur) and allowing larger apertures for DOF.

    I now use an SLR with a 50 mm prime lens at F/16-22 most of the time. Some pictures are from 5-8' away from the subject, but the detail is crisp and focus of the scene is excellent.

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    Well tonight I took the advice of @zosimas and RTFM, then followed up with some testing based on everybody else input and what the manual said to expect. This is an older Fuji S1500, not exactly a point and shoot but closer to that than an SLR. It is fairly nicely optioned for general purpose.

    My findings were pretty blah. with a scene roughly 10" from the camera and 24" deep, f6 with no zoom and no macro things near and far looked ok. Macro on things look ok. Super macro, looks ok. backing up about 30" F8, 6x zoom, no macro, looks ok. Macro on, looks ok, super macro not tried because zoom not possible.

    The only thing I noticed was that with macro and super macro the image was progressively darker. Not hugely so, but slightly noticeable flipping through them. That was the only difference my eye could see between any of them. I'm lead to believe that with this camera, these distances, and it's limits, you can get really nice photos. Having good light, a tripod, tinkering with white balance a bit, and using zoom as needed to get what you want in the frame make the most difference. They're not great, not stunning "Is it a model?!?" photos, but really nice ones.

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    Default Try this link

    Here's a good basic how to that I read through once and found to be quite helpful. Also remember that the longer the focal length, aka zooming in, the shallower the depth of field. A basic formula to try would be somewhere around 30-50mm zoom, lowest ISO possible, and a small aperture of f8 or higher. Get some extra lights, put the camera on a tripod, and use the timer to reduce vibrations from pressing the shutter. The shutter speed does not matter for static subjects if you have a tripod. If you want to get complicated and get a really deep depth of field Google "focus stacking." Good luck and show us some pictures!

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    Here are some handy cheat sheets to remember what all the settings are for a particular camera

    http://www.photocheatsheets.com/product.aspx
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    Default DSLR Shot Of My RR

    I found that I get the best results if I fill up the viewfinder with image I wish to shoot (zooming as little as possible), and put the F Stop as high as I can get it without the image getting too dark. Add as much light as is necessary to keep the ISO down, so the photo isn't grainy/noisy, and you're good to go. Using the shortest possible focal length (not zooming in) increases the depth of field. I also go to Google Images for the background, then print it out. I place it behind the model, and this helps to add to the realism of the shot. Here's a sample shot of my railroad. I kept this to 135mm focal length, which may seem long, but the lens I used was a 70-300 zoom. I ran the F Stop up to F18, and the ISO was about 200. The resulting shot was very reasonable.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    You wrote "setting the aperture as large as possible will also provide the best depth of field."
    There is no such thing as best depth of field, there is large or long and small or short depth of field. Setting the aperture as large as possible gives you the smallest or shortest depth of field. Must not confuse a large aperture with an aperture with a large f number. The larger the aperture the smaller the f number. An f 45 is an extremely small aperture while a f 1.4 is an extreamly large aperture. The best depth of field is the depth of field that puts in focus exactly what you want to be in focus. There are methods and formulas for determining exactly where your depth of field begins (nearest focus) and where it ends (furthest focus) Some cameras thru the last 50 years or so have had mechanisms of different types to determine the depth of field in an acurate manner. Being able to control exactly what is in focus and what is not is one of the most important principles of creative photography.
    Besides aperture there are other factors that afect depth of field. Lens lenght, format size and distance from camera to object for example. The wider the lens the larger the possible depth of field. The smaller the format the larger the possible depth of field. The longer the distance to the object in focus the larger the depth of field possible.

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