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Small is… Tricky

Narrow Depth of Field

I wrote yesterday about how I have been exploring the world of details through macro photography, using my new Raynox DCR-250 adapter.

One of the trickier aspects of this is dealing with the very narrow depth of field available when focusing on objects so close. “Depth of Field” is the term used to express the area in which the camera can provide clear focus; you can read more about it online, such as this article I recently discovered (which is very detailed but, if you scroll down, you will find some pictures to illustrate the concept).

The photo accompanying this posting is a close up of an old wooden ruler placed on my camera bag. I took it using my new (second hand) Nikon E-Series 50mm f/1.8 lens, which I bought because of its reputation for sharpness and to experiment with a “fast” lens (low f/number, meaning it can let in a lot of light and take well exposed pictures in a short amount of time).

Wide open at f/1.8, with the macro adaptor stacked on top, you can see that the results are indeed pin-sharp but within a very narrow range of no more than a couple of millimetres. If you look at the full series of ruler pictures taken at that session, you will see that I can get a more usable depth of field by narrowing the aperture (f/11 was as far as I went in this case). However, that took a 5 second exposure and still came out significantly darker.

That is alright for a static object but makes things tricky when dealing with tiny, fast moving insects! Tricky, but still interesting.

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