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Thread: Need advice with deep depth of field

  1. #1
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    Default Need advice with deep depth of field

    Hi All,

    Well, I finally bought a DSLR camera (a canon T2i) which is sort on the cheap side of DSLR's.

    I've seen some awesome pics taken with the canon 5D mark ii, and would like to get as close to that clarity as I can.

    Being a beginner, I'm looking for advice on how to get the best landscape shots with a deep depth of field. Specifically, I want to take a landscape shot and have everything from the near brush to the far mountains in focus.

    I've been playing with the "aperture priority" mode and have had some success, but I'm looking for more advice. I set the aperture to f/16 and had a pretty good pic. My lense looks to have a range of f/4-5.6, though. Does that mean that anything over a 5.6 setting on the camera has no additional benefit?


    I'm a beginner and appreciate any advice.


    Many thanks,

    Rick

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    The smaller the lens opening, the greater will be the depth of field. Using f/16 is a good choice, but f/22 is much better, if that's possible on your camera.

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    F-stops are ratios of aperture to focal length; as focal length gets longer, the f-number increases. Your lens is a zoom, right? The f/4-5.6 is an indicator of the "speed" of the lens, or its widest aperture. Most SLR lenses stop down to f/22, which is more than you need for good depth of field in a moderately wide-angle lens. A tripod is absolutely mandatory for good landscape photography. If you're not using one, get the best you can, and set the self-timer for all shots to take camera shake out of the equation. Graduated neutral-density filters and circular polarizers, as well as Photoshop, are all musts, IMO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    F-stops are ratios of aperture to focal length; as focal length gets longer, the f-number increases. Your lens is a zoom, right? The f/4-5.6 is an indicator of the "speed" of the lens, or its widest aperture. Most SLR lenses stop down to f/22, which is more than you need for good depth of field in a moderately wide-angle lens. A tripod is absolutely mandatory for good landscape photography. If you're not using one, get the best you can, and set the self-timer for all shots to take camera shake out of the equation. Graduated neutral-density filters and circular polarizers, as well as Photoshop, are all musts, IMO.
    Sound advice, from my perspective. Tripod, use timer on your camera, cp filter to reduce glare/reflections and hold colors from being washed, an nd filter to quiet spots that may become blown out when shooting stopped down and a software program to bring out subtleties. Good on you playing around with settings other than the green auto box. Good luck. Love to see some of your shots.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rickf View Post
    Being a beginner, I'm looking for advice on how to get the best landscape shots with a deep depth of field. Specifically, I want to take a landscape shot and have everything from the near brush to the far mountains in focus.
    You will want to learn about "hyperfocal distance". For any given aperture there is a range over which things are acceptably "in focus", and that is known as "Depth Of Field" (DOF). It is narrow for big apertures (smaller f/stops) and wider for small apertures (big f/stops). And for any given aperture/DOF there is a focus point that puts the distant edge of DOF right at infinity. That is the hyperfocal distance, and gives the maximum amount of in focus area that includes far away objects like the moon or the horizon. It is commonly used in landscape work.

    Here is a web page that has a DOF calculator, and some other calculators too, that can show you all kinds of interesting information about what happens when zooming, changing apertures, etc.

    http://www.tawbaware.com/maxlyons/calc.htm

    Quote Originally Posted by Rickf View Post
    I've been playing with the "aperture priority" mode and have had some succe---ss, but I'm looking for more advice. I set the aperture to f/16 and had a pretty good pic. My lense looks to have a range of f/4-5.6, though. Does that mean that anything over a 5.6 setting on the camera has no additional benefit?
    The "f/4-5.6" is as others have mentioned, the maximum aperture for that lens. It's different for the shortest focal length (f/4) than it is for the longest focal length (f/5.6). You'll notice that the best lenses only have a single aperture, like f/4 or f/2.8. It is more expensive to design a lens to have the same aperture through its zoom range, so less expensive lenses have the variable aperture.

    Lenses have a range of aperture settings, but you'll need to be careful about that. Macro lenses, as an example, commonly have an f/32 aperture available, and many 50mm f/1.4 lenses only go to f/16. And of course the maximum aperture also varies, and there are f/1.2 lenses out there too. But the "sweet spot" for lense design is between f/4 and f/8. Larger and smaller have disadvantages that you might find acceptable in some cases and not in others.

    Larger apertures, such as f/1.4, mean a large front element on the lens, and that means it is harder to make them to close enough tolerances. Virtually all f/1.4 lenses are sharper if stopped down to f/4. But virtually all f/4 lenses are sharper when stopped down to f/8 too! Just that the latter won't be nearly as expensive as the f/1.4 lens.

    At the other end, they all have the same problem as the aperture becomes smaller. It's known as diffraction, and causes the image to be slightly blurred. The smaller the cameras sensor or the larger the print the more significant it is. Typically a 1.5 cropped sensor shows significant effects of diffraction at f/16, while a full frame sensor shows the same effects at f/22. And it starts about one fstop wider than that, so for "perfection" with a full frame sensor f/16 is about as small an aperture as you would want to use, and f/11 is even better.

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floyd_Davidson View Post

    At the other end, they all have the same problem as the aperture becomes smaller. It's known as diffraction, and causes the image to be slightly blurred. The smaller the cameras sensor or the larger the print the more significant it is. Typically a 1.5 cropped sensor shows significant effects of diffraction at f/16, while a full frame sensor shows the same effects at f/22. And it starts about one fstop wider than that, so for "perfection" with a full frame sensor f/16 is about as small an aperture as you would want to use, and f/11 is even better.
    Excellent point, Floyd! A lot of people seem to think that small aperture = sharp, but it just ain't so! Lenses can be much sharper through their middle range, so unless your subject must be in focus from mere inches to infinity, it's wise to experiment with wider stops, although good glass is probably more important than anything I noticed especially after switching to digital that I'd get less focus around the edges when stopped down all the way.
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rickf View Post
    Hi All,

    Well, I finally bought a DSLR camera (a canon T2i) which is sort on the cheap side of DSLR's.

    I've seen some awesome pics taken with the canon 5D mark ii, and would like to get as close to that clarity as I can.

    Being a beginner, I'm looking for advice on how to get the best landscape shots with a deep depth of field. Specifically, I want to take a landscape shot and have everything from the near brush to the far mountains in focus.

    I've been playing with the "aperture priority" mode and have had some success, but I'm looking for more advice. I set the aperture to f/16 and had a pretty good pic. My lense looks to have a range of f/4-5.6, though. Does that mean that anything over a 5.6 setting on the camera has no additional benefit?


    I'm a beginner and appreciate any advice.


    Many thanks,

    Rick
    In addition to what others have told you, the following link contains some useful information about controlling DOF:
    http://www.shutterfreaks.com/Tips/ControllingDOF.html

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