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How do I get the whole newt in focus?

This is a discussion on How do I get the whole newt in focus? within the Photo Discussion forums, part of the Photo Gallery, Video Gallery, Technique and Discussion category; I have this difficulty getting the whole newt in focus, any tips would be welcome, here are some examples of ...

Photo Discussion Discuss your photographic technique. Lighting conditions, apertures, shutter speeds, camera types, digital and film. Also any equipment discussion should go here.

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Old 28th January 2007   #1 (permalink)
benjamin
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I have this difficulty getting the whole newt in focus, any tips would be welcome, here are some examples of what I mean:

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.



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Old 28th January 2007   #2 (permalink)
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what kind of camera do you have?



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Old 28th January 2007   #3 (permalink)
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Canon EOS 400



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Old 29th January 2007   #4 (permalink)
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I'm no photo expert, but I have 2 suggestions. One is that the photo will still look good, as long as the eyes/face are in focus. I've seen a lot of nice photos where parts of the body weren't in focus. The other suggestion is that to get greater depth of field, you might need more light.

Happy photographing, and be sure to show us the results!



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Old 29th January 2007   #5 (permalink)
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If they will hold still long enough you can use different shutter/aperture combinations to achieve greater DOF. Problem is, if they move the subject will be blurred. Good luck.



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Old 26th February 2007   #6 (permalink)
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if your camera has diffefant settings, try to put it in "macro mode".
this will sharpen up the image, although it might not completely get rid of the out of focusness problem



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Old 28th February 2007   #7 (permalink)
rebekka
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If your digital camera is like mine, it will have three Auto Focus (AF) modes: center, multi, and continuous. Choose the "center" setting. This way, what you position in the center of the photo will always be in focus. If you don't always want the subject in the center, try this: on my camera you can press and hold the shutter halfway and it won't take the photo yet; this will focus on the distance of whatever is in the center of your screen; then, still holding it down halfway, re-frame your image and press it down to take the image (make sure you keep the same distance away as when you focused).

On my digital camera, I can't change the aperture settings... so when I use macro mode, the depth of field is always really shallow.

your newts are cute. Click the image to open in full size.



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Old 11th May 2007   #8 (permalink)
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I've found that if you watch where the camera focuses and then angle the camera so that that spot is now on the newts head the camera in macro mode will usually cooperate and focus on it. Good luck!

As Jennifer already said, it is most important to get the eyes in focus.



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Old 19th May 2007   #9 (permalink)
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Default Macro depth of field revealed

Bad news for you: without great lighting and a tripod, it's unlikely you'll get all of a newt in focus unless the newt is side on to you (i.e. not in a line away/towards you or an angle). Why? Well it's a long story but let's just say that the closer you are and the smaller the object you're focusing on, the less you can get in focus at a given aperture. And if that wasn't tough enough, the smaller the aperture you use (which means the bigger the number, for example, f/16), the more you have in focus. However past a certain aperture (depends on your lens), the overall quality of focus decreases due to increased diffraction. And to use small apertures you need light, and lots of it, or a tripod and a newt statue!

The depth of field (basically how much is in focus) is greater in compact digital cameras than it is in digital SLRs! Yes, that's right, you get penalised for having a cool camera ;(.

So what do you do? Easy answer and the one that you'll see even pro wildlife photographers do, and that is focus on the eyes (or eye if just one is mainly visible). Same goes for people, depending on what kind of portrait you're taking. Look at the pro wildlife photos in magazines. The guy with the huge telephoto lens who has camped out waiting for a hare to show herself with her leverets only gets one opportunity at his shot, but the damn hare decided only to come out just before dusk! Light is fading rapidly and he only has a few seconds of useful light left. What does he do? He uses the largest aperture he can and shoots for the eyes. Because that's where we look when we look at a photo of an animal. Go and look at those nice newt photos in the gallery. Look at the ones you think are really good. Is the newt all in focus? Probably not unless it's perpendicular to the camera/side on, but you may never have noticed because you are drawn to the eyes.

If you have a macro lens on an SLR camera, you need to work out where the optimum aperture is for the common distances at which you shoot macro. When I say optimum, I mean where you maximise sharpness and depth of field. If you have too small an aperture you get less punchiness to the photo and an overall decrease in focus quality as I mentioned earlier, but you get great depth of field. If you go too large with the aperture you get a lovely punchy photo and good sharpness (unless you're shooting at the largest possible aperture, though this is less important on very good lenses), but large aperture means less DOF.

I think the EOS 400 is a DSLR right? So play around and see what you can produce. Have fun and good luck.



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Old 1st June 2007   #10 (permalink)
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I dont understand this sentence:

The depth of field (basically how much is in focus) is greater in compact digital cameras than it is in digital SLRs! Yes, that's right, you get penalized for having a cool camera ;(.

I find that in point and shoots, you have a much greater DOF, since most of them only go from like f2.8 to 4 something. I have a canon 350d, and the largest Fstop is 32. Which, of course is a really slow shutter speed, but it can be done.

I agree with everything that youve said. Definitely need more light, definitely need a higher f-stop [smaller aperture] One of the things, that wasnt mentioned is ISO. If you have no intent to print out your pictures, a high ISO can be used. It helps you to sacrifice light for a faster shutter speed.

I dont know if you currently use tho "auto mode" but in the 350D, that doesnt let you pick where you want to focus. In certain settings you can.

I would recommend shooting in the aperture priority mode [looks like Av on the dial] so when you click the wheel left and right, to set the F stop, it automatically compensates the shutter speed so you get the correct exposure. Another idea, is to step down the exposure, if you let it take pictures slightly darker, its something that is fairly easy to correct in photoshop.

In AV, you can also pick what auto focus point you want to use. So if your newt is facing left, and your camera wants to focus on the tail, that doesnt do you any good. I agree that focusing on the eyes is #1. You can pick what auto focus point you want to use by clicking the button [top right on the back of the camera, that looks like cross hairs in a square] once, and then clicking the wheel left and right to pick where you want to focus. then push the shutter button 1/2 way to go back into your normal shooting mode, focus, and take the picture. If you dont have an expensive macro lens, there are ways to get around that too.

There are lens attachments that you can get on EBAY, they are called 10+ zoom lens, and they screw on to the front of your lens, and magnify your subject, along with shortening how far away from your subject you have to be to focus. With that you also sacrifice DOF [at F8, itll look like F4] but you can get some pretty cool abstract macros.

I hope this helps.



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Old 1st June 2007   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bleedingsarcasm View Post
I find that in point and shoots, you have a much greater DOF, since most of them only go from like f2.8 to 4 something. I have a canon 350d, and the largest Fstop is 32. Which, of course is a really slow shutter speed, but it can be done.
Your first sentence agrees with what I said. The reason compacts have such huge depth of field for their f number is that the sensor is tiny. It's a physics thing and I can't remember the indepth explanation of it. Your Canon doesn't have f/32, the lens does. And the largest f number is dependent on each lens. Try doing a search for hyperfocal distance on google.

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Originally Posted by bleedingsarcasm View Post
I agree with everything that youve said. Definitely need more light, definitely need a higher f-stop [smaller aperture] One of the things, that wasnt mentioned is ISO. If you have no intent to print out your pictures, a high ISO can be used. It helps you to sacrifice light for a faster shutter speed.
Yes, ISO's a fine thing, but if you're taking macro photos, detail is very important and so the noise conferred in higher ISOs can only really be avoided by shooting in low ISOs with a good flash. Most recent digital SLRs give quite acceptable noise up to about ISO 800. But in macro, detail is key and I find noise is easier to notice.

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Originally Posted by bleedingsarcasm View Post
I would recommend shooting in the aperture priority mode [looks like Av on the dial] so when you click the wheel left and right, to set the F stop, it automatically compensates the shutter speed so you get the correct exposure. Another idea, is to step down the exposure, if you let it take pictures slightly darker, its something that is fairly easy to correct in photoshop.
Yes aperture mode is generally the way to go, or full manual if you have a nice flashgun.

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Originally Posted by bleedingsarcasm View Post
There are lens attachments that you can get on EBAY, they are called 10+ zoom lens, and they screw on to the front of your lens, and magnify your subject, along with shortening how far away from your subject you have to be to focus. With that you also sacrifice DOF [at F8, itll look like F4] but you can get some pretty cool abstract macros.
They can kill your sharpness and contrast though. All of these shortcuts bring compromises.



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Old 29th February 2008   #12 (permalink)
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Default Nice photos.

The only thing I would suggest and I'm no professional is to center it, make sure the whole newt is in a good position and take the photo! I have a hard time myself, it's not easy. I hope you take more photos!



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Old 10th March 2008   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the help people. John I think I might want all me original posts attributed back to me. I currently have a macro lens and have some decent Axolotl egg pictures I'll probably put up soon. I think my camera will let me choose my F point on a special setting, but I'll have to review my manual on that one, in Auto focus it doesn't, and for manual it tells me whether or not I've got something in focus. The auto focus generally does not work with the macro lens. I've got a high powered LED Flashlight that I like to pair up with my camera, but adults and babies alike are adverse towards it. I find the stuff about ISO interesting I'll definitely have to play around with that, as I tend to shoot with it maxed out at 1600.

I currently have a Canon EOS 400D with the lens that came on it and the Canon Macro Lens that works with it. In terms of stuff worth buying when I have the money, these are all things I don't have that Either people here have mentioned, or I've read about, what would be the best to get first?

-Photoshop
-Tripod
-10+ zoom lens
-Bigger Flash gun (If so what shape - square, semi-circle, other? Also, use of that flash in the past has caused my animals to develop a fear of the camera).
-Brighter in tank lighting (What colors are best for this? In my P. watl Tank I had a marine light, it was an accidental purchase, it was dim, but the plants grew well, and I thought it added a cool effect to some of the photos I took).
-An actual aquarium, right now I've got my axolotls in big tubs, terrible for photography, but I can put them in smaller containers when I want to take photos.
-Another light source, like a flash light, is there anything I can get that's both bright but not bothersome to my pets?
-Anything else?

Thanks again for all the help.



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