Neptune Photo Newsletter
June 2019 Volume 89
by Steve Zimic
Getting More DOF in Your Images Part II
Last month I promised a simple solution to a hypothetical landscape image where we couldn’t get enough DOF. The solution is basically the same as the one to last month’s macro image problem, back off. Although in that scenario we couldn’t physically move back as we did with the macro image, but we can go back to the wider angle lens which reduces the magnification allowing more DOF. We then just crop the image in post to achieve the desired composition. OK, I admit it’s not a great solution because we’ve lost some of that great resolution, but it is the easiest solution, and you can get the same composition you did with the slightly longer focal length lens.
A better solution would be to use something called focus bracketing. Many of the latest cameras have the ability to create a series of images at different focus points automatically. But even without this feature in your camera it’s easy enough to do by just taking a series of images and vary the focus slightly between each. A tripod mounted camera would be absolutely necessary of course. Rather than listing the steps to do this, you can do a search for “focus stacking in Photoshop” where you’ll find plenty of tutorials on how to do this.
Some cameras like the Olympus E-M5MKII and E-M1MKII have both focus bracketing and stacking built into the camera. The stacking feature works by first bracketing the focus and then combining them in camera into a single focus stacked image. You do need to set the focus differential which takes some practice to get just right. The great thing about this feature is that within a few seconds the stacking is complete and you get to check your results in camera. Besides using this for landscape images it can also be used for macro to either increase or decrease the depth of field. Yes I did say decrease the depth of field. Sometimes in macro photography we’ll close the lens down for adequate DOF, only to realize the background is too much in focus. Using focus bracketing or stacking, you can choose a wider aperture which will render the subject in focus but leave the background less in focus. It’s almost like having your cake and being able to eat it too.
100MP Fuji GFX-100
The big news this month is Fuji’s 102 megapixel medium format camera. Along with that outstanding resolution you also get 5.5 stops of in body image stabilization. The unique LCD screen tilts for both horizontal and vertical formats. The OLED viewfinder contains 5.76 million pixels for incredible detail and is removable. Weather resistance is included along with an operating temperature range of 14ºF to 104ºF. Yes the camera is large and somewhat heavy weighing in at a little over 3 pounds with the viewfinder and 2 batteries. Despite its size, you’re getting an awful lot of camera and features such as focus bracketing to name just one. Even though the sensor is 1.7 times larger than a full frame camera, having 100 million pixels yields a very high pixel density so this is not an ideal camera for low light photography. Nevertheless, in looking at some online samples, the resolution with Fuji prime lenses is something to behold. Add to that the ability to have 16 bit raw files and you’ve got a very desirable camera.
Would I like to have this camera...... absolutely. But once again the decision comes down to a conflict between need versus want. With a price tag of $10K for the body I think the want will have to take a back seat for a while. Also, I really don’t need a camera that makes 36” by 48” prints at 240 DPI since I rarely print anything over 16” by 20”. Nevertheless I’m still tempted as I expect some of you will be as well. In the meantime you can check out all the specs and features of this marvel on Fuji’s website.
Canon RF 85mm f1.2
One of the more popular Canon lenses will soon be available for the mirrorless R series cameras. The lens has been completely redesigned for mirrorless and includes corrections for lateral chromatic aberrations - those blue/purple fringes in high contrast areas. In addition to the focus ring there’s a customizable ring to control a variety of functions. The lens will sell for $2699 and be available this month. More info on the Canon website.
Nikon Z6 & Z7 - version 2.0 - Adds eye detect AF, improves low light AF performance and adds auto exposure at high frame rates.
Nikon D850, D7500 and D5600 - version 1.1 - Adds direct Wifi connectivity.
Sony a9, a7RII, a7III, a7RII, a7SII, a7II, a6500 and a99II - various versions - Improves overall stability of camera operation.