More Thin-Depth-of-Field Fun
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Thin Slice -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
D700 + 70-200mm f/2.8 + 1.7× TC @ 340 mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Thin Slice

I love playing with the isolation that a thin depth of field offers, and a 340mm lens wide open offers a pretty darn thin depth of field.

I was at the Kamo River for an Anthony school event, and snapped a few pictures of a hedge of long thin branches. The next two shots are of pretty much the same scene from the same location, but the first is focused further away, while in the second the focus point is closer to the lens...

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
D700 + 70-200mm f/2.8 + 1.7× TC @ 340 mm — 1/500 sec, f/14, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
D700 + 70-200mm f/2.8 + 1.7× TC @ 340 mm — 1/500 sec, f/14, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos

Both are at f/14 which should generally give a fairly deep focus area, but with this much zoom you can still get some nice isolation.

Here's an amazing example of depth-of-field isolation and a moving point of focus, a short (90-second) video Zak Braverman made with his video-capable Nikon D90 and a Zeiss 100m f/2. There's not much plot, but it sure holds a few exciting surprises.

A few more examples from the day...

Tea -- Kamogawa -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
D700 + 70-200mm f/2.8 + 1.7× TC @ 195 mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Tea
Birds full frame -- Kamogawa -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
D700 + 70-200mm f/2.8 + 1.7× TC @ 340 mm — 1/500 sec, f/4.8, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Birds
full frame

The depth of field is so thin here there's just no forgiveness. I wanted the focus on the center bird's eyes, but I missed it by a centimeter or so, and now you can't even see the bird's eyes in the resulting mush....

( closeup-crop of the previous photo ) Masked Bandit stole my focus -- Kamogawa -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
( closeup-crop of the previous photo )
Masked Bandit
stole my focus

Generally, my standard mode of operation is aperture-priority, where I choose what depth of field I want and let the camera figure out the rest. If you've seen more than a few of my posts, you know how much I tend to go for the thin depth of field shots.

Heck, my first post after I got my first digital SLR, when I still didn't really know how to use it, includes depth-of-field isolation, like this shot of Anthony looking at fire trucks:

( from my January, 2006 post Fire Department Parade, and my new D200 Camera )
Nikon D200 @ 56 mm — 1/160 sec, f/4.8, ISO 100 — full exif
( from my January, 2006 post Fire Department Parade, and my new D200 Camera )

It would have been totally flat if the truck were also in focus.

I must have posted hundreds of examples since then. Heck, this very same riverside area was fruitful last spring (A Pleasant Day Along the Kamo River), and not long before that I posted a few shots with Selective Focus, but without much comment.

Here's a great example with an ultra-fast lens showing Anthony holding a toy that's completely blurred even though it's right in front of his face.

Here's one from three yeas ago: Motherhood Knows no Vacation. Well, like I said, there must be hundreds. They're sort of easy to spot if you browse the “photos appearing in...” pages. It's fun to browse in there, if I do say so myself :-).


All 2 comments so far, oldest first...

I notice that you use your 24-70 a lot and I have a question for you about it. I have that same lens (on a D300 body), and I’ve noticed a fair amount of CA, especially in out of focus areas and at wide apertures. But also at wide angles near the sides. It’s funny because looking at your pictures with a shallow DOF, I don’t see CA at all. Then I went on and looked at some other samples on your website and I don’t notice any CA. Do you use NX2 to develop your RAWs? its automated anti CA correction is very good and removes it completely. I can’t say the same about Lightroom tho… I’m just wondering if I got a “bad copy” of the lens or if it’s expected? Maybe you had yours calibrated?

I’ve not done anything special… just using Lightroom. It has controls for reducing CA, but I haven’t used them in ages. (I tend to need them to reduce purple fringing on what comes out of my point-n-shoot). If you’re seeing a lot, perhaps you have a bad copy? On a non-FF body, you should be getting better performance than I’m getting. —Jeffrey

— comment by Wako Niko on February 23rd, 2009 at 3:46am JST (8 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

“Not much plot” indeed! That was very funny.

— comment by Zachary on February 24th, 2009 at 2:58pm JST (8 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink
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