How Much Depth of Field

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Hale, Cornwall. Sony RX10, ISO80, f/5.6, 1/50".
Hale, Cornwall. Sony RX10, ISO80, f/5.6, 1/50″.

Last week I took a well-deserved break (at least in my eyes) and went on holiday to Cornwall. Whilst away I took this photo that I wanted to share with you. The reason for sharing is not that this is a great Landscape image (I have a much better one taken at sunset rather than on an overcast day, that I will share soon). No the reason for sharing this is that it illustrates just how much depth of field can be achieved with smaller sensor cameras.

This image was taken using a Sony RX10 which has a 1” sensor. This is slightly smaller than the micro 43 sensors but somehow Sony has managed to cram 20Mpixels onto it. If you were looking at the print of this scene you would say that the image was in focus from the foreground to the background. It’s only when you view the image at 100% magnification on the screen that you see the distant lighthouse is very slightly outside the depth of field but is still acceptably sharp. Also the flowers nearest to the camera (literally inches from the camera) are out of focus but again this isn’t objectionable. Interestingly you don’t notice either of these points on the print as the image appears very natural.

What really makes you stop and think though is that the Aperture used to achieve this is f/5.6. The trick to this if there is one, is where you place the point of focus. Here I was focussing on the hillside just beyond the foreground flowers (probably around 10 feet from the camera. Had I tried to get all the flowers in perfect focus I would have lost the distant lighthouse. This compromise appears to work very well.

I hope this gives you food for thought about depth of field and needing to use very small apertures.

Topaz DeNoise June Discount

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Topaz DeNoise
Topaz DeNoise

Topaz are running a $20 (25%) discount in June on their DeNoise software. If you haven’t tried it, it’s worth downloading the free trial. It can be a little strong (but very effective) so best to use with low settings unless you have a really noisy image.

Here is the link

www.topazlabs.com/DeNoise

and the discount code if you decide to purchase is JUNEDENOISE.

A Great Little Lens

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Rust - Panasonic GM1, 35-100mm lens. Processing in Lightroom with Nik Filters.
Rust – Panasonic GM1, 35-100mm lens. Processing in Lightroom with Nik Filters.

A few months back (in January I think) I purchased a new lens for my Panasonic GM1. For those of you who are not familiar with the GM1, it’s a very small Micro 43 camera. Actually to say that it’s very small is an understatement. The body of this camera is smaller than many compact cameras and Panasonic has managed to fit a 16Mpixel Micro 43 sensor into this somehow.

The camera comes with a 12-32mm lens which is equally small but other than that you need to use standard micro 43 lenses. The Panasonic released the 35-100mm lens engineered specifically for the GM1. This gives an effective focal range of 70mm to 200mm. Best of all this lens is very compact and balances perfectly with the GM1’s tiny body.

Well, this past weekend I managed to take this lens for its first real outing and I’m very impressed with the following:

  • The image quality from the lens is very good. The images appear sharp and very well focussed. The contrast levels are good and the image colour is excellent.
  • The lens performs well across the entire frame and is sharp into the corners. I didn’t notice any problems with fringing but haven’t done any formal tests and neither have I checked for Barrel or Pincushion distortion.
  • The lens is very light and compact. It’s also designed to collapse when not in use this makes it even smaller. In fact the lens was so small when not in use that the camera with lens attached could fit in my jacket pocket.
  • Despite being so small the lens has image stabilisation built in. I wasn’t expecting too much but it actually seems to work quite well. I don’t think I had any images that were suffering from camera shake despite some of the shutter speeds being quite slow in relation to the focal length of the lens.

Overall the only problem I found (and it’s not really much of a problem) was that the focus speed seemed a little slow at times. If you have a GM1 and want a longer lens than the standard 12-32, I would strongly recommend taking a look at the 35-100mm.

Friday Image No.54

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Liverpool, Panasonic GM1, Panasonic 35-100mm lens, f/6.3, 1/400" at ISO200
Liverpool, Panasonic GM1, Panasonic 35-100mm lens, f/6.3, 1/400″ at ISO200

I have visited this location in Liverpool quite a few times over the past years and my friend has visited it even more often. We never seem to have a clear shot of the building for cars parked in front of it.

This time we managed it. When I have a moment I will stitch together the frontal elevation but I thought I would share this crop as a Friday image. I know it’s probably not to everyone’s taste but I do like taking pictures like this. This area of Liverpool is changing fast and I would hate to see history lost. We photographers need to take time to record our surroundings.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Better Looking Flickr Images

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Simple image with a simple white border to display better on Flickr
Simple image with a simple white border to display better on Flickr

I was recently out with a friend when he showed me some of his work on Flickr. What immediately struck me, other than how good his images were, is that they had a consistent look. All of them had a nice clear white border around them as well as a thin black Keyline. This made all the images really stand out against the dark background of Flickr.

The process of adding the border is done in Photoshop where the image is also resized. If you would like to see what this looks like on Flickr, I have uploaded an example. I would also suggest you take a look at my friends work here.

If you decide that you like this technique and want to know the steps I have prepared a free tutorial on my Lenscraft website.

Useful Lightroom Technique

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Canon G16, ISO80, f/3.5, 1/25".
Canon G16, ISO80, f/3.5, 1/25″.

If you use Lightroom you will no doubt be familiar with the clarity adjustment slider. This can be used to adjust the midtone contrast of an image. Increase the contrast and the finest details pop out of the image. Reduce the contrast and the image takes on an ethereal haze.

In addition to the main Clarity slider found in the Develop module, a clarity slider can also be found in each of the Gradient tools as well as the Adjustment Brush. With the main Clarity slider so easily placed, it can be easy to forget about these other sliders, which is a mistake.

If you ever find yourself in a position where you want to make an object stand out from its surroundings you can achieve this with the Clarity adjustment. But rather than use a global clarity adjustment select the adjustment brush. You should then use this brush tool to outline the object you want to emphasise. Having done this you can apply the Clarity adjustment selectively to the object.

In the image above I wanted to make this door handle on the inside of a steel door stand out from the door as otherwise the image would appear flat. The adjustment brush tool was used to select the handle so that Clarity adjustment could be applied to just that area. This is also a great technique to use with architectural subjects. Also don’t forget that you might need multiple applications with the brush to achieve the desired effect.

Friday Image No.53

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Olympus EM5, ISO200, 1/200" f/8.0
Olympus EM5, ISO200, 1/200″ f/8.0

I have just realised that I haven’t done very much photography over the past few months. Other than keeping a camera in my pocket I just haven’t been getting out. This isn’t very good as I’m running out of material to post on the blog. In fact this image was shot back in December 2013. I must get out more.

Hope you have a great weekend.