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Old Aug 5, 2014, 9:20 PM   #1
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Default Point of Focus

Looking for some guidance -- while shooting floral blossoms, especially the larger ones, should one go for the point of focus on the stamen or on the petals. Yes, could go with a smaller aperture to increase the depth of field, but even then getting the stamens and petals all in sharp focus can prove a tad difficult. To my eye, if the stamen is not sharp then the shot bothers me, but I am also put off if the petal structure is not sharp.
What say you?

To illustrate, here are two shots of a stargazer lily, the first sharp on the stamen, the second sharp on the petal.
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Old Aug 6, 2014, 2:11 AM   #2
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Look in the potd archives and study some of the featured florals. You will see all manner of variations regarding use of focus.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Now imagine the face of a flower is instead, the face of a person.

Is it better if the tip of the person's nose is in focus or rather instead should it be the eye brows?

Below is potd from circa 2006.

It is perhaps a bit too sharp for my taste.
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Old Aug 6, 2014, 4:02 PM   #3
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With an Asian Lily or Iris, I usually have to use AF+MF or all manual focus to find a point "between" the stamens and petals to get everything in focus. Locking with autofocus on one or the other doesn't normally work.
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Old Aug 6, 2014, 4:33 PM   #4
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G'day KC

I have had similar 'dilemmas' over the years too

As you i'm sure realise, DoF is 1/3 in front of the point of focus & 2/3 behind the point of focus
What I play with is focus on the stamen - note the groove on the focus ring, refocus on the petals - note the groove on the focus ring ... then set the precise point of focus between the two to try to achieve the 1/3 ... 2/3 deal

Outdoors in the field - it matters not due to breeze, however indoors with the flower in a vase, then it becomes easier to play the 1/3 - 2/3 game

Hope this helps
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Old Aug 13, 2014, 10:36 PM   #5
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Thanks for the comments and tips. These were shot with a Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 which has a bit more depth of field than the Micro Nikkor 55mm I usually use with flowers. Even though the 105 is more forgiving, I think I'll have to start working with more foot candles and using a smaller aperture to get a bit more depth. Now to get the sun, clouds and wind to co-operate!
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Old Aug 22, 2014, 9:23 AM   #6
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If you want a fully focused flower, close your lens down to f22-f32 and use a tripod. It's also best if you do not get overly close. Cropping to the final size is much easier. Fill flash also helps in many instances. If you like defocused areas it then becomes a matter of personal taste.
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