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Old Aug 26, 2013, 9:19 PM   #1
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Default close up focussing (FZ-150)

Hi all,
The other day I had a rare opportunity to get a close up of a garter snake, who was willing to 'sit' for me. I was using a dioptre 3 lens, and got a beautiful close up of the front of his head, almost to the eyes. I would have liked the entire head in focus, but was not sure what settings I should be playing with. My assumption is that I will have to take several shots, each with a different area in focus, then stack them??
..... john

Last edited by Shinnen; Aug 26, 2013 at 9:21 PM. Reason: diction
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Old Aug 27, 2013, 3:33 AM   #2
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Stepping down the aperture will help increase the depth of field (up to f/8...) just be aware that you'll have a reduction in shutter speed- so you/the subject will have to be steady (or increase the iso...).
Don't expect miracles however,as the depth of field control is nothing like as versatile as an ASP-C or full-frame sensor camera.
Stacking might work,but you'll rarely get the subject to keep still long enough for that to work...!
For the head of a snake,you wouldn't need the lens you've used and would probably help you achieve the depth of field you're after....
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Old Aug 27, 2013, 7:00 PM   #3
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Hi Simon,
Damn, I keep forgetting about the aperture. I'm so used to ignoring it, since my S5 almost always needed more light and was rarely not at 2.7. OK..... I'll try to remember that. I see now that the snake pictures were at 4.7
And the close-up lens simply accentuated the focus issue??
And, if stopping it down isn't enough, do I need to resort to manual focus (stacking multiple shots), i.e. there's no setting for 'focus bracketing' (if there is such a thing).... right?
...... john
P.S. The snake was an ideal model. He never moved, just sat there and let me shoot away.

Last edited by Shinnen; Aug 27, 2013 at 7:07 PM. Reason: clarify meaning
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Old Aug 28, 2013, 3:42 AM   #4
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I'm pretty sure the close up lens will accentuate the shallow depth of field issue- never mind the usual edge softness associated with such lenses,which can give a similar effect..!
Here's a brief focus bracketing article (I've never tried this...)-
http://digital-photography-school.co...focus-stacking

You could use manual focus on the FZ150,though I'd probably go with a single point AF and shrink the AF size to its smallest and move around your subject for a selection of shots...

Last edited by SIMON40; Aug 28, 2013 at 3:44 AM.
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Old Aug 28, 2013, 8:46 AM   #5
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Great! Thanks Simon. I didn't know that these lenses caused edge softness. I will have a look at the article and explore the AF suggestions you made.
By the way .... The reason the +3 dioptre appeals to me, is that it allows me get about a foot away from the subject. I don't think I could get much closer without scaring them off. I get the sense that I may be making too much of this macro distance thing?? Am I missing something, or is there really a blind spot (focus wise) in the FZ-150 range?
..... john

Last edited by Shinnen; Aug 29, 2013 at 3:35 PM. Reason: spelling mistake
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Old Aug 29, 2013, 3:55 AM   #6
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"As is" the FZ-150 isn't the best macro tool out there- simply due to its wide angle 25mm lens, effectively pushing you further away (all else being equal)- meaning you have to get so close to the subject for a decent macro shot. Zooming doesn't really help,as you have to step further back to get into the camera's focus range- thus nullifying the point of zooming. Getting really close has it's obvious problems, with small animals/insects usually being scared off (or biting you..!) and the camera or you creating shadows over your subject.
An older camera of mine- a Fuji S5800- was great for macro work simply because its lens was 38mm at it's widest, bringing me closer by default- and today's obsession with cameras all having a very wide angle zoomed out leaves the Macro usage a little short- hence the need for specific "macro" or "close up" lenses.
I've never used one such lens,but like any other type of lens,the market is flooded with many variants at many different prices with the obvious variation in optical quality.

Shinnen, what brand macro/close up lens do you have...? Maybe post some images up here as the "what macro lens..." seems to be a frequent query...

Last edited by SIMON40; Aug 29, 2013 at 3:58 AM.
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Old Aug 29, 2013, 4:06 PM   #7
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Hi Simon,
Thanks for the explanation, and confirmation of my suspicions re close ups with the FZ-150. (I didn't know the lens had anything to do with close-ups. That's how much I know about cameras.) Frankly, I think that the macro-zoom ability has tricked me into thinking that I can do something with the camera that it isn't designed to do. My S5 doesn't have zoom with 'super macro', so focus zooming was never an issue, it just won't do it.
I have an 'el-cheapo' set of Blacks close-up lenses, +1,+2, and +3 dioptre; but I suspect that adding any closeup lens is going to reduce DOF ???
As far as pictures are concerned, I don't have a firm enough grasp on what I'm struggling with, to be able to show what I mean.
...... john
P.S. Despite all my posts........ I LOVE THIS CAMERA!! It takes beautiful pictures, and does so consistently and easily.

Last edited by Shinnen; Aug 29, 2013 at 4:09 PM.
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Old Aug 29, 2013, 6:37 PM   #8
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Certainly,the stronger the dioptre,the shallower DOF you'll get.
Fine if you like that effect- not-so if you don't.
If you're shooting a subject overhead "square on" to the lens,the DOF shouldn't be an issue,but if you're looking head on to a subject or down the body then expect a shallow DOF.
Here's a "square on" example... note the complete focus of the subject (FZ150)... and a "down the body" example with a shallower DOF (TZ10)...

Some like a shallow DOF,some don't...!
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Old Aug 29, 2013, 6:51 PM   #9
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Hi Simon,
Yes, I see what you mean. Beautiful pictures. The caterpillar is closer to what I got with the snake, but the shallow DOF was even more pronounced, probably because of the +3 lens. Odd thing is, the photo is very good, and the shallow DOF does force one's eyes to the head, so .........
I think I'm just going to have to work more with the camera, do some experimenting. I've taken far to few pictures to comment on it. After all, my S5 is not nearly the camera the FZ-150 is, and I was still able to get some stunning images with it, after I got to know it.
Thanks again for your help.
...... john

Last edited by Shinnen; Aug 29, 2013 at 6:58 PM. Reason: expanding thoughts
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Old Oct 2, 2013, 10:49 AM   #10
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Hi All,
Just a few thoughts.
I did some more experimenting this morning with different closeup lenses. Until now, I've been thinking that stronger magnification would allow me to get closer, which it does, but +3 is much too strong for photographing flowers and insects, so I went to +2 .... still quite strong, and finally settled on +1, which seems to give the right balance between closeness to the subject, magnification, and focus. So .... I'll keep the +2 and +1 in my bag, which should cover most of my needs.
...... john
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