[LRFlex] Re: a blessing and a curse

  • From: Douglas Herr <telyt@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: leica@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, leicareflex@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2005 09:46:13 -0700 (GMT-07:00)

> The  big problem with a 1280mm lens combo, is the incredible lack of Depth of 
> Field.
> Out at Tunkwa, the day before yesterday, I saw a marmot...
> See: http://www3.telus.net/~telyt  and then click on Featured Photo.
> This shot is sharp as a tack ... see his (her?) right (our left) eye. Yet the 
> DOF is so small at such focal lengths,
> that the nose and teeth are fuzzy, to the point where the entire photo looks 
> unsharp.  And closing down does
> not seem to make any appreciable difference, at least until you get to the 
> point where you can't use the view 
> finder, and it all becomes pointless.

I have this DOF problem with much shorter lenses too, but then I'm using a much 
lower ISO and larger apertures.  The best work-around for me has been to get 
the crucial elements of the critter all in the plane of focus:


This was made with a 250mm lens, cropped slightly, at f/4.  Critical focus on 
the eyes is essential, but I also wanted the rest of the bird's head and as 
much plumage as possible in focus too.  One of the Really Big Things I like 
about the SL's viewfinder is that I can quickly and accurately tell what parts 
are in focus no matter where the bird is in the viewfinder.  By shifting my 
position slightly I'm often able to place the plane of focus on as much of the 
bird as possible.  This is one of the blessings of using a shorter focal 
length, and one of several reasons I'd rather not use extreme focal lengths: 
with a shorter lens, the change in position required to shift the angle of the 
plane of focus is smaller.

Doug Herr
Birdman of Sacramento
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