Saturday, October 14, 2006

How to isolate a subject (DOF)

Depth of field (DOF) is something that a lot of people do not have a good enough grasp of to be able to take advantage of. If used properly one is able to isoloate a subject so it is the primary thing a person will see. Depending what you are photographing will dictate how much DOF you need to use.

Let's cover the items that control the DOF in an image.

Aperture size
The larger (smaller number) that your aperture is the less DOF you will have to play with. If you take the same image at f/2.8 vs. f/22 you will see more of the background will be visible at f/22 compared to f/2.8. Knowing this will let you control how much is in focus.

Lens Focal Length
The longer your lens is the less DOF you have. This is the main reason most landscape photographers use wide angle lenses so that mountain in the distance is nice and sharp along with the river in front of them.

Distance from subject
This one has to be the one that most people do not realize affects your DOF. As you get closer to the subject less of the background will remain in focus. Conversely as you step away more will be sharper.

Putting all this together is the image below. It was taken with a Nikon 70-200mm VR lens set at 200mm at f/2.8 at about 6 feet away (2 meters for the rest of the world) Notice that the background is completely out of focus. The barbed wire really stands out in this image.

Here is another post from a soccer/football blog that really illustrates great DOF.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Nikon D200 firmware upgrade (more to it than meets the eye)

There are reports at Nikonians and DPReview forums that there may be more to the new Nikon D200 firmware upgrade than what Nikon has originally reported. Sigma lenses on Nikon D200 bodies could only be focused by half pressing the shutter button, the AF-ON button did not work. The only solution until now was to send the lens back to Sigma for them to correct the issue. Well the new firmware now seems to have corrected that issue. Other people have reported that AF speed has improved and get this VR (Vibration Reduction) lenses seem to be behaving better after the firmware upgrade as well.

I have not upgraded my D200 yet (being in the computer world I like to let others go for it before I take the plunge) so I will be going for it this weekend and report back my results here with the 70-200VR, stay tuned. =)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Secret to better photographs

There is one simple truth to getting a better image, and that is to get rid of the clutter. How many times have you seen a picture of your son, daughter, Aunt Ethel and they take up about 1/4 of the frame? You take a look at it and your eye wanders around the picture and then you realize that there is a person in the picture. Next time get closer to your subject. Either zoom in or just walk in closer, really it's ok. Give it a shot, I think that you will be pleased with the results. :)

Photokina 2006 has come and gone

... and we still have not seen any new pro bodies for the DSLR Market. Nikon came out with the D80 and Canon came out with the 400D/XTi. Hopefully they will come out with something of interest for the pro shooters.

Since I am using the Nikon system, I was really hoping for something more in the line of lenses offered by Nikon. Variable aperture lenses are not what I want to see, give me fast glass or I will just wait *uhg*

Oh well I will just make do with what I have and keep posting pictures at my site.