Visual Point Blank Depth-of-Field Lesson « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Visual Point Blank Depth-of-Field Lesson


Got more done on my 2014 tax return on Friday; to me, doing my business taxes is like doing a jigsaw puzzle…. Put in one piece at a time and if you keep at it you will finish. Due to a snafu my ice bath was a balmy 65 degrees when I exited. This blog post, the 135th in a row, took about 2 1/2 hours to prepare. It was published automatically just after midnight on Saturday.


BIRDS AS ART BULLETIN #475 is online and can be accessed here. Item 1, A Comparison: The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II with TCs versus the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II, should be of special interest to blog folks. When you visit, be sure to take a crack at the exposure question.

  • A Comparison: The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II with TCs vs the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II
  • DPP 4 Educational Screen Capture
  • The DPP 4 eGuide
  • The 7D Mark II User’s Guide
  • Used Photography Gear for Sale
  • South Georgia October 2015
  • BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) Info
  • Your Help Needed and Appreciated/Affiliate Stuff

Used Photography Gear for Sale

There has been lots of action on the Used Photography Gear page here. The following items sold within the past week:

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens sold for $4999 by Jacques Bouvier on May 20, 2015.
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II sold by Carl Zanoni for $1649 on May 19, 2015.
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM sold by Owen Peller for $799 on 5/19/15.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV sold by Gerald Barrack for $1599 in May, 2015.
Canon EOS 7D DSLR Digital Camera Body (with battery grip) sold for $579 by Barbara Garmon on May 23, 2015.
In addition, a sale is pending on Barbara Garmon’s old 100-400.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, we have sold just about everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily.

Brand New Listing: this one should sell instantly!

Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens

Kevin Hice is offering a used Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in excellent plus condition for a lowest-price-ever $4750. The sale includes the LensCoat that has been on it since day one, the lens trunk 300B (with a few insignificant scuffs), the fabric front cover, the rear lens cap, the lens strap, the CD, the original box with everything that came in it, and insured shipping via UPS Ground. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

This lens is super sharp and great in low light. No scratches or chips on the paint even on the tripod foot.

Please contact Kevin via e-mail or phone at 701 460 6112 (central time).

I own and use the amazing lens often. It is great for hand holding and for flight, with or without either the 1.4X III or the 2X III TC. In all cases it is amazingly sharp in competent hands. Outdoor Photographer editor Rob Sheppard was stunned by the sharpness of my allo-preening Macaroni Penguins image that was created with the 300 II and the 2X III TC.

Featured Item

Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L USM Macro Lens

Price reduced $100 on 2/20/2015!

Multiple IPT veteran Carl Zanoni is also offering a used Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 USM macro lens in like new condition for $1075. The sale includes the E-72 II 72mm (front) lens cap, the (rear) lens dust cap E, the ET-78 II lens hood, Tripod Mount Ring B (tripod collar), the LZ1324 lens case, the original box, and insured shipping via UPS Ground to US addresses. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Carl by e-mail or by phone at 860 306 9651 (eastern time).

I have owned and used the 180 macro for more than 10 years. It is the primo telephoto macro lens. It is sharp with and without a 1.4X TC. It offers a narrow field of view that goes a long way to eliminating back distracting background element. It is great for flowers and all sorts of bugs, butterflies, and dragonflies as well as for frogs and toads.


This image was created in Charleston, SC with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens (with the Canon Tripod Mount Ring D for IS 100mm f/2.8L macro lens) and the amazing Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/50 sec. at f/8 in av mode.

Center AF point (manual selection)/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF on the tip of the second closest carpal stalk and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Decaying carpels from magnolia flower

The Motivation and the Creation

Denise Ippolito spotted some really low down magnolia flowers. In the past, she had taught me to appreciate dying, dead, or decaying flowers. In today’s featured image I photographed a small, somewhat neatly arranged pile of stalks that had fallen from the decaying carpel. The stalks, if that is the right term for them, were lying in the curved petal of the dead flower. The pinks and purples set against the whitish grey of the petals is an attractive combination for many.

It took quite a while to get the image framed as I wanted it. As the leaf-covered ground was less than firm and there was a pretty good breeze I was constantly adjusting things to achieve halfway decent framing. As I wanted to stay at ISO 400 I utilized my Av mode/Live View/2-second timer flower technique. Once I started creating some images that looked OK on the back of the camera I decided that I would run the aperture table by creating images at full stop intervals from f/2.8 to f/22. You can see the results and learn a stack in the animated GIF below.

The Animated Depth-of-Field GIF

Let the animated GIF above run through a full cycle or two, from f/2.8 through f/22 as follows: f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, and f/22. The slight variations in framing were a result of the soft ground and the wind. The seven images in the animated GIF were created from the extracted JPEGs. Differences in exposure and in color balance were due to the sun coming in and out; this affected things even though the flowers were basically in the shade.

As the apertures get smaller and smaller as the GIF plays the differences in depth-of-field between the individual frames seem quite small. Until you go from f/22 back to f/2.8 where the relatively huge difference becomes dramatic. At first I liked the image created at f/4 best but I wound up optimizing the one made at f/.8.

The lesson here is that at close range with relatively high magnification the increases in depth-of-field as you go from one f/stop to the next are very small, but that the difference between f/2.8 and f/22 (six f/stops) is quite significant.

According to Depth-of-field, depth of field with the 7D II and the 100 macro at ten inches is 7/100 inch at f/8. That drops to 3/100 inch at f/2.8 and increases to only 21/100 inch (just a smidgeon more than 1/5 of a single inch) at f/22.

Important Realization…

Do understand that though there is a big difference in the look of the images at f/2.8 and f/22 that the bulk of that has to do with bringing up background detail rather than actual depth of field. As each stalk was about 1/2 inch (.5) long a total d-o-f of .2 inches does not cover a very large zone of sharp focus.

Your Favorite Aperture?

All things (exposure, sharpness, and color temperature) considered, which aperture do think yielded the nicest image? Do let us know why.


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4 comments to Visual Point Blank Depth-of-Field Lesson

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    F11, my eyes relax on the image at this apeture.

  • avatar David Peake

    Hi Artie,
    You have me shivering!
    Doing taxes has been traumatic for me for ever. As much as I love and work with numbers, I couldn’t balance my cheque book at 16 yrs old and to this day I still think “who cares where the last three cents went this month”. I was so relieved when I could afford to pay someone to take care of this in our business. My office help is amazing. She makes everything balance so I can get on with the rest of the work.
    The first time in business I got told I might have to take a cold bath makes me shiver for a different reason.
    I didn’t know then but I do now that this expression is code for ” you’re screwed buddy” .
    Well the weather here in Nz is absolute mush today so apart from a great frame of my beautiful wife posted to Facebook for all our friends to see, I did not do much work but….
    I managed to find and watch the B and H post of you and Denise teaching how to create pleasing blurs.
    And yes it was magic.
    Following that I decided to digest slowly all your blog posts starting at Jan 1 st 2014.
    I felt like a new entrant at school after the first few posts. I’ m reading carefully and learning as I go.
    I have taken your comments to heart from recent blogs where you have suggested someone goes back and rereads a particular post.
    I have discovered a huge resource and a wealth of great information.
    So one month down today . Lots to think about . And now my brain is about as mushy as today’s weather.
    Still, it was agreat use of my wet day.
    The garden and the yardwork can wait a few more days I am sure.
    Now to,the bulletin and then some sleep
    Heartfelt thanks for all you are doing.
    Kind regards

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      YAW, and keep up the good work 🙂

      • avatar David Peake

        Oops I didn’t spot your question until now.
        I also like the F 8 image because it’s one that has just a few stalks sharply in focus. Thats enough visual information for the brain to know what the rest of the image is even though it is beyond the focus zone. Rather pleasing I think.
        By f 11 there is a lot more in focus and to me it’s distracting.
        Focusing on just a few stalks in the front is enough for us to ‘get your drift’.