Forum : Advice & Critiques

Can’t seem to get something to synth right? Curious about what lens is best? Ask your fellow Photosynthers here.


Topic: Macro and synthing?

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KrisWood (Over 1 year ago)
Hi everyone. I've tried a few synths now with my new camera and have played with several settings to see what synths best. One thing that's been nagging at my curiousity is depth of field. In short, I've noticed that any shots I do in macro settings rarely synth with shots that have a larger depth of field.

My question is; does anyone have any pointers for pulling macro shots into a synth? For synthing purposes is it generally better to go with a larger depth of field regardless of your subject?

For the best example I've managed thus far, check this synth in which I combined macro and normal shots of a group of daffodils.

http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=505c7ae3-9a97-43b8-bf0a-a7c19a65ac39
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
I think you hit the nail on the head:  It's the shallow DOF you get with closer focus that's probably causing the issues.  I can think of two ways to tie macro shots in with the rest of the world:

1 - Rather than dropping straight from wide/distant to close/narrow, make it a progression.  Photograph the wider scene, then get a LITTLE closer, but with the same subject in the same place in the frame, shot from the same angle.  Then a LITTLE closer, etc. until you're right up next to it.  The effect in the synth would be like a helicopter sequence in a movie where you start high and eventually land the camera on the scene.

2 - Give your macro shots more DOF.

I hope #2 has people laughing, at least a little.  Shallow DOF is characteristic of a macro shot.  This is one of the reasons why most macro lenses on the market have apertures that can produce ridiculously small f/ratios.  The one on my Canon will do f/32.

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tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
The lens I use on my 4x5, at full extension, will do f/64.  With a pinhole aperture stuck in the lens, it'll do f/256 pretty easily.

All of which is unavailable when I use my compact camera.  It maxes out at f/8, even though it can actually focus closer than the macro lens on my DSLR.  What to do?

If you don't mind taking a LOT more pictures and running them through yet more software, there's a neat package called CombineZP that will let you take a series of images taken at different focus distances, and stack them into a single image, using only the sharpest parts from each one.  Here are two examples:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tbenedict/3116887276/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tbenedict/3183443667/

It helps to have a camera that can shoot those sequences without the user having to re-focus manually.  These were done on a Canon compact camera running CHDK so the focusing could be scripted.

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tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
The big trick with CombineZP is that you need the DOF of your images to overlap one another so you don't wind up with planes of fuzziness in your images.  My first few attempts wound up that way.  These used something like 27 images per stack because the DOF of my compact is pretty shallow when focused that close.

For what it's worth, I absolutely love the idea of pulling macro shots into a synth.  It would be an utter blast to do a miniature version of the "Powers of Ten" video the Eames did back in 1977:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powers_of_Ten

Talk about a walk-through synth!

I think you're really on to something here with including macro shots in your synths.  I can't wait to see what you do next!

Tom
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