How can I get lots of DOF in this subject? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I was baffled by a situation today in which my subject was a vertical close-up of a dense bank of reeds. The bank of reeds began about a foot from the lens and extended away from the lens to about 15 feet. My intention was to create a strong, powerful feeling yet was unable to do this because of inadequate DOF. No matter what aperture or movements I used I could not retain sharpness front to back. I've never encountered a DOF problem as severe as this. My question is what could I have done to correct this? (I was using a 4x5 monorail with all movements available and a 135mm WF Ektar. I would have liked to use a longer lens but I neglected to bring my other lenses with me)

-- Brian Jefferis (, March 06, 1999


About all you could do is to use the smallest aperture possible. If your lens wouldn't stop down far enough you could make a stop by drilling a smaller hole in a lenscap but at some point you'd get so much diffraction it'd be as if you were using a pinhole camera.

-- John Hicks / John's Camera Shop (, March 07, 1999.

Perhaps you could have moved back (i.e. increased your distance from the front of the bank) to increase depth of field, then cropped the image to include only the portion that you wanted.

-- Brian Ellis (, March 07, 1999.

A longer lens would certainly not have helped. Use a shorter lens, I'd say. And did you swing your front (top forward in case you faced the bank)?

-- Lot (, March 07, 1999.

The large format camera is not the best solution for all compositions. In situations such as the one you describe, dropping back to 35 mm may be the only way to make the photograph. I personally believe that the camera is only a tool, and you use the appropriate tool for each task.


-- Bruce M. Herman (, March 07, 1999.

Listen to Ellis. That's the only way to do it. You're using 4x5. Plenty of enlargability. Move back. Crop it in the printing stage. 35mm? Where's the advantage? f16 or maybe f22? Listen to Ellis. He knows. But I don't see why you can't get sharpness at those distances. you must have an older shutter that only goes to f32. f45 or f64 should have gotten you there. Are you focusing halfway into the scene? That should do it. Could you get higher and then shoot down a little. Then you could use some tilt. Interesting. Let me know what you come up with. James

-- coolphotodude (, March 12, 1999.

Thanks everyone for your insights!

-- Brian Jefferis (, March 12, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ