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How much DOF needed for a Robin

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27 Dec 2009 - 11:45 PM

Hi all,
Has anyone got an opinion on how much DOF they would like to have to produce a good photo of a robin, leaving out the artistic aspect.

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27 Dec 2009 - 11:45 PM

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rowarrior  64350 forum posts Scotland9 Constructive Critique Points
27 Dec 2009 - 11:57 PM

What sort of focal length lens are you using for this?

28 Dec 2009 - 12:03 AM

Anything from 200-560mm.
In conjunction with the f stop and distance to subject, I know that they all produce different amounts of DOF.
What I'm trying to find out is what would be the minimum DOF you would look to get, to make a good photo of a small bird, such as a robin.
2cm.....4cm.....more ?

28 Dec 2009 - 12:15 AM

I have been photographing birds at a feeder from my conservatory window at a distance of 4 mtrs.
I have the choice of 200mm 280mm 400mm and 560mm.
If I try and get a reasonably full frame (not 100%) I get very little depth of focus (max 2cm @ f8 400mm).
OK, the head is sharpe but I feel the rest of the bird is to out of focus.
I'm only a beginner and I may be getting this all wrong

canon_stu  11140 forum posts England4 Constructive Critique Points
28 Dec 2009 - 1:20 AM

About this, a classic pose of a well shot subjectWink

Last Modified By canon_stu at 28 Dec 2009 - 1:21 AM
28 Dec 2009 - 1:29 AM

sorry, I dont get it............

stolzy  83753 forum posts7 Constructive Critique Points
28 Dec 2009 - 8:01 AM

If you know how thick a Robin is (you may have to shoot one to measure it accurately, or enlist the help of a cat) this will tell you exactly

28 Dec 2009 - 8:03 AM

Quote: Sorry, I dont get it............

Can't say I blame you - that wasn't a Robin, twas a Regal Wink

28 Dec 2009 - 8:06 AM

Quote: If you know how thick a Robin is (you may have to shoot one to measure it accurately, or enlist the help of a cat) this will tell you exactly

The cat technique could be inaccurate, depends how much it ate Wink

I'd guess that 6" should be sufficient to include the birdie sitting at any angle with wings folded, a bit more (maybe 9-10") with wings outstretched.

28 Dec 2009 - 9:11 AM

So I assume that a 2cm DOF is the norm in this situation.
Thanks for all the tips, I knew I could reliant on you.

28 Dec 2009 - 9:30 AM

Hi Canon_stu,
Thanks for the tips in your PM.
My question was probably worded badly as what I was asking was in relation to the very shallow depth of focus available in that situation. I was trying to ask if this was the norm and if was something that had to be accepted.
In less than perfect light, which is very rare, I can see no way of getting more DOF without getting too close or pushing up the ISO too high.

Coleslaw e2 Member 913403 forum postsColeslaw vcard Wales28 Constructive Critique Points
28 Dec 2009 - 9:31 AM

I would say normally around F8 - F11

bppowell  122125 forum posts England2 Constructive Critique Points
28 Dec 2009 - 9:40 AM

At f8 I would have expected more than 2cm of the bird to be sharp, what shutter speed are you getting?

It is my understanding that DOF depends on size of aperture and the time the light is let through. With a longer lens then the amount of light reaching the aperture is not as bright as with a shorter lens, hence you may need more time to get a better DOF. I am sure someone else can explain this more technically.

If I was shooting at 4meter distance the 400mm would be more than enough. With the lens mounted on the tripod and IS set to on, (some say you set it to off) try setting the shutter speed around 200ms or even 150. I sometime use my Sigma 50-500 with a shutter speed of 60ms but rarely do I have f8 set unless it is a very bright day, lucky to get f5.6.

You may need to go into manual rather than aperature. If needed up the ISO.


28 Dec 2009 - 9:51 AM

I was trying to set up so that I could get a fairly full frame shot and I felt that 4 mtrs was close enough.
With 560mm the DOF was about 2cm even at f/11
The 400mm seems the best option. 4cm at f/11
280mm gives 6cm but would reuire a bit of cropping and the 200mm would give 9cm but is just not close enough.

These options are all based on f/11 which in winter light requires a very high ISO.

Chris.maddock suggests 6" (15cm) or more, but how can this be achived or am I missing something.
Do I need to revise my thinking ?

28 Dec 2009 - 9:53 AM

hi barry,
I wouldent dare argue a point with anyone due my lack of expertise, but does shutter speed have a bearing on DOF ?

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