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Olympus 60mm F2.8 Depth of Field Tips for Macro Photography?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Cornelius, May 19, 2014.

  1. Cornelius

    Cornelius Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 9, 2013
    I'm pretty new to what I call hardcore macro. When I try to go really close-up with this lens like 1:1 or lower at .19 - .4, I find the D.O.F impossibly shallow to work with. There's like a sliver of an area that is in focus. Stopping down doesn't seem to help either.

    Does anyone have any tips on working with a shallow D.O.F. when shooting with this lens and with Macro photography in general? Thanks!
  2. leendertv

    leendertv Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 22, 2011
    Rotterdam, Netherlands
    Yes, DOF is very thin!
    I usually use F16 for small insects (spiders, flys...)

    focus stacking is a technique for this "problem". but I've never tried.
  3. Cornelius

    Cornelius Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 9, 2013
    Wow, you have to stop down to F16!? I have to admit, I've never tried going down that far. My changes showed little if any discernible differences. Now I know. That's tripod territory or very high ISO...

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  4. From what I've read, and from exif data I have viewed, a lot of macro photogs use a flash. This will let you use a very small aperture, but also allow you to shoot handheld. I am going to attempt it one of these days, but I'm not much of a flash person.
  5. Having done a little searching on this same issue not long ago, it seemed that many macro people were using a lens adapter like the Raynox on non-macro lens to increase their magnification. Having looked at some comparison photos of macro lens and a lens with Raynox (seen here), I immediately noticed they were getting more detail with a slightly wider DOF than the dedicated macro lens. They were even stacking these to get more magnification. I am considering trying this approach.

    I like my Oly 60mm though. I've just learned to work with the shallow DOF when doing shots up close. It works great for portraits or still life shots giving a nice bokeh and fast autofocus.
  6. kawhona

    kawhona Mu-43 Veteran

    Focus stacking will definately work if you want to have an area in focus and the rest bokeh. If you use photoshop or elements it is a very easy technique to use or I wouldn't have been able to do it :)  You can stop down as well but, that can be difficult if you want a whole flower or bug but, want it to fill the frame ie 1/1. I love the 60mm and think it is one of the underappreciated lenses in the system. I use it all the time. Here is an example of a focus stacked image.

  7. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    By default , what you see on the LCD or the EVF before pressing the shutter does not show the effect of the smaller apertures such as f16 - you need to find out how to do a DOF preview - on the OMD this is a function that can be applied to a button - other cameras may differ


    • Like Like x 1
  8. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    As has been mentioned, you can get great macro results by shooting stopped down for larger DoF and using flash to illuminate the subject. Effectively the flash duration becomes your "shutter speed."
  9. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2012
    I recall hearing Joel Satore, a frequent contributor to National Geographic, use the analogy that shooting macro is very much like shooting long telephoto. DOF is very narrow and any subject or camera movements are grossly magnified. Robin Wong has posted some very useful stuff on doing macro photography with the Oly m43 system and he uses flash quite a lot. He also uses a home made soft box. I think his stuff might be helpful.
    • Like Like x 2
  10. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    Unless the subject is in bright sunlight, I've found it best to stop down really far and use a flash. If your camera has a pop-up flash that can be handy, but a ring flash or a larger flash with a diffuser is even better. You can also use LEDs to illuminate the subject, Olympus has some that attach in the flash bracket and there are a number of cheap knock-offs
  11. Cornelius

    Cornelius Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 9, 2013
    The DOF preview function is amazing. Believe it or not this is the first time I've ever used such a feature. Mind blown.

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  12. ckrueger

    ckrueger Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 16, 2011
    Stop down as far as you need, but be aware that much past f/8 you'll start to lose sharpness to diffraction. f/16 is usable, but don't expect to print a 20x30 and be impressed with the sharpness!

    Shooting flash will help you stop down without getting a blurry mess. In fact, flash is a great idea for macro regardless of the aperture, because the short duration of the flash tends to freeze motion--both your subject's motion and your own.

    Also be careful in your framing. Be aware of the plane of focus, and align your subject with it when possible. Think of a butterfly with its wings up. If you shoot it from an oblique angle, you'll get part of the wing in focus and perhaps its eyes. But if you shoot it from the side, so the wing is aligned with the plane of focus, the entire butterfly will be in focus.

    You might also try to learn where your lens' DOF is when you focus on a point. Is it half in front, half in back? 2/3rds behind and 1/3rd in front? Sometimes you don't want to focus exactly on the point you want in focus. You may focus on the root of a cricket's wing, for example, to put the wingtip and the eyes in focus.

    The DOF preview button will help you visualize DOF. As you get used to your macro lens, you'll start to figure it out without relying on DOF preview. In fact, I prefer shooting without it because at f/2.8 you can see exactly where focus is, whereas if you DOF preview down to f/11 it's tough to tell exactly where focus is.
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Fri13

    Fri13 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 30, 2014
    Shallow depth of field is macro curse of course. And it is like shooting ultra fast action sport like contact sports or shooting as the small insects movement speed is faster on sensor plane than it is in normal sport photography or common one where movements like hand wave or head turning are very slow compared how quickly a insect can turn around or jump.

    To capture example a ladybug opening shell, widening wings and then jumping to air, it is counted in few milliseconds and the speed traveling from cross sensor plane is like trying to capture fighter jet flying ten meter above you when you have a 50mm lens stationary.

    Flash is your best friend and good position to lay down while moving camera forward/backward for focus.

    I wouldn't go above f/11 if wanted to maintain sharpness.
  14. Listener

    Listener Mu-43 Regular

    My recipe for closeup photos of flowers and insects in uncontrolled situations:

    - set aperture at F8 or F9.

    - use a monopod or tripod if you aren't steady.

    - Back off from the 1:1 distance to the 1:2 or 1:3 distance and crop photos to get more magnification.

    The 60mm lens on a m43 body with focus peaking, focus assist (magnification of the EVF image) and blinkies in the review image make my m43 make closeup work much more relaxing than it was with Nikon crop bodies and 90 and 150mm macro lenses. No need for F22 apertures either.
  15. Cornelius

    Cornelius Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 9, 2013
    What are blinkies?

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  16. poopstick

    poopstick Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 9, 2013
    Burlington Ontario
    When the over-exposed area of an image flashes on your camera screen.
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