Monday, July 19, 2010

Macro and Aperture: A field test

A few weeks back on a macro post, an interesting conversation emerged about what's the best aperture to use when shooting "macro" (I use quotations since I can't shoot true macro yet). An e-friend and resident expert recommends a narrower aperture (due to there being such a small space to focus when working with macro - most of the photo ends up being blurred), but if you are like me, you are addicted to shooting wide as possible for all the delicious bokeh.
So over the past week, I thought I would do a little experiment and shoot the same flower at slightly different apertures to see the result. I think its actually quite telling:
These are all SOOC.

Test 1: my normal aperture setting, f/2

I found it really hard to balance my settings and not blow out the colour at such a wide aperture. I lost a ton of definition in the flower because of this.

test 2: f/7.1

much easier to properly expose and get the entire flower head in focus, while still achieving some bokeh. I find it a bit too in focus though, to the point that the background is distracting.

test 3: f/5
getting better I think. still good definition, but still not quite enough separation from background

test 4: f/3.2
I think this is my favourite. good bokeh, the flower still retains its details. the head is still in focus. slightly overexposed, but I could salvage that in post if I wanted.

So there you have it! Even moving up a few stops does give you more leeway to achieve what you want, while still retaining the beauty that pulls us to do macro.
I am sure there are better examples of this on the net, but thought I would share my thought process with y'all. What do you think? How do you shoot macros?

1 comment:

Ashley Sisk said...

Great test - I love to shoot wide open but I hear that I need to have a larger aperture. My last macro shot (the seashell) I think I was on f/32?