depth of field - sharpness problem (1 image)

I am desperatly trying to find a solution for my problem to get sharp detail-images of brochures and magazines shot at a perspective angle..

Here's a sample shot I've taken of a brochure (which had a height of 20cm) - 50mm lens, f/16, 1/180s, flash light & studio lights - approx. 80cm distance to object.

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As you can see only the focussed area in the middle is sharp - the rest is blurred due to depth of field..

Now to my question - how do I get the same shot in complete focus (all areas sharp)?.

Thanks for any help in advance.Regards,Robert..

Comments (10)

The middle doesnt look that sharp seems to appear that way because of the bigger bolder text...

Comment #1

You're right - it was not the sharpest shot I took in general - but it was the best one to explain my point..

Comment #2

Try stopping your aperture down further to f/22... But I guess it would still be very hard to achieve the DOF that you want..

I would suggest you to use a P&S camera instead... This is the scenario when P&S can achieve the thing that cannot be achieved by DSLR.....

Comment #3

The traditional answer to such a problem is to use a "view camera" which has bellows and allows the lens and film (or sensor) to be angled and a flat surface such as the brochure can be brought into sharp focus without the need to use a small aperture. This would be a very expensive (though effective) route to take..

However there is also a modern solution which uses software to combine multiple shots, each of which is sharply focussed on a different plane of the subject. See Helicon Focus.


A third suggestion is to go in the opposite direction, open wide the aperture, make the depth of field shallow, and deliberately choose to emphasise the title only, by focussing sharply on that point, and allow the rest to become unsharp..

And a fourth suggestion. Set up the camera parallel to the page, take a shot as if making a photocopy. Then later use software to create a simulated perspective effect. Possibly even combine this artificial perspective into an actual scene shot normally?.


Comment #4

Thanks, Peter, these are some interesting approaches - I'll give them a try (I'll also try out the P/S-Camera advise)..

Comment #5

Do you have a wider angle lens you can use? Or can you take the shot from further away and crop it?.


Comment #6

Yes, I do have both options - a 12-24mm lens and the possibilty to shoot from a few meters away and crop the images..

Comment #7

Peter's suggestion of taking the photo flat and tilting it with software is a good one.Sharpness will be maintained and the geometry will be natural...

Comment #8

Are you locked into this angle?.

The higher you get, the less your problem will be..

And I go along with the smaller-sensor camera (a good point and shoot or "bridge" camera), f22, and back off a crop..

But the real solution is a tilt and shift lens. Might be rentable..


Comment #9

Sherwoodpete wrote:.

And a fourth suggestion. Set up the camera parallel to the page, takea shot as if making a photocopy. Then later use software to create asimulated perspective effect. Possibly even combine this artificialperspective into an actual scene shot normally?.

I've done exactly that to get an oblique-angled packaging shot and it worked well. It allows you to avoid the diffraction problems that come with very small apertures. The only problem is that if you're not careful it can look *too* good, mismatching it's surroundings if there are other visual clues in the shot..

I wonder whether it might be better to take a less oblique shot rather than a square on one, so that the front and back do still show a small amount of defocus for a more natural look?.

If I was doing a lot of this kind of work I would definitely invest in a TS lens...

Comment #10

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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