Is something like G10 better for my macros than my D700

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dmitry_kiyatkin, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. Hello, I have a question for those in the know.
    I sometimes have to take photos of scale models for collectors. Attached example below. I use my D700 with 60mm macro and a set of studio strobes. I struggle with loss of sharpness at high f stops (32) and relatively low DOF. Would I be smarter to use something like a G10 at base ISO (since I have boatloads of light) rather than the D700? I am really looking for more DOF here, since that is all I really need?
    Thank you for any opinions.
    Moderator note: 2.5 MB JPEG deleted. Please resize. Not everyone has broadband ISP access.
  2. People are not going to be happy with an embedded 2.5 MB image - that I can tell you now. :)
  3. Wouldnt a G10 suffer worse from diffraction because its a smaller sensor than the D700.
    I'm just thinking that on FX diffraction sets in at f16 there abouts.
    On DX you can experience diffraction at f8.
    Maybe on an even smaller sensor you would experience diffraction at even lower stops.
    Just an idea I had. Someone correct me.
  4. I've just taken a 7 cm long scale model truck into our kitchen and shot it under a simple flourescent fixture with my G10 at 4 cm away, in macro mode, 1/2 second at f/8. The ISO was automatically set at 200. Because of the very close focus distance the rear of the truck did begin to fall slightly out of focus. So I backed the camera away to maybe 20 cm to create a foreshortened look, and zoomed the lens slightly for the second shot. The files are 14.7 MB originals, (4416 X 3312 pixels) reduced quite a bit for this upload. The original raw files would be between 15 and 20 MB. If I could do this in a few minutes so simply, I'm sure you could do much better. Notice the paint texture on the second shot. The G10 is an incredible little camera.
  5. Here's the second shot.
  6. I think your sharpness is just fine, it's the amount of subject matter outside of the acceptable plane of focus which is what I see.
    Try backing the lens away a little and bringing your actual focal point a little further forward on the model in an attempt to increase the plane of focus.
  7. Okay, Matthew - Here's a better sample from farther back, more zoom.
  8. So, Dmitry, would you like to trade your D700 for my G10? (A man can dream.)
  9. Howard, thanks for these examples. I just do not want to waist $500 if I can get similar DOF with the D700.
    Matthew, if I back up more I get too much empty space at expense of some extra DOF, not really ideal either.
    I've heard of programs that can stitch together shots at different focal distances - do they really exist and are they usable?
  10. Dmitry, you could still back up for more depth of field, and just trim off the extra space around your subject in the final version. Your D700 has a lot of resolution to work with.
  11. mizore

    mizore A Gringa in Nicaragua

    Check out focus stacking software. I've seen some very impressive work done with such software in getting great depth of field in macro shots. The other solution is to get a shift/tilt lens and change the plane of focus.
  12. I, too, sometimes like the enhanced DOF that comes with a smaller sensor and correspondingly shorter FL lens and working distance. In addition, I find that for scale models, the resulting perspective is more realistic. With the longer stand-off distances of a full frame camera and a more-or-less "normal" FL lens, your scale model tank almost looks like it was photographed from a spy satellite 100 miles up. ;-)
    If you don't want to give up sharpness and are OK with the perspective of a longer working distance, you can always use focus stacking software to get everything in focus when using your d700.
    Tom M.
    PS - I hadn't yet seen your other images or read the intervening posts when I was composing my response. They demonstrate exactly what I was talking about.
    PPS -www.dof js.html is your friend in macro photography. It will allow you to do reasonably accurate estimates of your DOF for various camera / lens combinations.
  13. Howard Vrankin ,
    I was actually referring to the original poster's tank model (Dmitry) - sorry about the communication cross up guys - I do like your second shot better too!
  14. Dmitry, you are correct. P&S cameras have an incredible amount of DOF and are surprisingly excellent for the type of work you are describing, especially if you are not make large prints.
    But on the other hand, given the size of the models you would probably be better off with a different lens choice than the 60mm macro. A standard wide angle lens would probably work better.
  15. Dmitry, unfortunately going to a small sensor doesn't help here. You do get more depth of field for a given f-stop value but the range of f-stops in a compact camera is very limited. Once you are at small apertures, if you set the aperture to get the same depth of field you will be equally limited by diffraction in both formats. And the tonality from the compact camera will be far worse.
    What will help in this case is an 85mm PC or PC-E Nikkor, or a bellows with tilt & large format macro lens if you need to go to over 1:2 magnification or need more tilt than is available in the 85.
    You can also try focus stacking, which involves reconstructing a large depth of field image from a set of shallower DOF images taken at different focus distances. There are several software packages available that will do that but it isn't easy in practice.
  16. Ilkka, at base ISO, a Canon G11 has very similar dynamic and tonal range as many current DSRL cameras (but only at base ISO). The G10 lags behind the D11 in these areas but not significantly. Since the OP states he has "boatloads of light", dynamic and tonal range may be non-issues. I don't believe diffraction would be a major issue and can be somewhat avoided through careful technique.
    Dmitry, what size are the models you are shooting?
    I took this photo with a Canon IX 750 P&S (older, basic P&S). The basket is about 16" from front to back. I just pointed and shot in automatic mode with the flash firing. A G10/G11 would likely do a better job.
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    It boils down to the quality of the images you want. For low-quality results, a point and shoot should be fine, but you may still have trouble controlling the exact depth of field you want.
    Otherwise, you can try focus stacking and/or tilt/shift lenses. The T/S approach requires an expensive lens and a lot of adjustment before you capture the image. Focus stacking will require carefully shooting several images at different focuses and a lot of post processing via specialized software. You can, of couse, use both together.
    I certainly would not use something like f32 or even f22. You'll lose so much to diffraction that you'll end up with poor images from an expensive camera.
  18. try a compact "prosumer" with a largish (2/3") sensor, you may be in for a pleasant surprise.
    I have been using SLRs for closeup photography for many years -- presently using the D200 and 2 FM3A bodies with a variety of macro lenses.
    However, one of my most favorite macro rigs is my wife's Fuji S100fs, coupled with an Olympus MCON 35 or the Marumi Achromat 330 -- especially for handheld closeups.
    I love the mirrorless design with no slap and huge effective DoF vs. frame filling capability. I use the Metz 15 MS-1 wireless ring flash for fill lighting. Results at ISO 100 raw are comparable to my D200 ISO 100 raw and only slightly inferior to Velvia 50 with 200/4 AF Micro.
    BTW, yes -- I *am* picky about quality ...
    Couple results with the S100fs
  19. Just back up and crop with the D700
  20. Arnab nice macro images as always.
    How do you process your raw files from this camera. At some point I was interested in it but at the time raw processing seemed problematic. Is that solved by now? Does ACR give good conversions?
  21. Walter, I use S7Raw.
    S7Raw is targeted specifically to SuperCCD Fujifilm cameras and gives better results compared to ACR -- at par with Fuji Finepix Studio (a nice raw utility but a resource hog and snail-slow)
    You can have a sense of the huge DoF by noticing the dragonfly's wings.
  22. I have both cameras and recommend use the G10 for pictures where sharpness or picture quality is not the most important, for example Ebay photos, web-pages. For high quality, sharpness, prints the D700 is the only choice
  23. On a tripod at ISO 80 you will not get low quality results using a G10. Shoot raw and you will get a reasonably clean, well detailed, high quality photo. Those who say otherwise haven't used it. Just check DP Review's opinion on how much detail a G10 is capable of. I use mine for all my product shots when DOF is of importance. Stop down 1 or 2 stops from wide open where the lens it at it's best. That camera can make beautiful 8x10's.
  24. Those bug macro shots are REALLY amazing. However, the depth of focus is pretty shallow (see out of focus wing tips and stem in the second shot); thus it's not a proof that the concept will increase depth of focus greatly in the OP's case.
    Stepping back is the first thing you should try (while decreasing the f-stop a little for that sharpness/DOF compromise ). I've used my macro lens a great deal and the incredible sharpness lends well to enlarging and cropping so you should be able to crop and get the image you like. Before buying anything else, I would invest some time in stepping back, because I suspect that even with deeper depth of focus of the G10, you'll need to step back ...and while the sharpness of the G10 will be incredible, it won't match the large sensor and the better glass you'll have with the D700/macro lens combo....but don't trust me! see if you can rent a G10 or G11 to try....
  25. i am a photographer, and i shoot alot of weddings. my main cameras are Leica rangefinders, but I use the Canon G10 for group shots and alot of detail shots. I think that you would be very happy with the G10 to do what you want to do. You will get great DOF, and huge pixel density, for cropping if required. Good luck.
  26. The G10 has enough resolution for wedding group shots? Wow. I'm not sure I'd have the guts to stand up into front of the b&g + family with a point and shoot though!
  27. The G10 has the resolution for weddings - that does not make it the best choice. But as a G10 owner, I agree with that statement. From a professional standpoint, the smaller sensor lacks the 'vibe' of a bigger camera, and the ISO results in noisy images, or requires more lights than I want to bring. But the resolution is more than enough to shoot weddings.
    A G10 may or may not be a better choice, depending on what you need these photos for. A smaller camera, with a smaller sensor, will by design have more depth of field. In fact, I'd say that the sensor on my G10 is probably as small as it could possibly be while still allowing for some controllable DOF effects. However, the lenses and sensors on your Nikon gear will render the in-focus areas much more detailed than the G10 could, and will less aberrations and artifacts and better tonal range.
    I'd say if you were looking for web photos, I'd use the G10 for depth of field. If you need print or finely detailed close-ups (for sale or reference), then I'd use the D700 from about two feet farther away, turn the ISO down, and use a tripod with the smallest possible aperture. You could also use the G10 for the 'whole' shots, and use the D700 for detail shots.
    Lastly, from the standpoint of someone who used to paint miniatures, you might not want maximum sharpness. I was pretty darn good at making 1/32 scale miniatures, and I found that even the older 60mm micro AF on my D70 would reveal flaws in my work that I never knew existed - and were to small to correct - at maximum sharpness settings. Not only did these flaws make my miniatures look worse, but they also made them look much more like miniatures than real things. In a lot of cases, using my Tamron 28-75 f/2.8, cropped in, made my work look much better.
  28. Duplicate duplicate :)
  29. From the fuel tanks to the tip of the tube on that T-62 you are probably looking at 10 inches. No lens is going to give you front to back sharpness for a subject that time at that high a magnification ratio. I use my 55mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor consistently at f/22 and f/32 for model and smaller object photography and see none of the loss of sharpness that you describe. This photo of a Tamiya 1/35 M2A2 Bradley was taken in a light tent with a D700, 55mm f/2.8 lens and 1/250 @f/32.
    I don't think you will be happy with the G-10 over the D700. It is too limited a camera.
  30. @Teresa
    Of course everything is relative and I hope that you do not mind that I disagree and say that on the contrary for this type of macro shot the DOF in the dragonfly image is very extended.
    Do you have any example to post that you get more DOF in a similar situation? If I shoot dragonflies I often line up the wings parallel to the sensor to make best use of the shallow DOF.
    The typically very shallow DOF is the reason why some people use focus stacking software for imaging insects.
  31. I've done a lot of photos of model railroad subjects. In film days I used a 28mm preset manual focus Vivitar lens that I equipped with a homemade pinhole aperture. Got great depth of field with this setup, but the lens did not perform very well with my crop sensor Canon XSi. So I had to find another method to do extreme closeups of my modeling.

    Here's an O scale shed, about 4-3/4" by 3-1/2".
    I made the rear wall removable so I could stick my Tamron 11-18mm lens (set at 11mm) to take this photo:
    The natural depth of field of the extreme wide angle lens coupled with the f/22 aperture works fairly well for me. The immediate foreground isn't real sharp, but I could have moved back a bit to do better. I've done the same in structures half this size.
  33. Bob Boudreau, that's a truly spendid workshop model. Nicely photographed, too. I like the lighting in the interior picture.
  34. Arnab: Terrific shots, so luminous and inviting!
    Bob B: Outstanding model work -- the interior comes across as almost completely real!
  35. Bob those are really inspiring pictures of your models. the shot from the interior is fantastic. Scott your shot of the tank is also perfect. I think the G10 is not the best solution I have one and also 50D and 30D I think i would look at a solution with a different lense on the D700 and then also as suggested just backup and crop.
  36. Arnab & Bob, I just love your examples!!

    And I too am much in favour of a DSLR, for quality & control.[​IMG]
    [D300 DX-sensor camera + 20/3.5]
  37. Here's a crazy idea - modify a cheap Nikon-fit bellows for tilt and adapt a medium format lens to fit - even a 50-ish lens for 645 will have plenty of image circle. I don't think the standard tilt/shift lens will tilt enough to achieve the perspective of the shot of the tank with a horizontal plane of focus. Just an educated guess, haven't tried it.
    Lots of people use FF digital cameras with medium format lenses but usually on modified LF cameras to gain movements.
    Oh yes, been meaning to ask... what's a lensbaby? Does it offer tilt?
  38. Dmitry, the G-10 or a number of P&S cameras can do pretty amazing closeups. A small sensor has an advantage in DOF.
    If you are not getting the DOF you want, and diffraction softens the image at smaller apertures, then I've found an easy solution in focus-stacking, as others have mentioned. I find it amazing... You can manage the DOF to have it be as deep as you want. Check out Helicon Focus (a George Lepp recommendation about a year ago). Best with a tripod and macro focusing rail. Your D700 with a macro lens should do very well.
    If you want to try tilt/shift, get a PB-4 and use an enlarger lens or a 100mm bellows lens from any manufacturer. Once you extend the bellows, lens coverage is usually not a problem. Tilt/shift does a lot, but you still get only one plane of sharp focus.
  39. Getting a T/S lens will give you the ultimate control you're after. With the 1:2 macro ability, I've seen amazing things. Look at Bjorn's site for more info.

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