landscape photo and large aperture

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Greyt Escape's Avatar
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    landscape photo and large aperture

    Went on a bike ride with my new 50mm 1.7 manual focus lens yesterday. I was trying take some pics of the ICW and ocean front homes, but they were all blurry. It took me a little bit to realize it was probably because I had the aperture wide open from taking pictures at my house. Sure enough raised the aperature and the picture was better. Is this a result of the same process that creates bokeh? Wide open lens quickly does not let it focus the distant objects right? What would the minimum number I would want to put it at. All of my other lenses can only go down to 3.5 so I've never had this problem.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Anclote Key's Avatar
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    Higher the better for landscape assuming you don't want foreground blurr.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member WaterEngineer's Avatar
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    The lower the f-stop number the better the chance of getting the foreground and background out of focus.

    I agree with the statement above about using larger f-stop numbers, thus creating a deeper in focus depth of field.

    Said another way, the lower the f-stop number the shallower the in focus depth of field.

    And to say it even a different way, yet, the beautiful bokeh you state, is a result of very low f-stop numbers or a great distance from the subject to the background.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Cane Pole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greyt Escape View Post
    Went on a bike ride with my new 50mm 1.7 manual focus lens yesterday. I was trying take some pics of the ICW and ocean front homes, but they were all blurry. It took me a little bit to realize it was probably because I had the aperture wide open from taking pictures at my house. Sure enough raised the aperature and the picture was better. Is this a result of the same process that creates bokeh? Wide open lens quickly does not let it focus the distant objects right? What would the minimum number I would want to put it at. All of my other lenses can only go down to 3.5 so I've never had this problem.
    With a 50 you should be able to get large landscapes all in focus, unless a something really close was distracting your focus.

    Sounds like slow shutter speed (camera movement) issues.
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  5. #5
    Moderator Flash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greyt Escape View Post
    Went on a bike ride with my new 50mm 1.7 manual focus lens yesterday. I was trying take some pics of the ICW and ocean front homes, but they were all blurry. It took me a little bit to realize it was probably because I had the aperture wide open from taking pictures at my house. Sure enough raised the aperature and the picture was better. Is this a result of the same process that creates bokeh? Wide open lens quickly does not let it focus the distant objects right? What would the minimum number I would want to put it at. All of my other lenses can only go down to 3.5 so I've never had this problem.
    Using a lens that has only a 3.5 fstop will not give you good bokeh. You really need to get into the 2.8 and lower apertures to see it.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Just remember, if only the foreground or background is in focus, it is probably due to aperture choice. If all of the photo is blurry, you probably had camera movement due to slow shutter speed.
    What remains in focus is your "depth of field" and it will vary depending on your aperture selection and lens choice. A Wide Angle lens will give you significantly more "depth of field" than a moderate Tele-photo Zoom.
    Last edited by Flash; 04-10-2012 at 09:11 AM.


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  6. #6
    Senior Member PP1's Avatar
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    Here are some examples of what they are talking about.

    Low F stop #'s, Shallow depth of field
    Focus was on her right eye, notice how it gets blurry fast when you start to move away from that plane


    Same deal


    High F stop #'s, most everything in focus
    The pile right next to me and boats further down the canal are in focus


    All the rocks and moss in focus, the water is blurred because it was moving and this had a long exposure time.


    The above are at the extreme ends of the spectrum with probably f/1.8 in the first 2 and f/22 in the last 2.

    For Landscape photos with that lens I would think you would want to start at an f/8, but I am sure someone here can give you a better starting point if there is one.

    Here is another example from wikipedia:

    Comparison of f/32 (top-left corner) and f/5 (bottom-right corner
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  7. #7
    Moderator Flash's Avatar
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is a landscape using a wide angle lens and a method called Hyper Focal. Unfortunately most digital lenses did away with the hash marks on the lens that related to F stops. When set up properly the entire image can be in focus. Notice the ground with the rocks and pebble are quite sharp as is the Mountain which was quite far away.

    This is actually a scanned print as I took this with a 645 Mamiya film camera.


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