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07-04-2015, 04:47 AM   #1
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Depth-of-field bracketing -- is there a way to do this?

I am wondering: on a K-5, is there a way to bracket depth of field (aperture) while keeping overall exposure the same? Here's what I'm looking for:

Press the shutter once, the camera takes a photo at both f/2.8 and f/4 with the same overall exposure (automatically changes shutter speed or ISO by a stop to compensate for aperture change).

Is there a way to do this?

07-04-2015, 05:05 AM   #2
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If there is I haven't figured it out. I usually shoot in AV and spin the dial after every shot, often shooting from ƒ2.8 to ƒ16 in 2 atop variations, but since most of my preferred images are not wide open, is in a hurry, I shoot ƒ5.6, ƒ8 and ƒ11. My guess is 75% of the images I select or the 3-5 images I take are in that range.
07-04-2015, 05:31 AM   #3
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Tv mode (shutter priority) with ISO set to a fixed value should do it (in bracketing mode).
07-04-2015, 05:50 AM   #4
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Just curious to know what is achieved with this? The shot with smallest aperture will have the deepest DoF and the other shots would be a subset of this one, or is there something I'm missing?

07-04-2015, 05:56 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
Tv mode (shutter priority) with ISO set to a fixed value should do it (in bracketing mode).
Yeah, this is what I thought of, but never tried it myself. Just use the bracketing mode and get +/- EV, fixed ISO (not auto, not range).
07-04-2015, 06:01 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Yeah, this is what I thought of, but never tried it myself. Just use the bracketing mode and get +/- EV, fixed ISO (not auto, not range).
It works, but you have to take some care to set the shutter and ISO to center the aperture range where you want it.
07-04-2015, 06:44 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mughal113 Quote
Just curious to know what is achieved with this? The shot with smallest aperture will have the deepest DoF and the other shots would be a subset of this one, or is there something I'm missing?
I often shoot at any different ƒ stops.... your lens is probably sharpest @ ƒ5.6, but is useable until ƒ16 and sometimes ƒ22. How your picture looks is basically a combination of sharpness and DoF, but the appearance of the out of focus area makes or breaks a lot of images.

Images taken with the Sigma 70 macro, which just happened to be on the camera.

So, no, images taken at different ƒ stops are not subsets of each other , sometimes they are completely different images, except for the subject.

IN the subject below the foremost water drop focus point

Narrowest DoF, most creamy bokeh... ƒ2.8



Sharpest Subject , acceptable bokeh... ƒ5.6


Widest DoF, objects that are out of focus at ƒ2.8 and ƒ5.6 are now in acceptable focus. Much more of the subject flower is in focus.But the back ground out of focus areas are considerably more messy. - ƒ11


Which "look" you're going for, or in my case, which images I like the most is very difficult to predict. I find when I bracket for DoF, it's not often that I anticipate what my final preference in DoF will be. I'm like Steve Jobs, show it to me and I'll pick the right one. And the scary thing is, people who don't bracket for DoF in some situations, don't even realize they are making a choice.

These images are all different and stand on their own. In no way is one a subset of the other. I can see using any of the three depending on what I was looking for.

Last edited by normhead; 07-04-2015 at 06:55 AM.
07-04-2015, 06:53 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
And the scary thing is, people who don't bracket for DoF in some situations, don't even realize they are making a choice.
Well, that's always the case. (Making a choice, not necessarily the "not realizing" it part.) You can't take EVERY possible picture.

And I just realized my suggestion earlier actually DOESN'T quite work -- it will change the aperture for each shot, but it is still exposure bracketing (i.e. the EV is +/- for each extra shot) rather than keeping the exposure the same as the OP wanted. (Sorry, still working on my first cup of coffee.)

07-04-2015, 06:59 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
Well, that's always the case. (Making a choice, not necessarily the "not realizing" it part.) You can't take EVERY possible picture.

And I just realized my suggestion earlier actually DOESN'T quite work -- it will change the aperture for each shot, but it is still exposure bracketing (i.e. the EV is +/- for each extra shot) rather than keeping the exposure the same as the OP wanted. (Sorry, still working on my first cup of coffee.)
There are lots of times when I don't have time so I make an educated guess, based on past experience. However, if that past experience isn't based on some bracketing for DoF, then it's really not based on your own preferences and shooting style, but on notions of what you think is the most useful ƒstop to shoot with. The most eye opening thing of bracketing DoF, is how often, the image you like best, isn't th image you thought you'd like best based on your preconceived notions.

Of to put it another way, "if you aren't bracketing for DOF as often as possible, you don't know nothin"
It's part of the learning curve.
07-04-2015, 07:13 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Of to put it another way, "if you aren't bracketing for DOF as often as possible, you don't know nothin"
It's part of the learning curve.
Yes, sure. Same with everything else though -- all comes with experience. We should also "compositionally bracket" and "angle bracket" and "perspective bracket" and "focal length bracket", etc etc. Most people "subject bracket" and should spend more time sub-bracketing! Or not. There are many paths...
07-04-2015, 07:58 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
Yes, sure. Same with everything else though -- all comes with experience. We should also "compositionally bracket" and "angle bracket" and "perspective bracket" and "focal length bracket", etc etc. Most people "subject bracket" and should spend more time sub-bracketing! Or not. There are many paths...
And taking the time to explore that stuff is why you go to school, where in your assignments you do every imaginable kind of bracketing at least once, but to do it all right would be full time for a year at least, motivated with no distractions and working 8 hours a day. But who can do that? Even us retired guys have things to look after.

Last edited by normhead; 07-04-2015 at 08:27 AM.
07-04-2015, 08:13 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
And taking the time to explore that stuff is why you go to school, where in your assignments you do every imaginable kind of bracketing at least once, but to do it all right would be full time for a year at least, motivated with no distractions and working 8 hours a day. But who can do that? Even us returned guys have things to look after.
Yep. Except for that one guy in every class who is just naturally brilliant and whose work actually suffers from thinking about things too much. (At least, at first, so this road is usually never taken.)

There are the theorists/plodders (most of us, who have to be taught and learn through experience and often drudgery) and if successful, often only because of the sheer amount of trial and error involved. (Then they might be said to graduate to be "craftsmen"). Then there are the gifted artists who just seem to know how to make good work without effort (up to a point) but have nothing much to say about it in terms of theory or technology. Ironically their work usually plateaus or has certain blindspots that are never addressed because they don't care much for learning through drudgery and would rather just do what they do or go do something else. (But put them around a bunch of beginning plodders, and they look like geniuses.) And then the very rare true geniuses who are both, that can make brilliant, surprising work and also understand why. And they can take things to previously unimagined places by making intelligent and conscious artistic choices that a most artists couldn't think of (or "feel" of, as artists do) and most craftsmen couldn't pull off.
07-04-2015, 09:14 AM   #13
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Is the op hoping to stack the exposures?
07-04-2015, 09:42 AM   #14
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Doesn't stacking usually involve changing the focus point, not the DoF?
07-04-2015, 10:28 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mikesul Quote
Is the op hoping to stack the exposures?
Nope. I'm going to be shooting some portraits, and would like shallow DOF (f/2.8) but would also like to have a back-up shot at maybe f/4 as insurance against inperfect focus. Bascially I want shallow DOF but need a sharp subject, and am trying to hedge my bets.
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