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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Focus with a set aperture


For the exercise my ‘scene’ was made up by placing 3 small pewter characters from the ‘Popeye’ cartoons in a line and equal distance from each other (approx 12inches apart). I used a ‘fixed’ lens focal length of 50mm with the widest aperture that I could, f/1.8 onto a white background, then set my camera at a slight angle from the line of ‘characters’ on a tripod for stability. ISO was manually set to 100 throughout the exercise.

I set the scene close to a large window with the characters facing it; (therefore light was coming from behind the camera) the light was dull and overcast, although the white background reflected some of the light back onto the scene.

I kept the camera settings and position throughout the exercise and left the camera to set the shutter speed for the correct exposure. 

In Image 1 Swee’Pea was the focus point. I notices the Brutus (Middle) was out of focus, and Popeye (Furthest) was so much more out focus he could hardly be made out at all. I felt that the depth of view was very shallow, (I felt that image 3 was less shallow though).

50mm f/1.8 1/30 sec

In Image 2 Brutus was the focus point. This caused both Swee’Pea (Nearest) and Popeye to be both out of focus; I felt although that this ‘soft’ (un-)focus was similar between the two, but in my eye Popeye was ever so slightly ‘more’ in focus that Swee’Pea is.

50mm f/1.8 1/30 sec

In Image 3 Popeye was the focus point. This was interesting; Brutus was out of focus and Swee’Pea was more out of focus than in image 2. However Brutus was slightly more focused than he was in image 1. I felt although the depth of view was still shallow, I felt it was less so than in image 1.

50mm f/1.8 1/30 sec

I enjoyed the exercise and although not as clear as it could be due to the subject I found that that the further away the focus point the more depth of the scene will be more focused; at least for a set aperture and keeping same focal length. I hopefully will be able to try this again to test this further.


In terms of which image I preferred it would have to be image 1; I like the off centre position of the focal point. I find my eye is drawn to it immediately and the depth created by Brutus and Popeye from left to right, increasingly out of focus gives a nice context and balance.

However just for fun I thought I would ‘reverse’ the image to see how the focus point would work on the right…

I still think image 1. How about next together for easy comparison?

For me, my eyes seem finds it easier to scan from left to right. There maybe other reasons why I prefer it, but not got that far in the course notes yet! I will post the images to flickr for comments . Any comments from that or direct to this log will be added to the log.

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