Focal depth (with a 5D mark II)

First of all, the Canon 5DMII is a beast of a camera. And its buttons have different functions in different camera states. So here is what I learned about changing the 3 Big Ones (ISO, shutter speed, focal depth):

ISO: Offers you much too high ISO. Don’t go above 1600 folks, it just isn’t worth it.

Shutter speed: you can scroll the wheel to get to 1/30s, but you have to go to the info screen to select longer times.

F-stop: What the hell? This one is hard to get at, for no good reason. It is on one of the INFO screens. But not one you can access while you have live view up. Why?!

You have to switch to print mode (the lever to the left of the optical viewfinder, a camera and a printer). Then select Info. Then hit Select to highlight the first box, shutter speed, then go sideways to F-Stop. Now you can finally scroll through the setting. This is also a good place to adjust the shutter speed, increasing it by 100% for every stop. Now switch the lever back to Camera and go back to shooting.

You should be encouraged to change focal depth before shutter speed or ISO, because it is the major light limiting factor in the first place. If I leave the camera at F11 and I am trying to do indoor photography without a tripod, what am I supposed to do? Set up can lights? I could just switch it to F2.8 and it would probably be fine.

So here are some photos, yay. Let’s go narrow range to wide range focal depth, and watch the exposure changes. Keep an eye on the pipes on the ceiling (Upper right), they change most clearly. All photos taken at ISO 100, on a tripod.

I think the first one looks the best, I want you to focus on the flowers and ignore the clutter in the background.

I increased the exposure several times more than the F-stop, so it is overexposed

This is correctly exposed: doubled exposure time for the one F-stop click increase

Jumped up focal depth a lot

Max focal depth, a 6 second exposure required. I don’t like the way it looks now, too much is in focus, the whole thing is a mess.


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