Saturday, August 4, 2007

MPE-65 Aperture Settings

Violet Darter series 2007_8-6
Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
After some experimenting on my own, reading an excellent review on the MPE-65 at Juza Nature Photography, and more experimenting using his “In Case of Emergency” setting here are my aperture settings for the MPE-65mm macro lens:

1x and F16 –tack sharp. I’m usually at F14 just because I have a habit of changing back and forth between 1x and 2x and I don’t want to have to mess with changing the aperture.

2x and F14 –but F11 is better. If I’m shooting between 2x and 3x I’ll set the lens to F11 at 2x and leave it.

3x and F11 –sharp enough but F8 is better. I don’t mind trading a little image sharpness for a little more depth of field.

4x to 5x and F8 –but F5.6 is sharper. At F8 I’m getting acceptable image quality. The image with this post was shot at 5x and F8 and the only reason the nose is a little soft is that it’s not in the plane of sharp focus –the depth of field is just too thin at 5x. Stopping the lens down just makes the entire image uniformly soft…

Update 28 November 2007: After a productive summer of experimenting with shooting at high magnification and high Fstops it seem that the MPE-65 performs pretty good at F14 above twice life size. For some odd reason F16 is noticeably softer, and I think it might be something as simple as a focusing issue within the lens itself. Some lenses perform better at certain apertures than others, and the MPE's "sweet spot" seems to be around F11 to F14. Now I'm not saying that you won't see diffraction softening -so put down the flame thrower ;) But if you need more depth of field at high magnification then try F14. You might be pleasantly surprised...
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