Calibrate Lens DoF

I have struggled with depth of field (DoF) when taking macro pictures. Macro lenses have a notoriously shallow depth of field. When taking a macro shot it often looks great on the little LCD screen on your camera. I often try to enlarge the picture right after taking it to check sharpness. But often when I load the images on my computer I am disappointed with the quality.

I took this picture for the April 8, 2017 photo challenge on the subject “Macro”. At first glance it looked great on the camera LCD screen, yet the antennea are fuzzy. The snail was only 2 to 3 cm long. I did not have my tripod ready, and the lighting was not bright enough for a small aperture and reasonable time exposure. So I winged it while I had the chance. The snail moved off the leaf surprisingly fast!

To get a better feel for Depth of Field of different lenses, I did some research on how to test lenses for Depth of Field, and found this great, free template on the internet. You can print it on a standard 8 1/2 x 11″ sheet of paper, glue it on self-adhesive foam core board, and assemble it within an hour.

Click here for the link to the internet article with full assembly instructions

Here are the results for my 100 mm macro lens 40 cm from the target at an aperture of f/2.8. Note that the Depth of Field is only 1 cm.

This cheap tool is also great for calibrating the Autofocus of your camera.