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Need Help with studio question...

Discussion in 'Studio Equipment and Lighting' started by galladanb, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. Hi Everyone!

    In my garage based studio, I shoot with 5 AB400's, all in softboxes or grids.

    I can not seem to turn them down low enough to get a wide aperture for shallow DOF.

    I typically have to shoot around F5.6 plus or minus a half stop.

    What I thought about doing is to order a 2 stop ND filter, and shoot thru that.

    I use the D200 and the 28-70 F2.8, so I should be able to get some very shallow DOF, right?

    What do you think about that plan?
  2. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    You can also put ND's on the lights - AB sell them.
  3. You'll be able to get some background blurring at f/2.8, but the sweet spot of the 28-70 doesn't kick in until f/4.
  4. Hey Thx for the input guys!!!

    Just a couple of questions...

    How do I use the gels in the softboxes? R U suggesting a large sheet of it for the opening? The regular reflector comes off when the softbox goes on...

    And Uncle Frank, I'm not sure that F4 would yield a lot more DOF than F5.6 right?
    Wouldn't F2.8 be even more???

    BTW, My subject to background is already at 5 ft, and the drops are still too sharp for me. I have seen shots where the drops are really OOF, and I assumed that was due to a very shallow DOF...

    Unless I'm missing something????
  5. Yes, but the 28-70 doesn't render its best image quality until you get to f/4, so it's a trade off. What's more important to you... image quality or background blur?

    The distance to the background is only one part of the equation. Holding it at 5 feet, the closer you are to your subject, the greater the background will be blurred. Take this closeup, shot at f/11, as an example. The background wasn't very far away, but I was very close to the subject.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    You may find the depth of field calculator to be useful in figuring out your best setup.

  6. Phillip Ino

    Phillip Ino

    Nov 26, 2007
    I suppose shooting with less than 5 lights is out of the question??
  7. Phillip Ino

    Phillip Ino

    Nov 26, 2007
  8. What colour are your walls?

    Could it be possible to move the light sources further away and bounce them off your walls? Or will this lose your effect?
  9. Again, Thx so much for the input everybody.

    Well, here is what I'm going to try for now...

    The gels seem to be a good idea, but may not work for me.

    B&H had a 77MM 2xND for 45.00 bucks shipped to me.
    I need one anyway for waterfalls, secenics etc... so,
    That is the way I will go for now...

    Frank, I trust your wise counsel! What you say always seems to be
    good advice, so I will also try to move in closer, and see where the
    backdrop falls OOF for me...

    And just so everybody is clear here of my process, I usually meter
    for the main light, and all of the other lights, whether I use 2 or 10,
    are adjusted for the Main light to get the correct ratio.

    PLEASE do not confuse the number of lights that I may or may not use
    to be the problem. I am only looking for OOF background while here in
    my garage studio.

    And yes I will post some pics in a couple of days when the ND gets here.
    And I will show both the old way and with the 2xND...

    I apoligize, but I really don't have good example of what I am trying to avoid. Sorry.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2008

  10. Thx, Phil, but lighting of the background is not really the issue, the background just is a little too crisp for me at F5.6, if that makes sense...?
  11. Frank, I see what you mean about the subject to lens being more of a control than the
    subject to background. I will definitely try to move in a little closer...

    Also, I Checked out that DOF page, it is pretty cool! And so I guess what I'm seeing is
    that while my background is technically beyond the far limits, it still shows or presents
    too much clarity to be as soft as I want it.

    See, back in 1972 when I used the Nikkormat and the 105 F2.5, I got what I wanted,
    Razor sharp subject and OOF background. So, now, I'm trying to bring back that style
    while in the studio. I hope that makes sense?
  12. Well Both actually... I guess, I want the best of both, Quality and a
    Shallow DOF!!!

    Again, Thx to everyone for their responses.!!!!
  13. Then you need a fast lens. Try an 85/1.4, 50/1.4, or 35/2.
  14. OK, Let me ask the question a different way...

    If I use a 2x Nuetral Density filter and my normal exposure is F5.6, what will my new apeture be?

    Will it be F2.8?
  15. I believe the correct name would be an ND2 filter. If iso and shutter speed were locked in, it would require you open your aperture by 2 f/stops to get the same exposure. That means a composition you metered at f/5.6 would require f/2.8 if you use an ND2.
  16. Ok. That confirms what I had in mind.

    Like I said, I will shoot an image my old way,
    and then move in a little closer,
    and some with the "ND2",
    and then post them for you all to see...

    The Brown truck from B&H arrives late Thrusday... Wou WHO!!!

    And Again, Thx Everybody for the help!!!!
  17. What I was referring to is if you have nice white walls, you could fire your softboxes off the wall behind you, your lightsource would be considerably bigger giving softer light and you would lose quite a bit too.
  18. OK, now I have some test shots.

    I am still undecided about all of this.
    My testing did not help me make up my mind.

    Anyway Here are my test images, all ISO @ 100, all SOOC,
    only resized to 250PX wide.

    #1 F5.6 @ 70MM (Kinda my normal shooting method)
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    #4 F5.6 @ 50MM (Just shooting closer as Frank suggested)
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    #5 F2.8 @ 48MM (Just shooting closer as Frank suggested, with ND2)
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    #6 F2.8 @ 28MM (Just shooting closer as Frank suggested, With ND2)
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    #7 F5.6 @ 28MM (Just shooting closer as Frank suggested)
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    I might say that the images taken with the ND2 and at F2.8 do
    have a somewhat softer background, just not as much as I wanted.

    Also, below is a sample like I might serve up as a finished product.
    Although the background went soft enough like I wanted it to,
    I don't have an answer here.

    This image taken in same setting as above, only moments later.
    F2.8 @ 40MM

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  19. Aha, you finally got close enough :biggrin:.

    But the subject's not rendered very crisply. My theory is that once you used the nd2 filter, you were able to open the aperture to f/2.8... and moved out of the sweet spot for the 28-70/2.8.

    I'll bet if you try the exact same setup without the ND filter, your results at f/4 will be much better... and you'll still blur the background.
  20. OK, Thanks Frank.

    But see therein lies the question.

    If I shoot at F4, When it should be F5.6 to get the correct exposures, I will be overexposed by a full stop, RIGHT?

    And I don't want to have to post process all my exposure that way...

    And remember, I can not dial the lights down any further, they are already
    at around 10% on the power sliders...
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