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Author Topic: "Phlat Photos"?  (Read 1792 times)

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« on: March 28, 2008, 06:25:53 PM »

Can there be too much depth of field?
With the recent popularity of Helicon, and other software programs to increase depth of field in photographs, are some users going overboard, removing the depth of the photo, and defeating the purpose?
The cover photo on the latest issue of Model Railroader, is to me, a perfect example of too much.
The image appears flat, and , forgive me, too - two dimensional for a shot designed to show long view of trains and scenery.
(I have no information if that shot was processed with the Helicon software or some other method, and use it as reference example only, and do not want to single out any one photographer or publication.)
Items in the shot twenty or more feet away from the camera seem as much in focus as the foreground, lots of DOF, but no Depth to the image.
Are we becoming Helicon-holics?
The human eyes and brain, well mine anyway,  expect that objects that are far away to be less sharp than Objects that are up close, giving a reference for distance, and dimension.
That a freight car thirty places down the string should not as sharp in focus as the first
one, or all the distance is lost.
Heck even the air that is between would affect sharpness
The result, “phlat photos” that just seem unnatural and lacking in both depth and “atmosphere”
Do we know when to say when?
I am curious as to your thoughts.

Yampa Bob


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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2008, 10:25:40 PM »

Do you have a link to a Helicon picture?  I would be interested in seeing one, I have only heard a little about the technology.

If you were looking at , say the front of a locomotive, then the rear would be out of focus until you moved your point of focus to the rear, by the act of accomodation of the human eye.  However, if you were out in really bright light, the pupil would  contract, and depth of field is always increased with the smaller aperture.  Interesting.


« Last Edit: March 28, 2008, 10:28:37 PM by Yampa Bob » Logged

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Rule Number One: It's Our Railroad.  Rule Number Two: Refer to Rule Number One.

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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2008, 11:41:29 PM »
an animation on how it works.


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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2008, 08:34:52 PM »

I have to say, in the example shown I sort of like the effect.  It seems like a good application of the technology.

But I can certainly see where your concern comes from and I share it.  It's a little like digital music files, which allow for easier storage, sharing and protection of quality but lack a certain warmth and texture.

New Mexico Northern Railroad

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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2008, 09:39:31 AM »

How About this..

14mm lens,   2/3 size sensor,  ISO 400,   f/16 at 1/400,  =  Depth of field -  14in. to Inf.


New Mexico Northern Rail Road
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2008, 10:02:20 AM »

The are "flat" because of the lighting and not the Helicon. Most model railroads have "flat" lighting, i.e. not enough shadows. Model Railroader is famous for their "flat" photos.

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