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I'm trying to get into product photography and took some fun shots. I'm talking about shots of my iPhone and things like that.

What I quickly realize is that I am unable to get enough DOF. I'm using a FF camera with a 135mm lens. Shooting at f/8.

It's obviously fine if I take the shot straight on, but as soon as I take the shot from an angle, either the front of the phone was in focus or the back, but not the whole thing.

I then went online and did some quick DOF calculator. Turns out when I am shooting at around 2 feet away, I am only getting 0.04 feet of DOF. Which is tiny, even for a small object like an iPhone.

So my question is how do I solve this? I could change the focal length but I'm not sure that will help since I will be adjusting the subject distance accordingly?

It seemed like using a point and shoot is much better at doing this job than a FF DSLR.

  • why not get a lens that will do the job? Or there is none like that for you? Something like 200mm f/4? – aaaaaa May 10 '15 at 15:24
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You are right. A shorter focal-length has more depth of field but this will get reduced by having to stand closer. Unless you crop, the depth-of-field for equal framing will remain almost the same. I made exact calculations when shopping for a macro lens this fell within 0.1% difference.

You are left with closing down the aperture. F/8 is sharp and very safe but things will stay sharp for a few more stops down, until you reach the diffraction-limit. F/11 or F/13 is safe on most DSLRs. Again, this is dependent on the exact model.

Many product photographers use a tilt-shift lens which is costly. On the other hand, a smaller sensor is a great way to go if you do not need very large prints. You should be shooting from a tripod anyway, so can use the lowest ISO possible to maximize image-quality. For my part, I settled on an ultra-zoom for product photography which appears on my websites. It's an easy choice, considering the resolution is not really needed and at F/11 on small sensor, depth-of-field is quite extensive.

  • You are right about the smaller sensor. But mentioned above phone have too small sensor and (as far as i know) can't shoot RAW :) – Romeo Ninov May 10 '15 at 15:15
  • small sensor & small aperture = diffraction will eat your resolution – aaaaaa May 10 '15 at 15:18
  • Right, small sensors have a lower diffraction limit which is why most compacts max out at F/8. Some have slightly larger sensors and offer F/11 which maintains sharpness reasonably. – Itai May 10 '15 at 20:04

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