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How can I get more depth of field for macro photography with a smartphone (Huawei Honor 8) camera?

I am trying to do some macro photography work using my smart phone and a custom-made macro lens. My question is how can I get more depth of field being close to the subject?

Since I am already shooting macros with my DSLR, I know the concept of depth of field and how it works with aperture. And I already asked: Can I change the camera aperture value on my Honor 8 phone?

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As you know, the zone of acceptable sharpness extents fore and aft of the point focused upon. This zone called depth-of-field expands as the subject distance increases. Contrariwise, this zone shrinks as you move in closer. Depth-of-field expands as the aperture (working diameter) of the lens is reduced. In other words, the smaller the lens diameter, the greater will be the depth-of-field.

The problem with phone cameras, they are made to be simplistic as operator input. As a result your control over aperture is scant. A workaround possibility is to affix a cover up mask over the lens. I suggest cutting out some disks of aluminum foil with a hole punch. You easily affix one over the lens using double stick cellophane tape.

Now a pin-hole can serve as a substitute for a lens. Surely you have heard about pin-hole cameras. An advantage of the pin-hole camera is, depth-of-field is limitless. Sounds good but there is a snag. The pin-hole system is substandard to the lens when it comes to image acuity. You can experiment piercing the aluminum foil with different size sewing needles. Such a scheme will work just fine because the lens is invalidated when overlaid by a pin-hole.

This will work but you must experiment to find the best pin-hole diameter for your needs. Too small and too much light will be blocked making photography impossible. Too small and twin demons of diffraction and interference degrade the image. Too big and the pin-hole becomes insufficient and is thus rendered moot.

Try this pin-hole gadgetry, it might work for you!

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Since you have a fixed aperture (common on smartphone cameras), the other two parameters you have that you can adjust for depth of field are focal length (negative correlation - shorter focal length / wider angle gives greater depth of field) and focus distance (positive correlation - greater distance to subject gives greater depth of field). Since both of those parameters actually reduce magnification while increasing depth of field, I suspect (pseudo-)macro shots with great depth of field (especially true macro, with a magnification of 1:1 or greater) are going to be difficult to impossible, even with the custom adapter.

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The same way you do it with an ILC using a macro lens stopped all the way down that still gives very shallow depth of field: You use [focus-stacking].

  • Are there any Android apps to do focus stacking? – vclaw Jun 15 '18 at 12:12
  • @vclaw Apps for capturing images or apps for combining them? Both are probably covered in the list of [focus-stacking] questions. – Michael C Jun 15 '18 at 12:29
  • I've had a look, but can't see anything relevant on those questions. There are several mentions of apps to control another camera, but none for focus stacking using a phone camera. – vclaw Jun 15 '18 at 15:25
  • Then do it the old fashioned way. Take images manually while adjusting the position of the camera by changing the distance using the focus rail to which it is attached. No built -in phone app is going to move the phone towards/away from the subject for you. Then combine the images manually using any image stacking program that will run on any one of the following: a desktop, a notebook, a tablet, or an Android platform. – Michael C Jun 16 '18 at 1:22

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