Dragon without depth

Oops, I did it again! Yes, this is another of my “Don’t do as I did” posts.

I ventured out to the Melbourne Zoo with the A7RV camera and the 135 f/1.8 GM lens. The temperature was low 20s Celsius, but there weren’t many clouds around, so we got some nice bright light (and the hard shadows in this shot testify to that). Although the image looks monochrome, it’s colour – the stone and the dragon just aren’t colourful.

Click on the image below to see it larger.

This image was shot at f/4 1/2000 ISO 640, and cropped from 9504 x 6336 down to 5228×5228. You can see that the A7RV found the dragon’s eye and focused on it, but I made the mistake of thinking f/4 would give me sufficient depth of field. I’d leaned into the shot because the water dragon was posing so beautifully in the sunshine, and as you can see the dragon’s head is beautifully clear and sharp, but the body and tail are not.

When you are aiming to get the whole of an animal (or human!) in focus, remember that you can increase your depth of field by choosing a smaller aperture (like f/8), or stepping back and using a longer focal length (on a zoom), or cropping more (on a prime).

Of course, you do have another option: claiming that it was a deliberate artistic decision to emphasise the head and eyes (and modern eye AF will help make that a credible claim). I’ve chosen to describe this as a mistake, but you know what? I am not unhappy with this image. I just would have liked to see the rear leg and toes inside the depth of field, because the dragon has unusual rear toes.