Limited depth of field is an important consideration in macro photography. Depth of field is extremely small when focusing on close objects. A small aperture (high f-number) is often required to produce acceptable sharpness across a three-dimensional subject. This requires either a slow shutter speed, brilliant lighting, or a high ISO. Auxiliary lighting (such as from a flash unit), preferably a ring flash is often used (see Lighting section).
Like conventional lenses, macro lenses need light, and ideally would provide similar f/# to conventional lenses to provide similar exposure times. Macro lenses also have similar focal lengths, so the entrance pupil diameter is comparable to that of conventional lenses (e.g., a 100 mm f/2.8 lens has a 100 mm/2.8 = 35.7 mm entrance-pupil diameter). Because they focus at close subjects, the cone of light from a subject point to the entrance pupil is relatively obtuse (a relatively high subject numerical aperture to use microscopy terms), making the depth of field extraordinarily small.
This makes it essential to focus critically on the most important part of the subject, as elements that are even a millimetre closer or farther from the focal plane might be noticeably blurred. Due to this, the use of a microscope stage is highly recommended for precise focus with large magnification such as photographing skin cells. Alternatively, more shots of the same subject can be made with slightly different focusing lengths and joined afterwards with specialized focus stacking software which picks out the sharpest parts of every image, artificially increasing depth of field.
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