Shooting Large DoF with InfiniProbe lenses

A considerable effort is given to creating a shallow depth of field (DoF) in order to create a more cinematographic look, enabling the cinematographer to guide the viewer to concentrate ONLY on the small areas of sharp focus. However, there are occasions when it is preferable for the viewer to be able to see focussed images over a great range, so this is a short treatment of methods to creating a large DoF.

There is a considerable amount of material to describe the relationship of sensor size, focus length and iris in order to manipulate the DoF for conventional lenses, so I shall not dwell on this. See Beginner’s Guide to Depth of Field.

Why not use just conventional lenses with the a really small iris?

This is a very good question and one which I wasn’t able to answer until I actually tried it.

As cinematographers, we like to use /f stops so that depth of field is predictable and whilst those rules apply with regular macro lenses and borescope probe macro lenses (like the Laowa 24mm probe lens), Nelsoniantm lenses seem to work differently, as you can see from the images produced.

My experience was that I compared shots taken with a 100mm macro and the InfinProbe/HM micro (also 100mm equvalent) and found that the same field of view, allowed a wider depth of field with the InfiniProbe. I used as much light as I could to ensure that the macro worked at the smallest iris setting possible (F22), yet the InfiniProbe combination consistently made images with more DoF. The images below tell the story.

So using conventional lenses have a limit as to what depth of field is possible due to the conventional laws of optics. The InfiniProbe TS160 lens made by Infinity Photo-Optical lenses is different, as it is designed using microscope techniques to create unique images, using a 2 path optical process which increases magnification, producing shots not possible using traditional optics and which require different shooting techniques to achieve the best results.

I shot the above images during lockdown in 2020 and several cinematographers have told me that the image on the left, shot with the TS160 is slightly soft and they wanted to see a larger image. This is a fair observation and I agree that it does not reflect the true capability of this lens system, so I was sent these images from Jay Margolis, the President of Infinity Photo-Optical of some images taken by DP/Cinematographer Nicholas Desciose, which shows this much more clearly.

[Need to know EXACTLY what elements were used in these images please].

Click on the images to see a 4K version.

Image Credit: Nicholas Desciose

What makes these images particularly interesting is that they were captured in Full Frame, using a Sony a7 Mk III at 800 ISO, fitted with a TS-160 lens system with SFX-2. [more info please – I have your images labelled as 24mm and 85mm).

Both of the above images were shot with a Sony A7S Mk III using an InfiniProbe TS160 system with 24mm and 85mm lenses (?). These are scaled versions but clicking on the images will take you to 4K resolution versions.

Some tech data:  The blues are BLUE;  the reds are red due to the exceptional MTFs. (more info required)

One thing that derives from being diffraction limited is the contrast obtained. (More info required).


It is easy to create a wide depth of field with conventional lenses but if you want to take this to a new level and achieve a spectacularly large depth of field, then consider using lenses built on Nelsonian Optics such as the TS160 InfiniProbe.

You may be interested in the VMI articles: Manipulating Perspective and Depth of Field using Nelsonian Optics

The fundamentals of Macro/Micro imaging

Using Nelsonian Micro Lenses

These were all written by me to write a white paper on Macro and Micro Cinematography, which turned into a major piece of work which won the Nelsonian Award back in 2020!

Barry Bassett, January 2023

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