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What Is The Depth Of Field In Photography

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Depth of field is an important concept to understand in photography that describes how much of your paradigm is in focus. In this article, I’ll be discussing what it is and how to attain sure looks with your photographic camera settings and lenses.

Depth of field in photography is simply a phrase for describing
how much of an prototype is in focus. The lens, discontinuity, and focus bespeak in your scene all combine to decide exactly how much is focused, and how much is blurred.

Endeavour thinking of depth of field as a literal front-to-back section of your scene that is in focus. As you lot modify the aperture, the section gets wider and wider. If the in-focus department is actually deep, it’s considered a wide depth of field. If that section is really small, it’s considered a narrow depth of field.

In the instance, I positioned my camera and lens, angled downward, at a ruler (Fujifilm X-T3, 60mm macro lens, with the focus point fourteen-inches from the front of the lens element). You lot can see as the discontinuity gets smaller, the area of focus increases.

Wide depth of field

An example of a wide depth of field.
An instance of a wide depth of field. f/11.0, 0.8s, ISO 100, 24mm lens

A broad (or nifty) depth of field is when a big portion (or all) of your image is in focus. Typically y’all will see very few out of focus areas in an image that is considered to take a wide depth of field. Here are some ways to help create a wide depth of field in your photographs:

  • Use a
    small aperture
    (such as f/xi, f/16, etc.)
  • Use a
    wider lens
    (18mm, 24mm, etc.)
  • Implement hyperfocal distance into your photographs

Go along in mind that most lenses have a “sugariness spot” aperture, so even if you apply the widest aperture setting on your lens, the scene might look a bit fuzzy. It’s best to research this with your specific lens to make certain you are working with the all-time settings for your gear.

Narrow depth of field

A narrow (or small) depth of field when a minor part of your image is in focus, and will commonly give you a
blurred background. Apertures such every bit f/two.eight, f/4 so on volition aid accomplish this effect. Hither are another ways to help create a narrow depth of field in your photographs:

  • Set a
    wide aperture
    (such equally f/1.2, f/2.8, etc.)
  • Use a
    long lens
    (80mm, 100mm and up)
  • Position the bailiwick
    far abroad from its background

Some things to go along in mind with a narrow depth of field that you can sometimes have too picayune area in focus. A skillful example is when photographing a close-upward portrait and you desire to have the person’s eyes and nose in focus. Yous need to make sure that the depth of field is non besides narrow or you will end up blurring too much of their face.

Focal length and depth of field

Lens compression example.

Another consideration for creating a sure look when using depth of field is your lens’s focal length. When using a wide-angle lens, y’all are more than likely to accept a wider depth of field, regardless of your aperture setting. And, when using a longer lens, you volition typically go a blurred background, even with smaller apertures.

A combination of both discontinuity and focal length will as well help amplify the effect yous wish to achieve. For instance, if you want to have an extremely blurred background, attempt using a long lens with a broad discontinuity. Using a long lens will also assistance to compress your groundwork, which makes the background announced closer to the bailiwick than if it were photographed with a wider lens, and is a smashing way to accomplish a blurred-background look without having to drib your aperture super low.

Hyperfocal altitude

You might have besides heard of the phrase “hyperfocal distance,” which is a common term used in landscape photography. Hyperfocal distance describes a point in your frame that, when focused on, the balance of the scene is also in focus. Determining this specific balance of your lens, aperture, and focal point involves a bit of math, but thankfully, there are apps and resources to assist you.

Without getting too technical, if you’d like to achieve hyperfocal distance without doing math or looking at a chart, an easy fashion to set this in-camera is to focus on a point that is approximately one-third of the way into your scene (this works best with broad-angle setups). And so you can check focus in your image preview to brand sure you’re getting the look you want to accomplish.

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