5 things to better understand depth of field.

5 things to better understand depth of field.

Depth of filed is the area of focus in a photograph. It can also be defined as the distance between the nearest and the farthest object in a photographs that appear razor sharp.

Depth of field

A while ago depth of field for me was only about aperture but with research and experiment I have come to realize that it can be determined by other factors such as focal length , distance etc . In this post today I will be talking about 5 things that has helped me understand and use the concept of depth of field.


1. shallow depth of field and deeper depth of field

Lets start with the term we use In photography world. Shallow depth of field and deeper depth of field.
When there is a small area in focus in a photograph it is shallow depth of field. A good example would be a completely blurred background.

shallow depth of field

And when there is a large are in focus it is deeper  depth of field. A good example would be  landscape

deeper depth of field lumbini

           Shallow depth of field = small area in focus

Deeper depth of field = large area in focus

2. Aperture

Aperture is the diameter of the lens opening. The larger the opening of the lens (say f2) smaller the area of focus. And Smaller the opening of the lens (say f22) larger the area of focus and deeper the depth of filed. You may get confused with the reverse order but in terms of aperture f2.8 is larger compared to f 4 and similarly f4 is larger than f5.6 and so on. The pictures below will help you understand clearly.


3. Focal length

The longer the focal length , the more shallow the depth of field will be at given aperture. If you are shooting with 300 mm at f5.6 and 50 mm at f5.6 what do you think the outcome will be. The picture you shot with 300 mm will have shallower depth of field  as compared to the picture you shot with 50mm. focal length

4. Distance

The closer you are to your subject shallower your depth of field will be. The less distance between  the camera to the subject helps to achieve shallow depth of field

A very good example would be , a landscape photo would have deeper DOF where as a macro photos has shallower DOF since the subject and the camera is real close.
camera and subject distance
The further your subject is from the background the blurrier the background becomes. In other words, the distance between your subject and the background determines how blurred your background will turn out.
camera subejct background distance

5.  Sensor size
Another confusing topic among photographers is does sensor size effect the depth of filed ? No! is it does not . Because your sensor is something that stays behind your lens and it does not change what is happening in the lens. You will achieve the same depth of field unless you move the camera to maintain the same field of view . And when you move the camera or the subject, the distance changes and with a change in distance depth of field also changes.

I hope that this article has been helpful , if there is anything else you guys need help with or want to share or suggest please feel free to comment below.

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About author

Anup Ghimire
Anup Ghimire 60 posts

Anup ghimire is a self learned Photographer/Designer and recently graduated in multimedia technologies from London metropolitan university.Traveling is something he loves the most after photography. You can see some of his photos at his facebook photography page https://www.facebook.com/intomyviewfinder

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