Depth of Field

D.O.F. or Depth of Field, What is it? Is it the distance from home plate to the center field fence? Is it the height of the wild grass in an unmowed meadow or field? No, it is none of these.

Depth of Field is a term used in photography to describe the focal distance between the nearest object and the farthest object in focus in the focal plane. Here is a simple example of how D.O.F. works. If you are standing on a street corner and you are looking down the street a sign. You notice that most everything is in focus between you and the sign, but the sign itself seem to be a bit out of focus. However, if you squint you notice that it bring more objects into focus including the sign.

Just a Sip

This happens because as we squint we close down the iris in our eyes. Just like a camera lens we can close down our aperture and create the same affect, increasing the focal distance. If you have a 50mm lens with the aperture adjustments of f2.8 to f22 the larger the number the smaller the aperture opening and the greater focal distance is created. The smaller the number the short the focal distance and the wider the aperture opening is.

Larger then Large

Keep in mind that the aperture does increase or decrease the amount of light allowed through the lens of the camera. So you will have to adjust the shutter speed to compensate, and make a properly exposed image.

If you have a point-n-shoot camera without all these adjustments, don’t fear. It is possible to achieve the same results even when you are using a point-n-shoot style digital camera. On the top or back of the camera is a dial. On that dial are many different settings represented usually with little pictures.

The mountain picture is used for taking scenic pictures. This is the setting you should use for the greater depth of field. When this setting is selected the camera knows you need the greatest focal range and will select the proper aperture and shutter speed.

For a shallower depth of field choose the picture of the flower. This is for close up photography. This setting will allow you to take a sharp picture of a subject and allow the background to be out of focus.

Give this a try, let me know how it works out for you…

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