Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Fix - Focus and DOF

I originally shared this tutorial January 2011 (FNA Photography was my original photography blog name). 

I have been thinking about writing a tutorial on this for a little while because I notice fairly often that people have yet to understand DOF (depth of field) and struggle to keep their subject(s) sharp. If you don’t understand aperture or what f/stops are – read here.

The term "Depth of Field" describes the range in a photograph, from near to far, that appears to be in focus. The more a lens is stopped down (higher number), the more depth of field there will be. Here are two posts on DOF that I really like – here and hereThis one explains the relationship between DOF, aperture and shutter speed.

First, let’s look at some examples of what I’m talking about…in the first series I was focusing on the cowboys head and the horses mane. All of these are SOOC shot with my 50mm f/1.4 at 3:30pm on a gray day with not much light coming in from the windows behind it. I stood approximately 2 ft away from the toy.


Do you notice how just a few f/stops down from f/1.4 to f/2.8 more is in focus? Now look at the difference after I readjusted the f/stop to f/4.5 and f/6.3.


For this series I moved in front of the cowboy and focused on the horses head…


Again you can see how much comes into focus the lower (higher number) my aperture is.



Since I love finding videos that help learning this skill simple – here are two that do this well:



Now if you would like to read a few great posts on understanding the difference between focal lengths and which lens is best for you – go here and here.  The first one shows the difference between lens on a full sensor body and the second on a crop sensor. If you want to learn more about what that means go here Smile

Wishing you all a beautiful and blessed weekend!  


1 comment:

  1. I've understood depth of field for quite some time, but what I struggle with is which aperture should I be using for portraits? Is there a hard and fast rule for that? I find it difficult particularly to get great bokeh and keep everyone's faces in focus.


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