Digital Photography Tips: Depth of Field
Convenience is one of the advantages digital photography has over film photography. You can instantly view the results, and there is no cost of film or developing. The pictures are easily edited using appropriate software, and they can be quickly uploaded to the Internet. A few years ago it was practically impossible to get an affordable digital camera that could take photos with an equivalent visual quality as a traditional film camera. But digital photography camera’s quality increased while prices dropped dramatically, and now they all produce fairly decent images. Digital photographers need to master changing the aperture for different effects in the depth of field (DOF) for increased creativity.
Digital Photography Has A Range
In digital photography there is a range of distance where the subject of the photo is acceptably sharp. This depth of field is how much of your shot will be in focus. Most of us have seen a picture of a solitary flower that was sharply in focus while the flowers in the distance were out of focus but still recognizable. That gives you an intuitive feel for DOF, but you should also be aware that it does not change abruptly from a sharp image to an out of focus image; the loss of sharpness occurs as a gradual transition. There have been complaints that digital photography cameras have greater DOF so that it is impossible to produce creative out-of-focus backgrounds. This is particularly true of the cheaper digital photography cameras, but the expensive SLRs offer enough DOF for creative control.†
Digital Photography Lens
The lens aperture is the size of the opening that lets light travel through the lens. The aperture is typically identified as an f-number that is written as ‘f/8′ which is a large f-value, and it indicates a small aperture. A small f-value is written ‘f/2.8′ indicating a large aperture. It is the ratio of focal length to aperture diameter. There are a series of marks on the lens called ‘f-stops’ that the number can be set to. Generally, a small aperture such as ‘f/8′ yields a large depth of field range while a large aperture like ‘f/2.8′ provides for a shallow DOF. Ranges of the f-values may be about f/2.8 to f/22.†
The distance from the subject is easier to understand with regards to depth of field. When you focus on something close to the lens, the DOF is less than what you get when focusing on a subject farther away. This means you can step back from the subject for a larger DOF or come in close to decrease the DOF. Using a larger aperture would provide for a shallower DOF. I try to use my digital photography camera’s lens at its largest oprning for maximum out of focus background.
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