1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Poll - Depth of field

Discussion in 'Weekly Poll' started by Damien_Demolder, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    Being a man, there is a limit to the number of things I can concentrate on at any one time, so when confronted with a picture that has multiple elements in sharp focus I sometimes have trouble deciphering what I should be looking at. If I can’t work out what you want me to see within the boundaries of my 10-second, goldfish-like concentration span, I tend to move on to something else.

    There are, of course, a number of ways to ensure that your viewer pays attention to the subject of your image – these include lighting, leading lines and contrasting colours – but you have to employ these techniques with a degree of consciousness to achieve the desired effect.

    The device that most naturally defines a subject from its surroundings is selective focus. We are used to focusing on what we want to look at, and when all that is in focus in a picture is the subject, we will have no choice but to look right there. Shallow depth of field is so often neglected in favour of an all-encompassing front-to-back sharpness, but perhaps this week we can change that. Selective focus is the highlighter pen of the photography world, the spotlight on a dark stage. Make the most of it and its power.

    Take part in our poll, Do you know your kit well enough to control depth of field accurately? by heading to the homepage.

    Thanks all


  2. NosamLuap

    NosamLuap Rebmem Roines

    I suspect the wording of the options may impact the result on this one...

    I answered 'Yes, there or thereabouts' - I fully understand the behaviour of my lenses, the likely DoF for a given aperture, the desired DoF for most subject etc... But 'accurately' implies to me that I know, via formula, memory or witchcraft, a specific DoF in feet and inches for a given focal length/aperture, and I don't.

    If that's the intention, then great. If the option was "Yes, accurately enough to get the effect I want" then I'd have chosen that....
  3. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I find it harder to control depth of field with DX sensor than with film/FX largely due to the shorter focal lengths involved.

    As to accuracy, I have an iPhone application that calculated depth of field to a few cm but I rarely use it. I do make use of depth of field preview but how those without this essential feature manage I have no idea.
  4. NosamLuap

    NosamLuap Rebmem Roines

    I can honestly say I've never used DoF Preview, except as a means to activate the modelling light in a multiple-flash setup (Nikon).

    My first dSLR didn't have it, and every time I've tried to use it on my current model that does have it, the reduction in light renders it almost useless for critically assessing DoF/Focus - I tend to just take a shot then review on the screen if I need to...
  5. Larry Shone

    Larry Shone Well-Known Member

    I do like the DOF preview button that seems standard on all modern SLR cameras (hooraa!). On my first modern SLR (Minolta X-300) there was no such button and i would have to stop down then partially remove the lens to check-not good on a long lens!! I first discvered the art of DOF control with the previous camera, a Zenith TTL, so was miffed when it was missing on the modern camera! The 80's was a time of doing away with it on consumer models-thankfully that changed in the 90s!
  6. zx9

    zx9 Well-Known Member

    Fag paper thin DOF, love it, shoot wide open and you don't need a DOF preview, even more fun on a RF camera:)
  7. AlecM

    AlecM MiniMe

    I agree, for some subjects but it does depend on what I'm shooting. For example, when I shoot portraits I love very shallow DOF - same for some macro, flowers or scenes where it's important to bring out a key feature (I'm into stating the B obvious now, aren't I?).
    DOF preview Is useful to a point, but experience is better. Once you get to know your lens, you can usually judge. If it's a set up shot, and DOF is critical, I will usually take the time to back up my estimate with the preview, but beyond f11 it becomes less easy to see anyway.
  8. TimF

    TimF With as stony a stare as ever Lord Reith could hav

    Yeah man! We don't need no stinking DoF preview! ;) ;)
  9. Larry Shone

    Larry Shone Well-Known Member

    I tend to shoot macros at F22 but sometimes I like to open the iris up wide for a more artistic, expressionist shot. Its nice to go against the grain sometimes.
  10. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    I like selective focus a lot and unless it's a landscape I tend to use it. I'm still working on sniper like levels of accuracy though...one shot, one kill kind of thing ;) Sometimes I go out just to practice tecnique so that when opportunites present themselves I've got a better chance of nailing it.

    Not sure I've ever used the DoF preview button on a DSLR - my guesses aren't that far off that it would stop me pressing the shutter and it's easy to inspect the image on the review screen for a better view once you've shot it.
  11. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I use it on some landscapes, too.

    For me, control of depth of field is one of the most critical tools for a photographer. I use the DOF preview extensively - never had a problem with it, having started with a Zenit E where DOF preview was compulsory.
  12. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    Aye, I wasn't meaning I never use it on landscapes if that's how that read....more of a default approach than a hard and fast rule. I've actually been working on a shot recently in a spooky part of the woods where I'm expecting a sharp backround will spoil the feel of the place. I'm even picturing it in black and white(a first for me!) but am hoping the right mist and light will get something that works in colour first. Maybe I'll get lucky one of these days...it's only been about 5 years so far:D

    Perhaps you would enjoy TS-E lenses too? Am really enjoying faffing about with the 90mm and want more;)
  13. Guitarist

    Guitarist Well-Known Member

    I did with my film gear, but it's not so easy with my DSLR. My newly acquired Nikon D90 has DoF preview and a reasonably wide-aperture zoom, so I will get better at it.
  14. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    In times gone by most amateur lenses were marked with a depth of field scale.
    Over the very many years I used them, I learnt what to expect with out looking.
    The exact focus fall off can not be estimated precisely with a button or a scale.
    For the first,, the light level in the viewfinder becomes too low, and few lenses have even a rudimentary scale.

    When using large plate cameras, even seeing the extremities of the scene can be trying in poor light, and I have often used a torch in the scene just to establish my field of view.

    On small cameras a more important factor can be the diffraction limit when using Small apertures.

    All in all, the exact depth of field is rarely known nor needed to be known.
  15. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    FWIW the lenses I have with DoF scales (or tables in the manual) appear to be for a 10x8" print from 35mm and I find are of little use to me today....they're way too optimistic IMO.

    Aye, about the only time I use exact figures is when focus stacking using a focus rail - when you know the DoF and how far a rotation moves the rail you can work out how much of a rotation you need between shots.
  16. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Yes, I think I would. I suspect my next lens purchase will be a TS-E -probably not this year, though, unless I win the lottery or rob a bank. ;)
  17. Larry Shone

    Larry Shone Well-Known Member

    Why would it be difficult with a DSLR? I use it on my 30D easy peasy!
  18. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    FWIW the hole in the middle of my Kenko tubes isn't big enough to use (much) shift on a full frame sensor. The manual says it is compatible with the Canon tubes but I've no idea how many could be stacked before it limits how much shift can be used....I've not had any problems on APS-C though:)

    Don't think I read about that in any reviews;)
  19. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Well if I were using it as you do, I would use it on the 7D anyway.

    Odd, that. ;)
  20. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    It gets worse:(

    MP-E 65mm + Kenko tubes on 5D2....and about as much DoF as one can reasonably get at that magnification (approx 6.3x). Stopping down pretty much just makes the background less blurry and with magnified diffraction effects it doesn't take much to wipe out anything resembling fine detail in the sharper bits. DoF control with the aperture becomes increasinly limited as magnification goes up....the magnification pretty much backs you into a corner.

    Having said that I reckon there's something to be said for reliquishing control of DoF in such a way as I think the imperfect nature of the photograph gives them a certain charm that looks natural rather than artificial and helps to convey information on the size of the scene photographed; I don't think you don't need to know anything about photography to know roughly how small a thing you are looking at.

    Am still tempted to set about my extension tubes with a Dremmel though:eek:

    Sorry for the ramble:p

Share This Page