What is... Depth of Field?

Depth of Field (DOF) is the distance in front and behind the subject that appears to be in focus. DOF basically determines if your backgrounds are soft (blurry) or sharp (in focus).

Factors that affect Depth of Field:

  • f-number: Increasing f-number (reducing aperture diameter) increases DOF (foreground & background are all in focus). Decreasing f-number (increasing aperture diameter) decreases DOF (soft/blurred backgrounds).
  • Focal length of the lens: The smaller the focal length number of the lens, the greater the DOF.
  • Distance: The greater the distance of the subject from the camera, the greater the DOF.
    A shallow DOF is ideal for photos where you want to call attention to your subject and not be distracted by the background, for example, portraits. A large DOF is ideal for landscape photos where you want everything in focus.

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