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Spring's here... so is depth of field...

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MikeScone

Mike - Camera Corner Mod
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... and a photographer's thoughts turn to depth of field...

What's that? Depth of field is the range of focus from front to back. At a fixed focal length and distance to the subject, it's controlled by the aperture (f/stop) of the lens in the camera. That's where the aperture priority mode in your camera comes in - sometimes called "A" or "Ap".

The aperture is measured in "f stops". The "f stop" is a fraction (the focal length divided by the size of the aperture, as it happens), so the larger the number the smaller the aperture.

As Spring has officially broken here in Harford (the crocuses are out - forget the melting of the last of the snow, that won't happen for weeks), I grabbed the camera and went out to my back yard to shoot some examples.

This picture was taken at f/3.3 - wide open for my 105mm macro lens. The depth of field is very small, not even extending to an entire flower. I picked the yellow stamen to focus on:


Slightly stopped down to f/5.6. The depth of field is still very small, but it does allow all of the closer flower to be in focus.


One more stop, to f/8 - now both flowers are in focus, but the background's still nicely blurred.


f/11 - more of the background's in focus, but not enough to be distracting. We get most of the group of crocuses sharp, which is good.


Fully stopped down - f/45. At this point all of the crocus group is in focus, but so is the dried grass and leaves in the background and foreground. I think that's too much of a distraction from the subject. Not really a good picture.


On the other hand, if I was trying to get all of a scene in focus, or everyone in a group, then the added depth of field would be a Good Thing.

Now, get out there and shoot - and try out the aperture settings on your camera! Feel free to post the results to this thread.

 

MikeScone

Mike - Camera Corner Mod
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kirbyultra wrote:
:? *frantically thumbs through d5000 for dummies*....
If you want to play around with different apertures on the D5000, you'd set the top dial to "A" (for Aperture) mode:



Then, you use the rear thumbwheel to select aperture - the camera will pick the shutter speed for you.

Is that what you wanted to know?


 

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