This week’s post is an easy-breezy lesson on how Aperture helps control Depth of Field (DOF) for iPhones, Point & Shoot cameras and dSLRs. It’s simple…….honest!
Aperture, or F-stops, help control Depth of Field (DOF) through your camera settings. DOF controls how much, or how little, of your image is in sharp vs. soft focus.
Depth of Field Settings for Point & Shoot and iPhones:
If you use a Point & Shoot camera or an iPhone, you can control DOF easily.
Check your camera's manual for these settings:
For a sharp DOF with everything in focus use the automatic landscape setting. This is represented by the image of the small mountain on your camera.
For a blurred or soft DOF use the portrait setting which is typically represented by a lady wearing a hat. The macro or close-up setting, represented by a flower or Tulip, works well also.
See the photos of the flower bouquet, boats and little boy below for examples of sharp vs. blurred focus, DOF, and various Aperture F-stops.
For dSLR users:
Setting your Aperture, F-stop, helps control Depth of Field or DOF. Have you ever wondered how to keep your entire photo in sharp focus vs. having your main subject in focus with a soft blurred background? I’m referring to DOF. See the photos of the boats and the little boy below.
A large aperture, remember it’s a smaller F-stop number like F/2, will decrease DOF while a small aperture, remember it’s a larger F-stop number like F/16, will give you larger DOF. See the aperture chart below.
Remember – small aperture f/stop = large number
Remember - large aperture f/stop = small number
Depth of Field:
Depth of Field (DOF) can be a little confusing at first but I remember it this way:
Small numbers like F-2 mean a small, narrow DOF (not lens opening but DOF) with a blurred background.
Small numbers = shallow DOF = large aperture like f-2
Large numbers like F-16 mean a large, wide DOF (not lens opening but DOF) with everything pretty much in focus.
Large numbers = large DOF = small aperture like f-16
Refer to Aperture Chart and DOF Chart below.
Here's a DOF chart to help you:
Here are two photos to help illustrate DOF.
The first picture below was taken with an aperture of f/11 and the second one was taken with an aperture of f/4. The difference is easy to spot.
The f/11 picture has a wide DOF with everything in focus. You’re able to clearly see the boats, the dock, the foreground and the background.
The f/4 image below has a shallow DOF and the background is out of focus. The little boy is in sharp focus but the background is blurred. This is due to the shallow DOF, f/4, and the little boy sitting a foot or so in front of the flowers.
Another way to gain a shallow or narrow DOF is to position your subject away from the background by several feet as I have done in the image above of the little boy. This helps blur the background putting emphasis on the subject.
Be sure and post a photo or two in your comment box. Post one image showing narrow (blurred) DOF and one showing a wide (sharp) DOF. We love seeing your photos.
To post a photo, open a comment box and click on the + in the lower left corner. Follow instructions, click the thumbnail to enlarge your photo for viewing.
Free: Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for your free Depth of Field Chart and Aperture Chart. They are very handy to carry in your camera bag.
Happy clicking and please Stumble me!