Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Depth of Field (DOF) quick reference for Full Frame (FF) Photographers

Depth of field notes for FF users (using Nikon lenses as an example)

Using thin DOF in certain situations is an important artistic tool for me. Conversely, making sure that DOF is large enough for architecture and landscapes is also important.

Most people's eyes glass over when talking about circle of confusions, hyperfocal distances, etc.

So I have collected here some very rough comparisons to assist with choosing flocal length and aperture mainly for myself, but other folk might find it useful

Firstly, at the maximum aperture of some common prime lens focal length, how much DOF do we have ?
Assumption: Subject distance is 15ft or 4.57m

20mm f2.8      429.00ft       129.00m

28mm f1.8        10.30ft          3.13m

35mm f1.4          4.83ft          1.47m

50mm f1.8          2.93ft           0.89m

50mm f1.4          2.32ft           0.71m

60mm f2.8          3.23ft           0.98m

85mm f1.8          1.00ft           0.30m

85mm f1.4          0.79ft           0.24m

What is the smallest aperture where the far limit for DOF is infinite ?
Assumption: Subject distance is 15ft or 4.57m

20mm        f3.2

24mm        f4.5

28mm        f6.4

35mm        f10

50mm        f19

60mm        f27

85mm        f64

Of course the interesting point is how massively the DOF changes from 28mm to 50mm, effectively from massive to tiny!

I recommend further reading: