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Depth of Field

Lesson 11 from: Nikon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

11. Depth of Field

Next Lesson: Maximum Sharpness


Class Trailer



Nikon Lens Class Introduction


Nikon Lens Basics


Focal Length: Angle of View


Focal Length: Normal Lenses


Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses


Focal Length: Telephoto Lens


Focal Length Rule of Thumb


Field of View


Aperture Basics


Equivalent Aperture


Depth of Field


Maximum Sharpness




Hyper Focal Distance


Nikon Mount Systems


Nikon Cine Lenses


Nikon Lens Design


Focusing and Autofocus with Nikon Lenses


Nikon Lens Vibration Reduction


Image Quality


Aperture Control and General Info


Nikon Standard Zoom Lenses


Nikon Super Zoom Lenses


Nikon Wide Angle Lenses


Nikon Telephoto Zoom Lenses


3rd Party Zooms Overview


3rd Party Zooms: Sigma


3rd Party Zooms: Tamron


3rd Party Zooms: Tokina




Nikon Prime Lens: Normal


Nikon Prime Lens: Wide Angle


Nikon Prime Lens: Ultra-Wide


Nikon Prime Lens: Short Telephoto


Nikon Prime Lens: Medium Telephoto


Nikon Prime Lens: Super Telephoto


3rd Party Primes: Sigma


3rd Party Primes: Zeiss


3rd Party Primes: Samyang


Lens Accessories: Filters


Lens Accessories: Lens Hood


Lens Accessories: Tripod Mount


Lens Accessories: Extension Tubes


Lens Accessories: Teleconverters


Macro Photography


Nikon Micro Lens Selection


Fisheye Lenses


Tilt Shift Photography Overview


Tilt Shift Lenses


Building a Nikon System


Making a Choice: Nikon Portrait Lenses


Making a Choice: Nikon Sport Lenses


Making a Choice: Nikon Landscape Lenses


Nikon Lens Systems


Lens Maintenance


Buying and Selling Lenses


Final Q&A


What's in the Frame


Lesson Info

Depth of Field

So let's talk a little bit about depth of field and we're gonna have a little bit of a quiz in here for you to think about here so this is the thinking time do not fall asleep you need toe turn the brains on full power in this section so depth of field as we learned in basic fundamentals of photography is controlled by our aperture setting the focal length how long this our lands and our shooting distance how far away away from our subject so we're going to go through and look at some different lenses and our first lance is going to be a fifty millimeter lands does everyone know what a fifty millimeter lenses now you better ok it's set to one point four aperture and so what I would like you to do in class for the for the rest of this series of photos is I want you to guess how much depth of field we're goingto have and here is your answers you could do it's just a little amount or it's a lot okay so it's either a little or a lot and you can kind of hesitate or you could be wherever you...

want so if you have a fifty millimeter lands at one point for and you're focused on something three feet away right here are you gonna have a lot of depth of field or a little let's see your hands a little or a lot and this isn't indicating an exact distance, but it's theoretically you've got you're going to get a lot or you're gonna get a little in focus so okay and here's the photo and the correct answer would be a little bit in focus okay? Because we're shooting at one point four, which is going to give a shallow depth of field and we're shooting so close up one of those things of shooting close up is you get really shallow depth of field, okay? We're learning how the game works here this is the first time I've ever done this one next game were still at one point four, but now we're shooting a twenty four millimeter lands and now my subject is three meters away and so for all of you americans out there who don't know the metric system, I put it in metric because that's the way ninety five percent of the world works and I'm perfectly happy doing that and if you forget you don't know what meters are there really close two yards but you should learn it because it's like the way everyone else thinks so any case throughout three meters apart I'm going to get a lot or just a little bit, so we're one point for and so where's your hands don't cheat don't look at your neighbor so everyone here says very small amount of depth of field when we're focused three meters away with a wide angle lens of twenty four, we're going to get a fair amount of depth of field and it's because our subject is so far away and we're shooting with a pretty wide lands so we have three different factors we have this one we have this one and then how far away the subject is in a kind of a it's a it's a mixture of the three and the more familiar you are with photography the better you'll do in this so in eighty five millimeter lands fairly narrow angle of you two fairly wide aperture three meters away or we're going to get a lot and focus or just a little you think it's so I got some people saying just a little some people saying just a lot so this is a very typical portrait shot about ten feet away three meters away to point oh on the aperture eighty five we're gonna get very shallow depth of field two point oh and that eighty five and the fact that she's kind of close at least in this with that angle of you very shallow depth of field all right, so now we're at still at two point oh fifty millimeter lands but we're now six meters away so focused much further away are we going to get a lot of depth of field? We're just a little depth of field okay six meters is getting kind of far away and so in this case, it's not everything in focus, but we're getting a pretty good amount in focus here because we're focused so far away. It's those things that are focused up really close, we know we're going to get shallow depth of field at all right, let's move up to f two point eight we're working with a three hundred millimeter lands very long lands, which tends to have very shallow depth of field, and we're focused on something ten meters away. So there's there's, conflicting things one's kind of pulling this direction one's point us to the other. So is this going to be shallow depth of field or lots of depth of field? You're going in the middle way too often here, eyes like every time is like the yeah, right about there. Okay, so this three hundred millimeter lands is going to have a really strong impact, and so the final image is very shallow depth of field that three hundred millimeter lands really keeps things very shallow depth feel, especially at f two point eight okay, the next scenario is also at two point eight, but we're working with a very wide angle lens focused at fifty meters away. Is this a lot or narrow? What do you think ken is going huge on this one? She's like she's ready to give somebody a big bear hug. Okay, so everyone's going for a pretty big depth of field with a wide angle lens focus of that far away, you're going to get a lot of focus. Even though I'm not focused on these little slats here, they're not that out of focus. Okay, you guys are getting better now. All right, next one is we're going to f four, and we're gonna go with a little bit of a telephoto one hundred millimeter lands. Oh, but we're only one meter away. So which one of these factors is kind of having the most impact? All right, so we're gonna we're gonna go with lots of depth of field or narrowed the field got some got some narrow look, a lot of people choosing narrow depth of field here and you are correct. One meter is not far away and with one hundred millimeter lens that's going to give you a very shallow depth of field next up, let's, try f four still, this time we're going with a slightly wide angle lens thirty five millimeters and focus is set for three meters away. We're going to go with narrow down the field or why depth of field so I've seen somewhere between narrow and a little bit wide, the photograph is this one here and we're getting a fair bit of depth of field and that three meters is kind of far with a thirty five millimeter lands, so we're getting not pretty good focus here, she's a little bit blurry there. Okay, next scenario, we're going five six we're getting pretty close to the middle of the range three hundred millimeter lands we know what three hundred millimeter lenses look like. This one is set for ten meters away so thirty feet away and so one of the things that we know is a three hundred millimeter lens tends to have shallow depth of field. We're not giving it too much, we're giving it a little bit here and so here is the photo, so we're getting pretty pretty narrow depth of field in this one. All right, let's move to the next so three hundred millimeters, same lands, same aperture but now we're one hundred meters away. How much step to feel they were going to get? We were these two are the same we went from what was it, teo? Ten meters now at a hundred meters so we're going to get a lot more narrow so we're going everyone's just keeping it in the middle all the time now, okay? When we're focused folks, we were focused ah hundred meters away everything is in focus and so granted that we don't have things, you know, right up next to the camera, but lots of things are in focus when we're focused that far away. All right, let's, go to f ate let's, use a two hundred millimeter lands at five, meters away. All right, so we're trying to get some depth of field here, but we have a telephoto lands that's kind of pulling us in two different directions. So is it a lot or very little capture of eight? Because you're trying to guess what the final photograph looks like, right? And so final photograph has relatively shallow depth of field. Okay. And it's, how close the subject iss and the closeness you. If you probably go back and play the tape, you'll find that when I say something's close, it really depends on the focal length of the last. Because close up on a three hundred millimeter lands is completely different than close up on a sixteen millimeter lands. And so ten, we tend to take pictures further away with these longer telephoto lenses. All right, let's, go with a sixteen millimeter lands at that same f ate aperture focused fifteen meters away. So we're going to get a lot so everyone's going pretty big on this one everyone's going pretty big on this one because that's sixteen millimeter lens tends to have a lot of things and focus you guys nailed that one very good on that one. All right? We're gonna go to eleven. We're going to be using a three hundred millimeter lands set for two meters away about six feet away. Is this a lot more shallow? What are we going to get? I'm seeing narrow, narrow, narrow, very narrow death the field here on this one and that is correct. We're focused so close with that strong a depth of field, we're getting very, very shallow depth of field. All right, let's keep it a deaf eleven let's keep it at three hundred but now set it for one hundred meters away. We're gonna get a lot everyone's going for a lot and actually we saw this photo before, but this is where we get that everything in focus because it's so far away from the camera. Next up we're going to f sixteen, so we're closing our aperture down, but now we're going with a really wide sixteen millimeter lens, but we're focused kind of close two meters away so we're gonna go with a lot of depth of field results in a lot or narrow everyone's going a little bit bigger on this one here and with that wide angle lens you do get a lot in focus stopping down two f sixteen this is a favorite setting for me for doing landscape shots because then I can have a subject in the foreground and a subject in the background and they're both in focus keeping it at f sixteen but changing the lens to one hundred millimeter lands and the focus is about the same as the last shot here so the big difference between the last shot and the one coming up is the focal length change so what's happened to the depth of field how much depth of field are we going to get in this particular image? Lots for little guys you're going kind of but one narrow and a bunch of mediums here and the narrow is correct hundred millimeter lands that still focused fairly close up all right f twenty two we're stopping our lens down as far as it'll go we have a moderate wide thirty five millimeter lands set for three meters away about ten feet away we're gonna get a lot wade got somewhat hands that are really wide here and so f twenty two with a wide angle lens you bet we're going to have tons of depth of field and they're very good and I think we got one more in here so f twenty two but now we have a four hundred millimeter lands but it's focused fifty meters away we're going to have a shallow depth of field or a lot of depth of field we got some things we have it it's like it's like it's like a tug of war but we have things pulling in three directions I should have a three way rope and we'll have a three way tug a war no, you pull harder and see what happens all right, so we know we're getting lots of depth of field here we're no we're getting really shallow depth of field here and fifty meters away we would tend to want to have a lot of things in focus, so the resulting photo shows a fair bit of depth of field but it's still you know, with this four hundred millimeter ones I was trying to get all of the penguins and focus but I can't because it's just too long a focal length and if I could go down to f thirty two or forty five or sixty four maybe I could get him all in focus but there's kind of a limit as to how much depth of field you can get with a long lens and the same is true in the wide lens it's really hard to get really shallow depth of field with wide land, so hopefully that exercise kind of makes you think about how much depth of field I'm going to get because most serious photographers will come up with a photograph in their mind. And they'll know what lands, what aperture and how far away they need to be to make all those events happen. And so the more you shoot more experience to get the more you know, the better. You'll be at predicting those sorts of things as you go through them.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Nikon® Lenses Part 1
Nikon® Lenses Part 2
Nikon® Lenses Part 3
Nikon® Lenses Part 4
Field of View
Nikon® Lenses Part 5
Nikon® Lenses Part 6
Nikon® Lenses Part 7
Nikon® Lenses Part 8
Nikon® Lens Data

Ratings and Reviews


Outstanding class! This is a must own. You will refer back to this class many times during your photog career. John has put a ton of work into this class and it shows. Being able to download the slides and other Nikon glass info is wonderful. Even if you're not a Nikon shooter you will still gleam tons of information from this class, John covers in great detail the strength and weaknesses of each lens and when you might consider using it. I was expecting a good class, but this turned into an epic class. I watched multiple videos several times. The only bad thing I can say is I "had" to order a few more lenses! Thank you John Greengo for making a truly amazing class.

Anna Fennell

Wow! What a course! Very in depth, lots of valuable information. John instructs with great knowledge and integrity. I have taken other online courses, NOT from Creative Live (my bad!) and was left feeling like a monkey who had learned tricks without understanding or knowledge. Now I feel I have the confidence to move forward on my photographic journey securely knowing how lenses function, what to look for and what price range I can expect. Bravo John! I'd love to see a 2020 update video as an addendum.

Fusako Hara

Finally I have some sense of what lens do, know what I have, what I would like to have, what lens to use, and how I can get images that I see. Best part of this session is it was made so clear, simple, logical, and practical. I am glad that I purchased this product. Now, I am going to look for more from John Greengo so I can take better understanding and take better images. Thank You.

Student Work