Does it mean depth of field or depth of field?

When taking pictures with the camera or smartphone, the background should sometimes be sharp and sometimes blurred. But what is the technical term for the sharpness in the depth of the image - depth of field or depth of field? Every time I write an article that includes this word, I have to look to see whether it means depth of field or focus on the field or focus on goat or whatever. The first is of course correct. The actually incorrect term "depth of field" has also established itself in everyday language. There is no difference in terms of content.

However, if you want to be correct in terms of the spelling, you can simply remember that the order in the alphabet must be adhered to: SSHARPENINGTIEFE. So first S and then T. With that I can memorize it well.

Is it called depth of field or depth of field? Here you can find out which term is the right one!

Is it called depth of field or depth of field? Here you can find out which term is the right one!

What is depth of field anyway?

The meaning of the individual words should be clear: “Sharpness” stands for the clear depiction of an object or motif, and “Depth” refers to the spatial expansion of the photograph - the Z-axis in the photo, so to speak. The depth of field describes whether and how sharp or unsharp certain depths are. This should be known from macro, portrait, tilt-shift effect and bokeh photography, because they play with blurring. 

With regard to the sharpness of the background, the following applies:

  • Shallow depth of field = blurred background
  • High depth of field = sharp background

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What is depth of field used for?

A high depth of field - or colloquially, depth of field - is used, for example, for a landscape, panorama or other photograph in which the entire image content is important. A blurring in the image depth is used as a stylistic device when an object is to be highlighted in the foreground and / or the image background would be too distracting in full sharpness. 

Thanks to the shallow depth of field, the focus of the photography and thus the viewer's attention is drawn to the leaf and the water droplets. With a high depth of field, the image would be too confusing.

Thanks to the shallow depth of field, the focus of the photography and thus the viewer's attention is drawn to the leaf and the water droplets. With a high depth of field, the image would be too confusing.

Adjust the depth of field with aperture, distance and focal length

It is important to know that with digital cameras, including DSLR cameras, the sensor size has an effect on the game with sharpness in depth. The larger the image sensor in the camera, the more leeway there is. No less important, however, are the proximity or distance to the photographed object as well as the aperture settings (exposure partly affects the sharpness) and the choice of focal length. The following comments:

  • Depth of field through aperture: the larger the aperture value, the less open the aperture, the sharper the background. Or: the smaller the aperture value, the more open the aperture, the smaller the depth of field.
  • Distance to the object: As should be known from macro photography, the depth of field is smaller when you move closer to the object being photographed. If the background is to be sharp, move away from it.
  • Focal length and depth of field: A short focal value (wide-angle lens) results in greater depth of focus than a long focal length (telephoto lens). The effects can be weakened or intensified in each case by the above factors.
A high depth of field in the photo makes sense especially for landscape shots.

A high depth of field in the photo makes sense especially for landscape shots.

Geometry, physics and examples on the subject

If you want to know exactly, then have a look at Wikipedia article on the subject past. There the depth of field is explained very precisely and wonderfully inscrutable for laypeople. So if you have fun with the geometry, the physics and the complex formulas behind the depth of field (not depth of field), you can really live it out and see many numbers and tables to internalize. Fortunately, there are also pictures and animations as examples for different techniques and sharpness values;) 

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2 comments

  1. Event marketing veteran says:

    Hello Sir Apfelot,

    Thank you for this clarification! In fact, the term “depth of field” is now heard much more often than the actually correct term “depth of field”, and I can tell you from my experience.

    I hope for more great articles on photography in the future!

    LG
    Frank

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Frank! I'm going to put some effort in it. I'm also very interested in photography, so I hope to be able to write something here a little more often.

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