Calculate depth of field to get sharp images

People love to see and take photographs and want their photo to look like a photo shot by a pro. They read books, attend class, practice many stuff but when it comes to understanding their own camera they still lack 100 percent knowledge. Understanding your own camera and the lens that you use is equally important. You should know what settings to use, where the buttons are etc. to get the right photo at the right time. The worst case is you see a beautiful bird and want to capture it. But, by the time you search for buttons and change settings, the bird might have gone to some other location. In addition to knowing about your camera, it’s good to know about depth of field as well. It’s good to know, calculate depth of field and plan low light macro and landscape photos where the range of sharpness is of high importance.

Knowing more about your camera and lens will always help. I use Nikon D600 and a 50mm 1.4D prime lens. Nikon D600 has a 35mm full frame sensor. To calculate the depth of field, you need to know what is considered as acceptable sharpness also called the circle of confusion (CoC) which is related to your camera sensor size and viewing distance. Note that the depth of field increases with increase in the viewing distance. A full frame camera or a camera with a larger sensor will have larger CoC as the images captured need not be enlarged much, but they need a longer focal length to achieve the same field of view.

Depth of field calculator
Image source: Cambridge in color

Above is the image from a tool that is used to calculate depth of field. Here is the link to access this tool and check it yourself: Link. This tool is very helpful for assessing what camera settings you need to achieve to get the desired level of sharpness. This tool is helpful but it’s not mandatory that you need to use the same settings always, but is good to know about how focal length and aperture affect the image that you are capturing using your camera and lens that you use.

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Note that in the calculator if you are not sure of what values to enter then go through the manual that had come along with the camera and lens that you use. Give it a try, it always good to know about these and will be helpful in capturing better images.