What is Depth of Field DOF

According to wikipedia defination,
“depth of field (DOF), also called focus range or effective focus range,is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image”

Depth of field is amount that your image is in focus and the amount of focussed area around the subject is called Depth of Filed. Depth Of Field can be described as Shallow and Deeper Depth of field.

Shallow or Small or Narrow Depth of Field:When there is utmost sharpness in the subject and background area totally falls under blur zone or in other words Image with smaller area in focus is called Shallow Depth of Field.
See the picture below to understand shallow depth of field shot at: Aperture F/2.8, Shutter Speed:1/1000


Deeper or Wide or Large Depth of Field: When there is utmost sharpness in the whole image or majority of the area in the picture is in sharpness that is called deeper depth of field.
See the picture below to understand Deeper depth of field shot at Aperture:F/16,Shutter Speed 200.

Depth of field


Depth of field is determined by three factors – Aperture Size, Subject Distance and the Focal length of the lens.

Aperture: Large apertures such as f/1.4, f/2.8 give shallow depth of field,whereas small apertures such as f/16, f/22 give deep depth of field.

Subject Distance : Depth of field is reduced at close focussing distance,and increase as the point of focus or subject moves far away from the camera

Focal Length of the Lens: Shorter the Focal Length the greater the depth of field (DOF) will be at any given aperture and vice-versa.A 35mm wide-angle lens gives far more shallow depth of field at f/8 than a 300m telephoto set to the same aperture.

Kindly have a look at following images to understand Depth of Field.

Depth of Field,learn photography

Shallow Depth of Field ( Above Picture shot at F/2.8)



                                                                                         Deeper Depth of field ( Above Picture shot at F/16)


depth of field

                                                                                           Shallow Depth of field (Above picture shot at F/2.8)


To increase your Depth of Field (make a Deeper or Large Depth of Field, make more of your image in focus):

  • Use a smaller aperture (higher number) f/22 or f/16
  • Use a wide angle lens. 10mm or 24mm
  • Have your subject far away from your camera.

To have a shallow (or small,narrow) Depth of Field:

  • Use a large aperture F/1.4 or f/2.8
  • Zoom your lens in. ie. 70mm or 200mm
  • Have your subject closer to the lens