Lessons Learned: Depth of field too shallow

The following photo features two male dragonflies spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Shown from left to right: Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis); Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta). The dragonflies were perching on different sticks located relatively close together. I hoped both dragonflies would be in focus when I shot the photo. Obviously the Slaty Skimmer, the dragonfly that is closer to me and the one on which I focused the camera, is the only one clearly in focus. The problem is the depth of field is too shallow for the camera settings used to take this photo.


According to the Online Depth of Field Calculator, the total depth of field is 0.25 feet (3.0 inches) for a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 superzoom camera with a focal length of 57.2mm (318mm, 35mm equivalent), an aperture of f/8, and a subject distance of approximately six feet. That means the near- and far limits of acceptable sharpness are 5.88 feet and 6.13 feet respectively. As a result, most of the Slaty Skimmer appears to be focused sharply, while the Blue Dasher is slightly out of focus.

The simplest way to increase depth of field is to select a smaller aperture, e.g., f/16 or smaller. f/8 is the smallest aperture on the DMC-FZ150, so the only solution for this problem may be to use another camera/lens combo.

Tech Tips: Be sure to “use the actual focal length of the lens for depth of field calculations,” rather than the 35mm equivalent. Source Credit: Online Depth of Field Calculator.

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com


Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: