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DoF and camera distance

Started Aug 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
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DoF and camera distance
Aug 21, 2012

In the course of testing my D800 I decided to see what it would show about the effect of camera distance on depth of field. There have been a number of threads on this topic but there is still disagreement about the general rule in photography that depth of field (DoF) is increased by moving a camera farther away from the subject. The rule is sometimes challenged because it does not take into account that moving the camera away from the subject also increases the field of view, so the subject occupies a smaller portion of the image.

I set up a series of 5 domino tiles at regular distance intervals of 4 inches along a diagonal with another tile to the side to set the limit for the field of view. I used a 24-120 f4 lens set at 98 mm with the camera initially at 3 ft. from the nearest tile to the sensor plane. A second photo was taken from a distance of 8 feet.

The first two photos show the results before and after moving the camera. The third photo shows what happened after I enlarged and cropped the image from the 8 ft. camera distance to have the same magnification and field of view as the image from the 3 ft. camera distance.

It seems fairly obvious that the depth of field is greater for the more distant position of the camera, even when the photos are adjusted for equal magnification and field of view.

Nikon D800
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