Why a Poor Depth of Field?

Started May 4, 2013 | Questions thread
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Michele0513
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Why a Poor Depth of Field?
May 4, 2013

Hello, and thanks in advance to any who answer

I have the Canon Rebel T3i 1100D with the 18-55mm kit lens, and for some reason am getting a really shallow depth of field in all my pictures. I have taken close to 1000 shots in every mode from ADEP to full auto in more "test" situations than would be practical to list, but the photos are still bad.
Here's one I shot this morning, and yes I know that it's not a great picture in terms of composition and all. I just wanted to show a quick example of the D.O.F. issue.

* The pup's head is approximately 3" wide, the ear-to-ear distance maybe 6".
* Distance to subject was around 2.5' (maybe a little more)
* Taken in Aperature Priority mode with a setting of 1/16
* Focal Length 37mm
According to the Depth of Field calculator I use, I should have been able to get 6.2" of focused depth at only 2 foot away (it showed a near/far measurement of 1'9.3"/2'3.5"), so it would be a little deeper for the extra inches away the pup was at. But as you see, barely the 3" head width is in focus, and that's spotty.
A screen shot of Canon's DPP software screen shows the active focal points in red, and most (though not all) of what's within those points is pretty much in focus, but *where* is the 6"+ depth of field?


This has been going on right from the start, and that shot actually shows the best DOF that I've ever gotten with this camera... I usually get an inch or less in focus, and NEVER anything at the picture's edges. Right after I took that shot I set it down on the deck (for added stability) and took a shot of the yard with auto focus. DPP shows that the bottom 6 focal points were lit/working, but not one single part of the picture is really in focus, even when it's not blown up.
So... is it the camera, the lens, or me? I really need to be able to shoot tabletop still lifes with at least a couple of inches depth of field that would stand up under scrutiny being blown up to 100%. And please don't say "Well buy X mega expensive setup." It took me 4 years to save up enough for this one, so I need to learn to work with what I have. But at this point, I'm not getting good results... even for snapshots I probably wouldn't be able to get a decent photo of 3 grandbabies in a sandbox without blurring all but one of them's noses! What am I doing wrong?

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Canon EOS 1100D
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Canon EOS 1100D (EOS Rebel T3 / EOS Kiss X50) Canon EOS 600D (EOS Rebel T3i / EOS Kiss X5)
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