Busting the FF vs Crop DoF Bokeh Myth

Started Jul 27, 2009 | Discussions
OP therickman Senior Member • Posts: 1,305
Re: Preposterous? Oh dear.

Kuivaamo wrote:

DoF is not an absolute property "captured by the camera". DoF is a property at the print (or final output on a monitor) and it's all about your perception when you examine that print. As an exercise, click on the "zoom out" button above your example photo three times. Can you still tell that the "Photography" text on the second book is very blurred? No, because things are too small to tell whether it's blurred or not in a larger image. In other words, the letters are now within a field of acceptable sharpness, or DoF. Once you zoom in, you realise that the letters are blurred. They are no longer within a field of acceptable sharpness, i.e. the text is now outside the DoF.

DoF is absolutely linked with final output size. The larger the print and the closer you examine it, the more rigorous your limit for acceptable circle of confusion and thus shallower your DoF will be. It's basic photographic theory, and you'd do well to get to grips with it.

As for 4x6" vs. 20x30", yes, the text on the OOF books will appear blurred in both. But if you look at other details such as bits of dust on the wood, some of them will appear sharp in a 4x6" but not in a 20x30". The exact same principle applies.

Interesting.

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Roger Krueger Senior Member • Posts: 2,785
Exactly

therickman wrote:

Roger Krueger wrote:

DoF is NOT subject space resolution. (which is what you appear to be arguing for here.) You don't get to start redefining terms to fit your arguments.

Are you saying that DoF refers only to a final printed image and not the actual shooting situation?

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.

climbng_vine Forum Member • Posts: 86
Re: You are adding to the myth

Roger Krueger wrote:

climbng_vine wrote:

Cheburashka wrote:

therickman wrote:

I do. DoF is much different than FoV - which everybody here seems to be confusing.

DOF is a function of the FoV, among other factors -- something which you seem to be ignoring.

Absolutely, unconditionally false. Depth of field is a function of focal length and actual aperture diamater--nothing else. Period.

That's simply not correct. Given identical composition, a wider FoV lens will start to have deeper DoF as it gets anywhere near hyperfocal.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Or more accurately, a nonsensical shifting of the question. You're not talking about changing "field of view", you're talking about changing focal length. Different things, as I explicitly explained in my original comment.

Perceived depth of field also depends, somewhat, on enlargement size.

Perceived depth of field is all there is. DoF at the sensor is an uttterly useless number, save for its ability to get you to "Perceived" DoF.

Weasel words. That "save for" is the essential point of the whole discussion.

Field of view is itself a function of focal length, negative or sensor size, and crop. It has nothing to do with depth of field. I can take a shot with a 120-degree field of view and cut some off each size with a scissor to make it a 50-degree field of view. This changes the depth of field not one iota.

Once you blow it up to the original print size, sure it does. Not controlling for print size makes everything else nonsense.

Wrong, if the two are within a small range of each other. What really makes everything else nonsense is confusing focal length with field of view.

durack7 Regular Member • Posts: 293
Re: Exactly

the information in this thread is incorrect

Kuivaamo Senior Member • Posts: 2,248
Re: I think I found out where the DoF confusion is...

therickman wrote:

I thought about it and I think I know where the DoF confusion is (maybe). Let me know if this is where my detractors are coming from...

Here's a scenario:

  • I take a picture of a 6-foot tall man with my 5D and 50mm lens, standing 10 feet away from him at f/2. The tip of his head is at the top of the frame (landscape) and his feet are at the bottom, perfectly filling the image frame.

  • 1 foot behind the man to the left is a fence post, still relatively in focus.

  • 5 feet behind the man to the right is a boy standing. He is obviously OOF.

  • I print the same image at 4X6 and 20X30

Are you saying that in the 4X6 picture the man is 4 inches tall, yet in the 20X30 the man in 20 inches tall, therefore the DoF is 5 times larger? Is that how DoF changes relative to print size?

Features will be 5 times larger, not DoF. It's the fact that a feature occupies a larger portion of your vision that makes you more critical of whether it's sharp or not. Something that looks almost tack-sharp in the 4x6" looks obviously OOF in a 20x30". Bigger print from same file, shallower DoF when viewed from the same distance.

I consider DoF through the camera at the time of capture, in real life conditions, hence the DoF button.

This is another mistake, there are two good reasons why relying on the DoF preview on modern cameras can mislead you to think there's more DoF than you'll actually get in your final print:

  • Features outside your plane of focus are often too small within your viewfinder to notice blur which will be evident at larger print sizes.

  • Modern focusing screens do not show accurate DoF. They use trickery to provide you with a brighter image even with slower lenses, but as a result they don't show a DoF difference between e.g. an f/2.8 and an f/2 lens; you can check this by attaching a fast prime and using the DoF preview button to toggle between f/2 and f/2.8.

climbng_vine Forum Member • Posts: 86
Re: Exactly

Roger Krueger wrote:

therickman wrote:

Roger Krueger wrote:

DoF is NOT subject space resolution. (which is what you appear to be arguing for here.) You don't get to start redefining terms to fit your arguments.

Are you saying that DoF refers only to a final printed image and not the actual shooting situation?

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.

Which is true in some literal sense but absurd if you're trying to accurately communicate the reality to other human beings, because the actual shooting situation is what DETERMINES three of the four DoF-relevant factors of the final printed image. Specifically: aperture diameter, focal length, focal point, with enlargement happening afterwards.

Richard Veteran Member • Posts: 4,858
In reality, you are wrong.

My conclusion:
At the same distance from subject,

This is an assumption and is not reality.

In reality, if I have a 50mm lens on a crop body and I take a picture of someones face, I will stand 8 feet way move closer or farther away to frame the persons face.

If I put that same lens on a full frame body, what will I do. I will do what every person that is not using a zoom lens does, I sneeker zoom until the persons face is framed correctly. That means I move closer. Maybe to 4 feet. This is what makes the oof even more oof and depth of field changes.

Your method of of the same distance may produce negligable differences but it is not what most people are talking about when they talk about the DOF changes when you go to FF. They mean because you have to move closer to keep framing the same.

Now if you don't like the perspective, you may change to a different lens but then it is not using the same lens.

So from my perspective, because I am going to frame the subject the same way using a particular lens (unless I don't like the perspective) DOF will always be less on the FF body.

Spencer Regular Member • Posts: 365
Re: In reality, you are wrong.

So from my perspective, because I am going to frame the subject the same way using a particular lens (unless I don't like the perspective) DOF will always be less on the FF body.

Exactly! The DOF perception between FF and Crop is based on the fact to get the same results on a FF you need to move closer or get a longer lens which in fact will reduce DOF. End of story.

This is what is meant by FF producing a shallower DOF. I think most people understand this. Or at least they should.

I believe the term "myth" is way over the top and perhaps a misunderstanding by the OP as why people suggest using a FF camera can produce shallower DOF.

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Roger Krueger Senior Member • Posts: 2,785
Re: You are adding to the myth

climbng_vine wrote:

Roger Krueger wrote:

climbng_vine wrote:

Cheburashka wrote:

therickman wrote:

I do. DoF is much different than FoV - which everybody here seems to be confusing.

DOF is a function of the FoV, among other factors -- something which you seem to be ignoring.

Absolutely, unconditionally false. Depth of field is a function of focal length and actual aperture diamater--nothing else. Period.

That's simply not correct. Given identical composition, a wider FoV lens will start to have deeper DoF as it gets anywhere near hyperfocal.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

How? If I'm wrong then all the DoF equations must be wrong too.

Or more accurately, a nonsensical shifting of the question. You're not talking about changing "field of view", you're talking about changing focal length.

No, I'm talking about field of view. I did say "FoV" didn't I? I'm stumped as to where you get the idea I'm referring to focal length.

Shooting an identical subject-plane composition with lenses of different FoV gives different composition, magnification and DoF far away from the subject plane.

Different things, as I explicitly explained in my original comment.

They're exactly the same thing as long as you keep format constant. Which is the simplest way to test this assertion on a DoF calculator.

Perceived depth of field also depends, somewhat, on enlargement size.

Perceived depth of field is all there is. DoF at the sensor is an uttterly useless number, save for its ability to get you to "Perceived" DoF.

Weasel words. That "save for" is the essential point of the whole discussion.

It's not a weasel, it's to point out that sensor DoF can be used as an input to a calculation which yields useful DoF. It's like distance in a discussion about speed. Until you put it in an equation with the other requisite factors it's meaningless.

Field of view is itself a function of focal length, negative or sensor size, and crop. It has nothing to do with depth of field. I can take a shot with a 120-degree field of view and cut some off each size with a scissor to make it a 50-degree field of view. This changes the depth of field not one iota.

Once you blow it up to the original print size, sure it does. Not controlling for print size makes everything else nonsense.

Wrong, if the two are within a small range of each other.

That just makes the difference small. And 120 degrees to 50 degrees is nowhere near "a small range".

What really makes everything else nonsense is confusing focal length with field of view.

Which would appear to be your problem, not mine. I'm not the one who manufactured a refence to focal length out of a post which contained no such thing.

Roger Krueger Senior Member • Posts: 2,785
Re: Exactly

climbng_vine wrote:

Roger Krueger wrote:

therickman wrote:

Roger Krueger wrote:

DoF is NOT subject space resolution. (which is what you appear to be arguing for here.) You don't get to start redefining terms to fit your arguments.

Are you saying that DoF refers only to a final printed image and not the actual shooting situation?

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.

Which is true in some literal sense but absurd if you're trying to accurately communicate the reality to other human beings, because the actual shooting situation is what DETERMINES three of the four DoF-relevant factors of the final printed image. Specifically: aperture diameter, focal length, focal point, with enlargement happening afterwards.

But 3 out of 4 isn't good enough. You can't just drop out one term of an equation and say it's the same thing.

It's all about the final image. Eveything else is smoke.

climbng_vine Forum Member • Posts: 86
Re: You are adding to the myth

Roger Krueger wrote:

How? If I'm wrong then all the DoF equations must be wrong too.

No, because they aren't saying the same thing you are.

No, I'm talking about field of view. I did say "FoV" didn't I? I'm stumped as to where you get the idea I'm referring to focal length.

I know you aren't referring to focal length. That's the problem.

Shooting an identical subject-plane composition with lenses of different FoV gives different composition, magnification and DoF far away from the subject plane.

LENSES DON'T HAVE A FIELD OF VIEW. Or more accurately they do, but it is a theoretical circle which in real life (except fisheye lenses) is a maximum which is never reached. The lens determines the maximum field of view of a composition, but the actual field of view is determined by how that maximum circle is cropped (both by the sensor, and in post) into a rectangle.

Different things, as I explicitly explained in my original comment.

They're exactly the same thing as long as you keep format constant. Which is the simplest way to test this assertion on a DoF calculator.

But now what do you mean by "format"? More weaseling. If you mean sensor format, you're still wrong. As noted before, I can change a picture from a 120 degree FoV to 50 degrees by taking a scissor to it. You'll again utter non-sequiters about this changing the enlargement factor, etc, which have nothing to do with the fact that FoV and focal length are two different things, which should not be confused if one wishes to clearly communicate a concept to the other humans.

Perceived depth of field also depends, somewhat, on enlargement size.

Perceived depth of field is all there is. DoF at the sensor is an uttterly useless number, save for its ability to get you to "Perceived" DoF.

Weasel words. That "save for" is the essential point of the whole discussion.

It's not a weasel, it's to point out that sensor DoF can be used as an input to a calculation which yields useful DoF. It's like distance in a discussion about speed. Until you put it in an equation with the other requisite factors it's meaningless.

This is more weaseling, because you say sensor DoF "can" be used as an input, when in fact it is the CRITICAL input. What you're calling the "sensor DoF", that is, the aperture diameter, focal length, and focusing distance, has a far larger impact on perceived DoF than the circles of confusion factor at enlargement time, until you get to poster-sized prints. Even then, they are still the determining objective factors, with the CoC being a subjective factor.

That just makes the difference small. And 120 degrees to 50 degrees is nowhere near "a small range".

I didn't say it was. That was on a completely different point. And if the difference is small, it doesn't really matter. As you so illustriously said, depth of field is all about perception... if the difference is too slight for a normal person taking a look at the print to notice, it doesn't matter.

Which would appear to be your problem, not mine. I'm not the one who manufactured a refence to focal length out of a post which contained no such thing.

That would be your problem. My original comment referred to focal length, because focal length, aperture diameter and focusing distance are the three essential components that determine the depth of field at a given enlargement size. You persist in discussion "field of view", which is NOT the same thing as focal length, and does not affect depth of field. Things you might do to try to GET a particular field of view, such as choosing a different focal length or cropping-and-enlarging (but NOT just cropping) an image can affect depth of field, but the field of view does NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT. Period.

climbng_vine Forum Member • Posts: 86
Re: Exactly

Roger Krueger wrote:

Which is true in some literal sense but absurd if you're trying to accurately communicate the reality to other human beings, because the actual shooting situation is what DETERMINES three of the four DoF-relevant factors of the final printed image. Specifically: aperture diameter, focal length, focal point, with enlargement happening afterwards.

But 3 out of 4 isn't good enough. You can't just drop out one term of an equation and say it's the same thing.

Total BS. We're talking about three objective factors which set the parameters within which a fourth subjective factor can cause slight variations. I never said they were the same thing (you do like to distort arguments and terms), I said those three objective factors are by far the most important. And they are.

It's all about the final image. Eveything else is smoke.

Yes, which is why trying to pretend that the fourth subjective factor is an equal partner in how the final image appears is terribly misleading. Take a look at the depth of field tables--the three physical factors cause far more variation than the enlargement size, unless and until you get to mural-sizing which doesn't matter 99.999% of the time to 99.999% of the population.

Roger Krueger Senior Member • Posts: 2,785
It's not slight variation

climbng_vine wrote:

Roger Krueger wrote:

Which is true in some literal sense but absurd if you're trying to accurately communicate the reality to other human beings, because the actual shooting situation is what DETERMINES three of the four DoF-relevant factors of the final printed image. Specifically: aperture diameter, focal length, focal point, with enlargement happening afterwards.

But 3 out of 4 isn't good enough. You can't just drop out one term of an equation and say it's the same thing.

Total BS. We're talking about three objective factors which set the parameters within which a fourth subjective factor can cause slight variations.

No, enlargement/CoC is every bit as objective as the other three factors. And there difference it makes is NOT slight. Even between FF and APS it's not slight, between FF and P&S formats it's huge.

I never said they were the same thing (you do like to distort arguments and terms), I said those three objective factors are by far the most important. And they are.

I disagree. Enlargement is just as important as the other factors. More to the point, it's the factor mishandled in the original posters premise. When a factor takes a premise from "right" to "wrong" you can't just dismiss it as unimportant.

It's all about the final image. Eveything else is smoke.

Yes, which is why trying to pretend that the fourth subjective factor

Why do you keep calling it the subjective factor?

is an equal partner in how the final image appears is terribly misleading.

No, ignoring it is misleading. There are plenty of nonsense premises you can "prove" if you take CoC/enlargement out of the equation.

Take a look at the depth of field tables--the three physical factors cause far more variation than the enlargement size, unless and until you get to mural-sizing which doesn't matter 99.999% of the time to 99.999% of the population.

Mural sizing? There's a big swing between FF and APS, a big swing between 8x12 and 4x6.

Yeah, there's a bigger swing between f2 and f22, between macro and infinity. So what? It still doesn't mean you get to drop a term from the equation. Especially in circumstances where the terms that cause the bigger swings are held constant or are themselves the subject of the comparison.

Lihkin
Lihkin Senior Member • Posts: 2,791
Re: try outdoors

Very nicely and lucidly put- thanks for that explanation. It's something you know, but can't quite articulate- you did it very well.

Cheers,
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OP therickman Senior Member • Posts: 1,305
Re: I think I found out where the DoF confusion is...

Kuivaamo wrote:

therickman wrote:

I thought about it and I think I know where the DoF confusion is (maybe). Let me know if this is where my detractors are coming from...

Here's a scenario:

  • I take a picture of a 6-foot tall man with my 5D and 50mm lens, standing 10 feet away from him at f/2. The tip of his head is at the top of the frame (landscape) and his feet are at the bottom, perfectly filling the image frame.

  • 1 foot behind the man to the left is a fence post, still relatively in focus.

  • 5 feet behind the man to the right is a boy standing. He is obviously OOF.

  • I print the same image at 4X6 and 20X30

Are you saying that in the 4X6 picture the man is 4 inches tall, yet in the 20X30 the man in 20 inches tall, therefore the DoF is 5 times larger? Is that how DoF changes relative to print size?

Features will be 5 times larger, not DoF. It's the fact that a feature occupies a larger portion of your vision that makes you more critical of whether it's sharp or not. Something that looks almost tack-sharp in the 4x6" looks obviously OOF in a 20x30". Bigger print from same file, shallower DoF when viewed from the same distance.

Yes, but you wouldn't view a 20X30 print from the same distance as a 4X6. You'd stand back farther to comfortably view the whole image. So, essentially, DoF has to do with the distance between the viewer and the picture, right? Were you to stand back from a 20X30 picture so that it is relatively the same size as you'd view a 4X6 at arm's length, then the details of the 20X30 would look exactly the same as the 4X6, therefore the actual measured DoF hasn't changed at all.

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Cal Dawson Veteran Member • Posts: 4,810
Re: In reality, you are wrong.

I agree "But not with you" It is reality. I come up against barriers and obstacles all the time which prevent my getting closer, Whether it be sidelines (Sports) Barricades (Police, Fire and of course Zoos) so of course this is in fact reality not an assumption. The OP's findings are valid for anyone who shoots anything but portrait (A completely controlled environment) I've been here before and returned the FF camera as being inadequate for the job (Too much FOV for the job) and no way to get closer.....

Richard wrote:

My conclusion:
At the same distance from subject,

This is an assumption and is not reality.

In reality, if I have a 50mm lens on a crop body and I take a picture of someones face, I will stand 8 feet way move closer or farther away to frame the persons face.

If I put that same lens on a full frame body, what will I do. I will do what every person that is not using a zoom lens does, I sneeker zoom until the persons face is framed correctly. That means I move closer. Maybe to 4 feet. This is what makes the oof even more oof and depth of field changes.

Your method of of the same distance may produce negligable differences but it is not what most people are talking about when they talk about the DOF changes when you go to FF. They mean because you have to move closer to keep framing the same.

Now if you don't like the perspective, you may change to a different lens but then it is not using the same lens.

So from my perspective, because I am going to frame the subject the same way using a particular lens (unless I don't like the perspective) DOF will always be less on the FF body.

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snapperZ
snapperZ Contributing Member • Posts: 872
Re: In reality, you are wrong.

I find this thread quite interesting and if anything it proves that you cannot judge much about the physics of photography form your intuitive feelings as a photographer.

I like to remember that larger formats will give a shallower dof (for a given coc) for any given f number, subject distance and magnification. Subject distance, f number and format/magnification are the only things that affect dof at normal working distances (FL has a significant effect only at macro working distances).

Any comparison involving different degrees of cropping and/or magnifying (or using 100% crops from sensors of different pixel density) therefore do not allow meaningful comparison of dof.

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Pete Y Contributing Member • Posts: 508
Re: How about adjusting the distance

(If I read someone post that these samples disprove my own observation, I'm seriously going to blow a stack. Please read my original post before you comment further. I never, I repeat NEVER claimed similar images from a 5D and 50D will have the same depth-of-field. I disproved the myth that depth-of-field will still be different using the same lens at the same distance from subject at the same aperture.)

Judging from the responses of various posters and my own experience, the 'myth that dof will still be different using the same lens at the same distance from subject at the same aperture' just never existed.

When people talk about how dof is different between FF and crop sensors, they invariably refer to the same framing . In this case, the 'myth' is not a myth.

Why is same-framing important? When we get back to the basics of photography, we normally compose and frame before we take a picture, not the other way around. When we want to take a picture of a particular scene, the decision to include or exclude something is already in our mind before we press the shutter release, irrespective of what camera we are using, FF or crop.

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Roger Krueger Senior Member • Posts: 2,785
Re: You are adding to the myth

climbng_vine wrote:

Roger Krueger wrote:

How? If I'm wrong then all the DoF equations must be wrong too.

No, because they aren't saying the same thing you are.

Yes, they are.

No, I'm talking about field of view. I did say "FoV" didn't I? I'm stumped as to where you get the idea I'm referring to focal length.

I know you aren't referring to focal length. That's the problem.

Shooting an identical subject-plane composition with lenses of different FoV gives different composition, magnification and DoF far away from the subject plane.

LENSES DON'T HAVE A FIELD OF VIEW. Or more accurately they do, but it is a theoretical circle which in real life (except fisheye lenses) is a maximum which is never reached. The lens determines the maximum field of view of a composition, but the actual field of view is determined by how that maximum circle is cropped (both by the sensor, and in post) into a rectangle.

Fine, so I should have said it as "a lens-format combination which produces a given field of view". (Format and crop being indistinguishable.) I greatly doubt anyone but you was confused.

Different things, as I explicitly explained in my original comment.

They're exactly the same thing as long as you keep format constant. Which is the simplest way to test this assertion on a DoF calculator.

But now what do you mean by "format"? More weaseling. If you mean sensor format, you're still wrong.

But I never said that. Format and crop are theoretically different only in the stage of the imaging chain in which they occur.

As noted before, I can change a picture from a 120 degree FoV to 50 degrees by taking a scissor to it. You'll again utter non-sequiters about this changing the enlargement factor, etc,

But they're not non-sequiters in a discussion of DoF.

which have nothing to do with the fact that FoV and focal length are two different things, which should not be confused if one wishes to clearly communicate a concept to the other humans.

Again, I'm guessing 99.9% of people understand the FoV of a lens to be what it delivers to its native format or a specified alternative format, not the edge of its image circle.

Perceived depth of field also depends, somewhat, on enlargement size.

Perceived depth of field is all there is. DoF at the sensor is an uttterly useless number, save for its ability to get you to "Perceived" DoF.

Weasel words. That "save for" is the essential point of the whole discussion.

It's not a weasel, it's to point out that sensor DoF can be used as an input to a calculation which yields useful DoF. It's like distance in a discussion about speed. Until you put it in an equation with the other requisite factors it's meaningless.

This is more weaseling, because you say sensor DoF "can" be used as an input, when in fact it is the CRITICAL input. What you're calling the "sensor DoF", that is, the aperture diameter, focal length, and focusing distance, has a far larger impact on perceived DoF than the circles of confusion factor at enlargement time, until you get to poster-sized prints. Even then, they are still the determining objective factors, with the CoC being a subjective factor.

Like distance is a CRITICAL input to speed. We've gone over the subjective vs. objective and relative impact issues elsewhere.

More importantly, the original poster's premise held the other factors constant, so that enlargement was the ONLY thing that varied. You can't yank the one thing that varies out of consideration and call what's left equal.

That just makes the difference small. And 120 degrees to 50 degrees is nowhere near "a small range".

I didn't say it was. That was on a completely different point. And if the difference is small, it doesn't really matter. As you so illustriously said, depth of field is all about perception... if the difference is too slight for a normal person taking a look at the print to notice, it doesn't matter.

But the existance of a case where it "doesn't really matter" is not some blanket license to ignore the issue.

wmsson Senior Member • Posts: 1,353
Re: The 'myth'

therickman wrote:

When people say "a full frame camera has a narrower DoF than a crop camera," that statement is false. It's a myth. I've disproven it. This statement confuses a lot of newbies, and I needed to clarify that FoV is the most important factor.

So you mean they don't understand the proper controls that make their assumption false? A little more about that in your original post would perhaps make this thread less of a farce.

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