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I can get very scientific when it comes to my work. Either that or I’m just being paranoid about getting the perfect image. 😉 Whatever the truth, I want to present a brief tutorial on using DoF calculators, very useful apps that can help you get your images tack sharp.

For this example, I’ll show a screenshot from a my favorite app of mine, HyperFocal Pro. I know there are lots of other apps out there, but I hope this will help in a general way. No offense meant if you have your own favorite.

Figure 1: Input your required data to get started.

In general, DoF calculators require that you provide them with your camera body type, lens focal length, aperture, and distance to your subject (see Figure 1). The body type is necessary because it provides the calculator with a “circle of confusion,” a figure that varies from body to body and that represents the camera’s ability to show a small blurry spot as a point. Meanwhile, the other data points are a bit more intuitive to a photographer: depth of field will always depend on your lens’ focal length, aperture and distance to your subject.

Figure 2: Interpret your results.

Once you provide this basic information the app provides a solution, many times in the form of a graph. See Figure 2 for an example. In these graphs, the most important thing to note is the area indicated as “In-focus.” This is the area that represents the distance in front of and behind your subject that remains in focus.

These apps can help take a lot of the guesswork out of focusing. Hope you’re inspired to add one to your own photographer’s toolkit. 🙂

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Written by The Twilit Lens

Freelance photographer and ponderer of the unusual. I welcome the presence of mystery and the unknown. Wonder is not absent from the universe, and there is still room for the child in those who haven't yet allowed their hearts to wither to dust.

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