Depth of Field, Part 4:

Using a DOF Calculator + Advanced Tips and Tricks

Presented by Scott Ballard
Written by Tim Park and Scott Ballard

Summary: When working depth of field, it is almost a requirement to use a depth of field calculator. This allows a cinematographer to not only better plan shots, but empowers him or her to actually move the depth of field around to exactly where the project needs it to fall.

In this lesson we go through the steps of using a depth of field calculator, as well as a list of advanced tips and tricks to push it around your set.

Note: For this lesson we used the Digital DoF iPhone app by Indie Film Gear, LLC. When running calculations online, we used PhotoPills Depth of Field Calculator. These may not be the best for your needs, they are just what we use since they get the job done. You may notice that calculations are slightly different depending on which calculator you use. We will discuss why in the next lesson, Depth of Field, Part 5. (We are not affiliated with either company and received nothing from them for using their calculators in the lesson.)

Length: 8:08 minutes

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Depth of Field, Part 5: How Circle of Confusion and Diffraction Blur Your Image
Depth of Field, Part 4: Using a Depth of Field Calculator
Depth of Field, Part 3: Hyperfocal Distance
Depth of Field Part 2: How Focal Length, Distance, and ND Affect Depth of Field
Depth of Field, Part 1: How Aperture and ISO Affect Focus
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 6: Five Tips For A Successful Shoot
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 5: Lighting Six High Speed Sets
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 4: Common Lighting Problems
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 3: Camera Operation & Workflow
4 replies
    • Tim
      Tim says:

      Great question!

      Lens adapters do not affect the output of the DOF calculators. This is because the distance from the lens mount to the film/sensor plane aren’t part of the DOF equation.

      HOWEVER, if your lens adapter has any additional lens elements in it, such as with Metabones Speed Booster, then that DOES change the focal length you need to enter in the DOF calculator. For example, if you have a speed booster that is a 0.71x adapter, then your 50mm lens becomes a 35.5mm lens.

      Something to note is that crop factor DOES NOT affect DOF calculations, since crop factor only affects field of view (FOV). However, since the framing of your subject will change as your FOV changes, you will then move closer/farther from your subject. This change in distance WILL affect your calculations.

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