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Canon Lenses: The Complete Guide

Lesson 12 of 58

Aperture: Depth of Field


Canon Lenses: The Complete Guide

Lesson 12 of 58

Aperture: Depth of Field


Lesson Info

Aperture: Depth of Field

So the next section a little bit of review. Um, you know, we're gonna talk about depth of field, and this is something I talk a lot more about in my fundamentals class. But we just need to address it. Here is we're going through these topics so depth of field. What is in focus is control, for the most part, by three things. The aperture setting. We talked a little bit about that. It's also controlled by the focal length. Remember, our longer focal lengths have less depth of field and are shooting distance. How close we are to our subject. And this because there are three different factors involved really can play havoc on how much depth of field you get, depending on where these three factors are. So this is a photo of extremely shallow depth of field. Why is it extremely shallow? Well, I would say the 1.4 setting is a pretty strong reason for it. It's also because the subject is very close up to the camera. Hello, kitty. So we're very close to Kitty. And with the 50 millimeter lands, ...

well, 50 isn't necessarily going to exhibit a lot of depth of field or really shallow. It's kind of in between but being very close and at 1.4 is why this one is so shallow. Now, let's keep what are we gonna keep the same. We're gonna keep the aperture the same, but we're gonna go wide angle. And now we have pretty much everything in focus. We're focused out maybe 12 15 feet beyond the camera. Pretty much everything is in focus here because we're using a wider angle lens, which exhibits more depth of field, and we're focused further away from the camera. Let's move up to F two with an 85 millimeter lens at f two. We're gonna have our subject in focus, and our background is gonna be out of focus. And it's out of focus because f twos pretty wide aperture. Our subject is reasonably close to the camera here, maybe 10 15 feet away. Something like that. And a telephoto lens tends to have shallow depth of field keeping the same 2.0 aperture. We have most things in focus here because they're further away from the camera with a less telephoto lens moving on up to 2.8 300 millimeter lands airy, shallow depth of field. 300 millimeter lenses have shallow depth of field, especially when they're focused up fairly close. It's hard to tell how far away these tulips are, but they're not too far away. They might be 40 50 feet away. How about the same 2.8 aperture with a wide angle lens that's going to give us most everything and focus, especially when we get all the way back to 24? So if you like everything in focus, 20 fours are a good place to go. Let's move on up to F four with 100 millimeter lands. Incredibly shallow depth of field, I would say mostly in this case, because we're focused very close up to our subject. That's a pretty small object that we all know, especially with a telephoto lens. But F four with a wider angle lens yields a lot of depth of field, and this are the types of shots, and it's great with digital these days because I don't have to remember or take notes when I'm out shooting pictures. I just grabbed my light room collection and I look for lenses, shot at 5.6 with the 300 millimeter lens, I'm gonna find a lot of shallow depth of field, especially if I'm focused up fairly close on a subject. And so you can look back in your metadata to see what you are getting with different situations. So 5. with a 300 millimeter lands, I would think that's pretty shallow depth of field. But if the subjects are very far away, I'm gonna get a lot of depth of field because the subjects air so far away. So all three of these factors play in there, and as you become more and more comfortable and used to your camera and the results that you're going to get, you'll be able to predict this and see this Maura's You are setting up your shots. Even before you put the camera, I finally got a full rainbow. I have been waiting for some place, and it's always like at the most inopportune times driving down, and I was like, Here's a full rainbow. It's gonna last for three minutes. Stop the car. What? Where can you frame it up on? Actually, there's a double rainbow there. So in any case, F eight, getting everything in focus with a 16 millimeter lens. Everything's kind of far away. This little shack here is Oh, I don't know, 50 feet away. But with that wide angle, you're gonna get pretty much everything in focus. So as we're stopping our lens down, we're tending to get most things in focus. But when they're very close to the frame, even with the 300 millimeter lands, very shallow depth of field. And so each of these three factors is kind of playing havoc with what's in focus and what's out of focus. And so it's just kind of fun to compare different types of shots with the same aperture, which might have a lot in focus were very, very shallow depth of field because of the nature of the shot macro 100 millimeter lens up very close, you're gonna get shallow depth of field. That's the nature of focusing up very close everything and focus from the little mud flats in front of us to the castle in the background at F 22. With the wide angle lens, you're gonna get tons of depth of field with a 400 millimeter lens F 22 I still can't get all the penguins in focus because it's such a long focal length. And so you know, every once in a while I get the question of, Well, what has the greatest impact on depth of field is at the aperture. Is it the focal length, or is it how close you are to your subject? And that's a hard question to answer, because I don't know that there's a way to prove it. But I think it would be how close you are to your subject is probably the most critical factors toe What's how much is gonna be in focus? Because when you get in a macro photography and you're working 10 inches away from a subject, it is very, very shallow depth of field. I think probably the second biggest impact we have is with the lens. We choose as to what's gonna be in focus, and the third and least amount of control that we have is in the actual aperture setting. But this varies and it's an opinion. It's my opinion. You can tell me I'm wrong, but chat about it in the chat rooms. But that's that's kind of what I'm thinking about when it comes to depth of field

Class Description

Working with interchangeable lenses can be both exciting and daunting to all levels of photographers. Canon® Lenses: The Complete Guide with John Greengo will prepare you to select the right lens and get the most out of all of your lens investments.

John Greengo is the master of making complex photography concepts easy to understand and in this class, he’ll bring all of your Canon EOS DSLR lens options and operations into focus. 

You’ll learn about: 

  • Focal length and aperture
  • Canon zoom lenses
  • Which lens accessories to buy
  • Third-party lenses
  • Maintaining a lens system

John will cover the full range of Canon lenses, from ultra-wide to super-telephoto, zooms to primes, fisheye to perspective control. You’ll learn how to match the right lens to your needs and get insights on the best ways to use it.

Whether you are thinking about buying a new lens or just want to get the most out of what you already have, Canon Lenses: The Complete Guide with John Greengo will help you out.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Canon Lens Basics

    John Greengo gets you up-to-speed on the basics of working with interchangeable Canon® lenses.

  3. Focal Length: Angle of View
  4. Focal Length: Normal Lenses
  5. Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses
  6. Focal Length: Telephoto Lens
  7. Focal Length Rule of Thumb
  8. Field of View
  9. Aperture Basics
  10. Aperture: Maximum Aperture
  11. Aperture: Equivalent Focal Length
  12. Aperture: Depth of Field
  13. Aperture: Maximum Sharpness
  14. Aperture: Starburst Effect
  15. Aperture: Flare
  16. Aperture: Hyperfocal Distance
  17. Camera Mount System
  18. Canon Lens Compatibility
  19. Canon Lens Design
  20. Canon Lens Composition
  21. Canon Lens Shape
  22. Canon Lens Coating
  23. Canon Lens Focusing
  24. Lens Autofocus
  25. Canon Lens Image Stabilization
  26. Canon L Lenses
  27. Image Quality
  28. Canon Zoom Lenses: Standard
  29. Canon Super Zooms
  30. Canon Wide Zooms
  31. Canon Telephoto Zooms
  32. Prime Lens: Normal Lenses
  33. Prime Lens: Moderate Wide
  34. Prime Lens: Wide Angle
  35. Prime Lens: Ultra-Wide
  36. Prime Lens: Short Telephoto
  37. Prime Lens: Medium Telephoto
  38. Prime Lens: Super Telephoto
  39. 3rd Party Lenses Overview
  40. 3rd Party Prime Lenses
  41. 3rd Party Zoom Lenses
  42. Lens Accessories: Filters
  43. Lens Accessories: Lens Hoods
  44. Lens Accessories: Tripod Mount
  45. Lens Accessories: Extension Tubes
  46. Lens Accessories: Extenders
  47. Macro Lens: Reproduction Ratio
  48. Macro Lens: Technique and Choices
  49. Fisheye: Technique and Choices
  50. Tilt Shift: Techniques and Choices
  51. Make a Lens System Choice
  52. Choosing A Portrait Lens
  53. Choosing A Sports Lens
  54. Choosing A Landscape Lens
  55. Best Lenses for You
  56. Lens Maintenance
  57. Buying and Selling Lens
  58. What is John Greengo's Favorite Lens?



I so appreciate what a good teacher John is. I wish I would have known this much about lenses when I first started out buying my lenses. It was hard finding information about lenses. I didn't want to spend money on a lens I wouldn't use. The better understanding we have about our gear the better photographers we will be. I have never seen a class like this. Invaluable...yes I bought the class! I am really impressed with the high quality photography classes available on Creative Live!

a Creativelive Student

Have loved the other John Greengo classes I've watched & purchased - and this is another winner! Having been a high school/college science teacher, it is refreshing to take a course with someone who not only is extremely experienced, seems to be a computer having stored so much knowledge, but is equally concerned about making the information truly understandable to different levels. And he shares the information using every tool he can: slides, video, interactive presentations, and great quizzes. I learned so much about my Canon lenses - and lenses in general with their many components. I am excited about testing each of mine to see what macro ratio they handle, and especially appreciated the tutorial on testing each for their specific quirk that affects super sharpness. This class is great whether you own Canon lenses or not. Thanks John Greengo!


This was a great class not just about the lenses that Canon offers but also how each lens works. As usual, John's slides are alway informative and entertaining. There is a phrase: John has a slide for that! I am not even a Canon user and found this class to have great information for the use of each specific lens. Great work John! Thank you Creative Live for another great class!