There is a mystery button present around the lens mount of your DSLR, which you might have missed. This button is the dedicated to depth-of-field preview and is present on most modern DSLRs. Although, most photographers know about this, beginners often overlook it or don’t end up using it. Just to be clear, this button is not there to take the lens off the camera. So, whether you are a professional or amatuer, How Much Are You Using The Depth Of Field Preview Button On Your DSLR?
Depth Of Field
It is the range of areas in a pictures that look sharp. Different images can be differentiated as having shallow or deep depth of field depending on their sharpness range. For example, landscape pictures with most of the image sharp and in focus have deep depth of field. Whereas portraits with only the subject in focus and a blurred background blur have shallow depth of field.
Depth Of Field Preview Button
The Depth Of Field Preview Button helps you take better better pictures by showing you how your picture will look like before it has been taken. When the Preview Button is pressed, the lens stops down to the set aperture and you get to see a preview of the final picture through the viewfinder.
The Depth Of Field Preview Button is usually located near the lens and can be easily reached and pressed by your thumb or forefinger. It is very useful while using a wide aperture. You just need to press and hold down the Depth Of Field preview button, to see how much of the image area is in focus and sharp. This way, you can easily adjust the aperture by pressing the button in between each f-stop, to achieve a desired result.
The Depth Of Field Preview Button works in all of the manual exposure modes [Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority and Manual]. However, this feature becomes very useful when used in Aperture Priority Mode as the camera automatically takes care of the rest. Keep in mind, although the scene will darken looking through the viewfinder if you close down the aperture but the camera will compensate by slowing down the shutter speed to provide a correct exposure.
Why You Need It
While the viewfinder shows what the scene looks like when the lens is at its widest maximum aperture, it is not so much helpful for determining where your depth of field and focus is located. The Depth Of Field Preview Button helps you in precisely determining that, so that the final picture is not a bad surprise but only what you desired.
For example, while shooting macro, the Depth Of Field Preview Button becomes very useful in finding the right spot to focus for maximum sharpness on the subject while keeping minimum amount of depth of field to blur the background. It is a great help for tough macro subjects, specially if you have to use image stacking in post. Also, even in portraits, the Depth Of Field Preview Button provides a view of the final background, allowing you to remove distractions beforehand.
When You Need It
Although most with most DSLRs, you can review pictures immediately after taking the shot and adjust for focus and depth of field. Using the Depth Of Field Preview Button helps you save a lot of time. Specially, in situations where you only have time for one shot.
However, the Depth Of Field Preview Button can make it difficult to clearly see anything through the viewfinder in low-light situations. In such case, try pressing the button while in Live-View mode.
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