With macro, yes.
Originally Posted by 5stringdeath
To me, that's usually as important as knowing depth of field.
Originally Posted by 2F/2F
I find it approximates the final appearance, but exact depth of field is ambiguous anyway, as actual depth of field is a matter of what's perceivably out of focus. It will vary with print or projected size, and viewing distance.
As for using them to check composition for exact depth of field, I find them pretty useless.
That's something I will often use it for, too.
Sometimes, I will use them hand held just to get a quick idea of what my out of focus areas will look like, so I can select the aperture that I think will look best. I open wide to select my plane of critical focus, then stop down until the out of focus areas look decent to me.
Originally Posted by lxdude
I use the DOF button once in a while and when I use very small stop like f/22 or f/32. When I use small stop the DOF becomes very important and I want to make sure I have it. The characteristic of each type of focusing screen will make you see differently so I do have to get used to certain screen to use the DOF button effectively.
I sometimes use the DOF button to stop the lens down in order to test the meter and/or the aperture. Althoug I don't use the feature often enough I do value cameras with this feature more.
Until recently, I too couldn't see the "benefit" of the stop-down lever: after all, everything simply went so dim as to be "useless", didn't it?
Originally Posted by 5stringdeath
OK, then (fairly recently) I started using Super Takumar lenses and a Spotmatic-F.
This required the use of stop-down metering.
While engaged in stop-down metering, I noticed that, in stop-down mode, I could actually see the contribution of the shadow/highlight areas to my "composition" far more easily than I could in the open aperture mode. Also, I could see more easily how background elements in the scene would either add/contribute to or distract from my composition more easily than I could with the aperture wide open. This was particularly the case when "shooting contra jour".
Amazingly, to me, as I became more used to the dimmer light in the stop-down mode, I actually could see the impact of a wider or narrower aperture on the various elements of the scene, and was enabled to manipulate these effects in order to improve the end result, before pressing the shutter button.
I am fast becoming a fan of the stop-down lever, and wouldn't want a camera/lens combination without it.
(Of course, I am speaking of analogue equipment)
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DOF preview is arguably one of the reasons to use an SLR as opposed to some other kind of camera. The view camera gives the possibility of seeing the DOF on the groundglass, but the SLR also lets you focus on the groundglass up to the instant before triggering the shutter. A rangefinder allows you to focus up to the instant of exposure, but gives you no DOF preview. Then there are rangefinder press and technical cameras which might give you DOF preview on the groundglass or focusing with the rangefinder, but not both at once, though you can check DOF on the glass, insert a filmholder, and check focus with the rangefinder from there.
If you don't ever use DOF preview, maybe it would make more sense to shoot a rangefinder camera, at least when you don't require very close focusing or long lenses. Rangefinder lenses are generally sharper, because there is no mirror to design around, and the cameras are smaller, quieter and easier to handhold at lower speeds.
It's not a feature I'd exclude if I was designing a film camera, I think review comments complaining about no DOF preview are probably valid on a film SLR (and I would say probably a very minor issue on a DSLR since you can check on the screen).
I use it infrequently with 35mm, typically for handhold shots I won't use it, any time I have my camera out on a tripod for landscape or posed shots I will use it from time to time.
In my opinion, It's a lot more important to be able to judge DOF with medium and large format, because they will have very narrow DOF at wider apertures.
And, not all of us use the DOF scale or care to memorize how many meters or cm of focus you will get with x lens at y aperture. Some people prefer to "see it" in the viewfinder rather than read meters/feet off a scale (after all, one of the reasons of buying an SLR is to see through the lens).
If you do a lot of macro photography, you learn the value of the DOF preview.
I find it interesting that one can discern anything when stopped down. I have used Spotmatic equipment for years, and when stopped down, I have not been able to notice "shadow/highlight" areas. I see only a black malaise. For outdoor shots, I use the DOF scale of the lens and hyperfocal distance almost exclusively. I find that it works with near-scientific accuracy (i.e. I almost always get what I expect). Perhaps I know my apertures very well?...
Last edited by FilmOnly; 04-27-2010 at 09:46 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Originally Posted by FilmOnly