4x5 vs 8x10 DOF for street photography
I'm still in the process of wrapping my head around the math of how the movements will affect DOF on a LF camera and I would normally wait to buy a system until I fully understood this but I have the opportunity to get a nice 8x10 at a good price but need to act relatively quick. Problem is I'm not sure if a 4x5 is a better choice. I will be using the camera mainly to shoot in the street with the end goal making really big (maybe around 5ft by 6ft) enlargements with very deep fields of focus. Subject movement will definitely be an issue so I'd say shooting at 1/400th f11 (or even f8) on 400 speed film might be typical.
I know this is a highly subjective question and there are a lot of in-camera as well as in-scene factors that will change from shot to shot but I'm wondering if, in general, 8x10 with it's larger negative size will be able to yield sufficient DOF. Do any of you guys have experience shooting 8x10 or 4x5 in a situation like this or maybe just have some advice based on your best guesses?
A typical scene might involve the camera at eye level with a person/car/etc 10-20ft away, a building facade 40ft back, and tall buildings in the background 200 or 300ft distant. If possible, I would like to have everything in focus or very near in focus.
It seems to me that in general this type of situation would lend itself well to the wedge shape of the plane of focus created by lens movements. However, I'm not sure that the increase in apparent resolution yielded by the 8x10 negative will compensate for it's other disadvantages vs 4x5 in this area:
1) more limited movements (intuitively this doesn't make sense to me but I've read this in multiple places. I understand that for the same field of view you have to use a longer lens but you are also placing the lens farther from the film plane so wouldn't the proportion of the image circle to the film area be equal in 4x5 and 8x10? )
2) the requirement of opening the aperture up more to achieve sufficiently fast shutter speeds.
I understand that for any given print size the 8x10 enlargement will have less DOF than the 4x5, but I'm wondering if you guys think the movements of an 8x10 system will be able to create the kind of DOF I'd like. Not having any experience with LF before, and not fully understanding the math yet, I'm not sure just how "magic" LF movements are regarding DOF.
Also, portability will not be an issue since I am usually shooting within striking distance of my car.
Last edited by gongman5000; 01-20-2011 at 08:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.