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How does sensor size affect depth of field?

vharri2001

UK
11 posts

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vharri2001 Registered since 14th Dec 2009
Wed 05-May-10 04:35 PM

I've been looking into this and I thought I had is worked out expect I've now stumbled across something that's confused me.

I couldn't work out why people say that cropped sensors impact depth of field. How could this be? After all the focal distance doesn't change, the aperture doesn't change, the distance between the lens and the sensor doesn't change.

I came to the conclusion that actually when people say this they mean that "based on the same field of view" it's harder to get shallow depth of field becuase you have to use shorter lenses on a cropped sensor for the same field of view. So a 50mm at f2.8 provides a more shallow depth of field at x metres than a 35mm lens which provides a similar field.

Stick a 50mm on a crop sensor will give you exactly the same depth of field as a 50mm on a full frame at the same distance (although you see less of the image!).

So I thought I had it, but I was looking at the application f8 on my iphone and the same lens is giving me different depth of field on my two camera bodies (a D80 and a D700). Now I'm confused again.

Can anybody offer any insight?

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