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How-to's NikoniansPress

Depth of field preview tips for your Z camera

Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell)

Keywords: dof, nikon, z7, z6, digitaldarrell

Nikon Z and automatic image preview

Automatic image preview is one of the strong features of Nikon Z cameras. Being able to see the image exactly as it will appear in final form before you take it is very powerful! However, there is one thing that many Z camera owners may not realize at first.

Depth of field (DOF) is automatically previewed in the EVF and on the Monitor of a Nikon Z camera—but down to the aperture setting of f/5.6 only! 

Limitations to the autofocus system prevents the camera from focusing well with apertures set to values below f/5.6 (too dark). Therefore, the camera limits depth of field in automatic image preview to f/5.6 and larger number apertures. Even if you are using f/16 or f/22, the depth of field seen on the EVF or Monitor is from an f/5.6 aperture setting.


Custom settings for full depth of field preview

If you need full depth of field preview, you will have to assign the Preview function to an assignable button, such as Fn1 or Fn2. Then you can press the assigned button to stop down the lens fully and see the actual depth of field, at whatever aperture.


Assign Preview to the Fn1 button for accurate DOF preview
Click for an enlargement


I assigned the DOF “Preview” function to the Fn1 button on the front of my Nikon Z7. You can use Custom setting f2: Custom control assignment to assign functions to camera buttons, as seen in figure 1 above. Assign the Preview function to one of the programmable buttons shown in figure 1, image 3, for your Z camera. That way, you will have accurate DOF preview when you need it.


Editor's note:

This is from the NikoniansPress/RockyNook Mastering the Nikon Z6/Z7 book by Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell).


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(12 Votes )

Originally written on January 10, 2019

Last updated on January 21, 2021

1 comment

Doug Twining (Docho) on July 28, 2019

Great tip!