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Creative Camera Controls — Learn To Use DOF Preview Button For Engaging Images

Cameras, the sophisticated piece of technology are a great help to us photographers. Various shooting modes, in-camera effects, live view modes, white balance settings, virtual horizon feature, Image Stabilization / Vibration Reduction, bracketing and the other such features effectively help the beginners to make decent images. DOF preview button is one amongst the smart features offered by most of the modern cameras. DOF preview button, as the name suggests allow you to preview the overall depth of field you will actually get when a photograph is clicked.

Wait, let me clarify it with an example. When you are out shooting the huge mountains and want everything from foreground details to background serenity in sharp focus, you are sure to set the aperture to a higher f-number say f/11 or f/22 (if that is supported by your camera lens).

Similarly when taking the portraits, you need to have the subject in focus while blurring the background details. Here you will be needing a shallower depth of field and accordingly choose the a lower f-number.

But you never know what is going to be the “sweet spot” for taking a focused, crisp and tack sharp photograph of the beautiful scenery or an awesome portrait with dreamy effect. The best thing to do then is to take some test shots while changing the aperture or better yet utilize the DOF preview button.

DOF preview button will allow you to view the area in focus before actually taking the photograph. So, what actually happens when you press the DOF preview button? Normally when viewing the scene through the viewfinder, the aperture is wide open to allow all the light it can so that you can see things bright and clear. But this view is not a true reflection of field. The DOF-preview button comes into play. It actually closes down the diaphragm to the aperture (that you have set for the shot) and allows you to view the field in focus through viewfinder.

F/1.4 Knocks Walls Down

Want to try it virtually? The article on Depth Of Field Preview over at Photozone demonstrates the visual effect of pressing the DOF preview button on the view we get to see in the camera’s viewfinder; which otherwise displays view irrelevant of the aperture settings. So, as you go on changing the f-numbers, DOF preview button reflects what will we actually get in the final result. One thing to note here: when your press the DOF preview button, it tends to darken the view in viewfinder owing to the smaller aperture opening (if set so).

Though under-utilized, DOF preview is an amazing tool for the photographers. I came to learn about it while playing around with various camera controls and settings. It was worth giving a try. And now it’s your chance to try your hands at it!

Where Can I Find DOF Preview Button On My Camera?

On most of the DSLRs, DOF preview button is located on the front of the camera, just next to the lens, the place where the left hand rests while holding the camera. If you don’t find the DOF preview button at this place, you can reach out to your camera’s manual for locating the button.

Make it a habit to use this amazing feature for greatly enhancing the results; especially when shooting in aperture-priority mode.

How do you use the depth-of-field-preview button on your camera?

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