The 'limitations of DOF'

There was a forum which included this comment on the Nikon 1 system - '....given the limitations of DOF and quality fundamental to the small sensor size....' OK, its the usual ill-thought out, repeat after me, cliched, closed-minded thinking and writing that characterises certain parts of the photographic internet, i.e. 'I read what everybody else has written so I just spew it back like a parrot', but its also meaningless and just plain wrong. And yes I should probably just let it pass, but stuff like this just makes me angry, because its so crass and annoying. 

'limitations of DOF', what nonsense. But unfortunately we all know what it means - the sensor of the Nikon 1 system and the focal lengths that follow from that, have more depth of field than 'equivalents' from larger sensors. And within the restricted, rigid dogma of what passes for thinking in many of these chatter shops, this is a bad thing right? Wrong!

I wrote this in the post for one of my replies.

'Limitations of DOF' works both ways. For some uses too much is a limitation, for other uses too little is a limitation. The other point to make is that DOF is just as dependant on focal length and subject to camera distance as it is on lens aperture or sensor size.

The best way to proceed is surely to acknowledge that we pick what we want for what we need to achieve and to simply dismiss one system because it doesn't fit with what we do, when it would suit someone else perfectly is, I would suggest, not particularly helpful.'


Here are some examples of shallow depth of field from different cameras and different lenses, including a Nikon 1 camera. So which exhibit the 'limitations of DOF' ??












 On the second part of the quote - 'limitations of .......quality fundamental to the small sensor size' there is actually very little to say. The 'quality' of an image has little to do with the sensor size used and everything to do with the 'quality' of the photographers brain and I can only guess at the size of that organ in people who let what they use dictate the 'quality' of the images they produce.