Checking depth of field

When you look through your viewfinder and press the shutter button halfway, you can get only a partial indication of the depth of field that your current camera settings will produce. You can see the effect of focal length and the camera-to-subject distance, but because the aperture doesn't actually open to your selected f-stop until you take the picture, the viewfinder doesn't show you how that setting will affect depth of field.

By using the depth of field preview button on your camera, however, you can do just that. Almost hidden away on the front of your camera, just below the lens-release button, the Depth-of-Field Preview button is the tiny, unmarked silver button shown in Figure 6-13.

Depth-of-field Preview button

Depth-of-field Preview button

Figure 6-13: Press this button to see how the aperture setting will affect depth of field.

To use this feature, just press and hold the shutter button halfway down and then press and hold the Depth-of-Field Preview button with the other hand. You'll hear a little whirring noise, and the scene in the viewfinder may get either brighter or darker, depending on the f-stop. After the preview engages, you can release the shutter button and then rotate the Main dial to see how changing the f-stop affects the depth of field. (The exception is when the camera is set to A-DEP mode, in which you have no control over aperture.)

Note that the preview doesn't engage in P, Tv, Av, or A-DEP mode if your current aperture and shutter speed aren't adequate to expose the image properly. You have to solve the exposure issue before you can use the preview.

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