Depths Of Despair

One thing a number of m4/3 users lament, on an all too regular basis, is the fact that they can’t achieve the same shallow depth of field that one can with say full frame cameras. They want to emulate that razor thin depth of field experience where, if you photograph a beautiful model, only one eyeball is in sharp focus and everything else is blurred.

Fashions on the field - Melbourne Victoria

Fashions on the field – Melbourne Victoria

I do understand that isolating a subject from foreground and background can have significant enhancing effects on the subject, but not every subject and perhaps especially, when it comes to people. That said, you can isolate subjects without too much difficulty and you don’t need f0.7 lenses or the like; f2 has done well for many photographers, past and present. So I just don’t see the need for the long faces when it comes to m4/3s lenses.

Tas - always snoozing

Tas – always snoozing

I’ve certainly had discussions with photographers that strive for this effect, but I always come away none the wiser. And when it comes to non-photographers (read clients), I’ve pretty much garnered that they actually like more depth of field, to be able to clearly see all the features that make the person who they are. The subject may have beautiful eyes, but it doesn’t hurt to highlight all of their features and character.

Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth - Melbourne Victoria

Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth – Melbourne Victoria

Selection of depth of field also needs to be carefully managed, as you don’t want to lose sight of the surrounds, which are often as much a part of the scene as the subject. The surrounds, even if only subtle, add to the story behind the subject and it’s important that it should be recognisable. And when an important component of the scene in the background is recognisable, it completes the story.

Blessing of the Dogs - Werribee Victoria

Blessing of the Dogs – Werribee Victoria

Clearly all of this is very subjective, as is everything in photography, and much of my views comes from an older style, as well as from the news work I’ve done. That said, I don’t feel I’ve ever been limited by the lenses that I’m using.