on depth of field traps

"M43 lenses cannot render (enough) shallow depth of field" I.E. Bokeh.

It does not take long to find that little pearl on the internet, searched for or not. Talk to a professional photographer about their fails and near misses and focus miss/too shallow depth of field are often the culprits.

Last evening I was chatting with my father in law on his back deck and taking some useless snaps as the light changed. Something hit me on viewing the images. I have been falling in the trap of thinking that the ample depth provided by M43 lenses allows me to be careless, using wider and wider apertures just because I can.

The images above show how the extended depth of field that the M43 range gives can disguise the slight focus miss of the shot, but on close inspection, the yellow lanterns in front are a little out. Two things are at play here: (1) The focus miss is not terminal. Even on a large print a little clarity enhancement would probably hide it and (2) depth of field is still a real consideration, even on a moderate lens (75mm) when using a wide aperture (f1.8) even at about 10 feet.

Another example, this time at about 20 foot distance.

The weather gauge looks ok, but the focus is hitting the cup at the back. Both images are displaying the non firmware updated OMD back focus tendency.

The other extremes can also be a bit surprising

This is at a full frame equivalent of about 350mm at f16 (174mm f8)

This is at a full frame equivalent of about 350mm at f16 (174mm f8)

and...

Full frame equivalent of 24mm at f11 (12mm f5.6). The roof, cloud, foreground headlight and far guard are still soft.

Full frame equivalent of 24mm at f11 (12mm f5.6). The roof, cloud, foreground headlight and far guard are still soft.

So, on a purely practical note, there can far too easily be a lack of expected depth of field, even when all the cards are stacked with you.