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Depth of Field

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Depth of field refers to the part of the image, from foreground to background, that is in focus.  A shallow depth of field, mostly used in portraiture and macro photography, shows only a small portion of focus.  Aperture plays a big role in depth of field.  Larger apertures produce a relatively shallow depth of field. Smaller apertures produce greater depth of field.  The image below is a good example of the depth of field where near and far items are out of focus while the middle is sharp.

Depth of Field

Also see: Aperture.

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Reference: Wikipedia