Question about Nikon D70 Digital Camera with 18-70mm Lens

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Depth of field preeview button

I have two Nikon D70's and several excellent lenses. Although not hugely experienced Iam not a beginner photographer. I understand the concept of depth of field and its effects. However I remain mystified as to the value of the DoF preview button. I feel I can get a clearer view of depth of field through the viewfinder without use of this function(after focussing) than with it. So far no one has been able to explain to me what exactly I shoud be seeing through the viewfinder when I press the DoF preview button. It is never explained in photography books or tutorials except to say that the DoF preview button enables you to see exactly the DoF that you will get at a certain aperture etc. It seems to me that it is actually harder to see DoF when the button is presssed as the image becomes darker at small apertures and seems unchanged at larger ones. This issue has frustrated me for several years and I would love to understand what it is i am missing!Can you help? denise.

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  • waratah Dec 09, 2007

    Dear Eastpole, thank you for such a lengthy articulate and logical explanation! I will certainly try out the thngs you have suggested including a comparison with a Pentax Spotmatic that I have inherited from a family member. Your comment about the increased difficulty in seeeing DOF with a D70 also helped me to feel less of an idiot! i really appreciate your time and help. many thanks. waratah.



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That's a really good question, Denise.

One problem is that a D70 viewfinder is dark to start with. I don't notice this when shooting with mine unless I pick up my old Pentax Spotmatic for some reason, and then I am reminded how bright an optical viewfinder can be. So, in many cases, you will find the DOF preview useless not because it isn't working, but because the scene is simply too dark for you to see the differences.

Second thing is to notice what DOF you are seeing when you DON'T have DOF pressed. I think all modern cameras give you viewfinder at wide open aperatures -- so until you press DOF, you are seeing the focal depth produced by your lens' widest aperature. So don't expect to see much difference if you hit DOF with the aperture set at 2.2 on a F/1.8 lens -- you're comparing very similar lens apertures.

In fact, I notice that with my F/1.8 lens, I don't see any differences in where my focus lies until I have closed the lens down to maybe F/8. But beyond there, I can clearly see that more and more of the scene is in focus.

If you're still curious but not seeing it, try some test shots. Change the aperture and using shutter time to compensate, and see if your photo DOF matches the preview.

Hope that makes sense!
-- eastpole

Posted on Dec 07, 2007


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Photos to dark

The aperture and shutter speed setting depends on the amount of light and on the effect you want to achieve. For any given lighting situation there are many possible aperture/shutter speed settings that are all equally valid. However, the aperture also determines the depth of field, and the shutter speed can either freeze action or allow it to blur. Only you as the photographer can decide which of those valid exposure settings best conveys your vision.
As to how to determine the proper exposure, there are several possibilities. One is to use a light meter. If you don't have a separate light meter, you can use another lens and meter through it. It may not give you exactly the same field of view, but it should get you into the ballpark. Then there's the "sunny-16 rule." This says that under a bright sun, the proper exposure is f/16 with a shutter speed equivalent to 1 over the ISO. Of course this is just a starting point, and you can adjust the aperture/shutter speed to achieve the desired result.
I suggest you visit your local library. They should have introductory books on photography which will explain all this in depth.

Mar 06, 2012 | Tokina f/NIKON- 80-200/4.5-5.6 SZX Zoom...


Controlling Depth of Field

A photographed object will only appear sharp in an area a specific distance from the camera. The human eye and brain still accept some areas of the image as acceptably sharp if they lie near the plane of focus and already show a small degree of blur. This zone, which is still in acceptably sharp focus, is called depth of field.

You'd typically want a wide depth of field when shooting landscapes, so as to have everything from the flower in the foreground to the mountains on the horizon in focus. You'd typically want a narrow depth of field for such subjects as portraits and flowers, blurring the background to avoid distractions.

How large this depth of field is depends on the distance to the subject, the aperture, and the focal length of the lens. Whether you're shooting film or digital makes no difference.

If the plane of focus lies further away from the camera, the depth of field is wider than if the camera focuses on an object close by.

Small apertures (large f/numbers) result in a wider depth of field.

Short focal length lenses (wide angle) have a wider depth of field than long focal length lenses (telephoto).

The depth of field is determined by the actual focal length of the lens, not the "35-mm equivalent" often used in the camera specifications. Because most compact cameras have sensors much smaller than SLRs, they have much shorter lenses, giving wider depth of field. This is great for landscapes, not so great for portraits.

To get a narrow depth of field, set the aperture as large as you can (smaller f/numbers), move in close to the subject, and zoom in. If your camera doesn't give you direct control over the aperture, try using the Portrait mode. And yes, the last two items above, moving in close and zooming in, are in opposition, You'll have to decide on the best balance for your picture.

To get a wide depth of field, set the aperture as small as you can (larger f/numbers), move away from the subject, and zoom out. If your camera doesn't give you direct control over the aperture, try using the Landscape mode.

Before going on vacation or shooting your child's wedding, experiment with these factors. Shoot things in your backyard or at a park, trying for both narrow and deep depth of field, then look at the pictures on your computer.

on Jun 23, 2011 | Cameras


Depth of field is the characteristic of how much of, or how deeply, the...

Depth of field is the characteristic of how much of, or how deeply, the photograph is in focus. If the main subject is in focus but the foreground and background are blurred, the photo is said to have a shallow depth of field. if most of the photo is in focus, including the foreground and background, the photo is said to have a wide depth of field.

Depth of field is controlled by the aperture setting:

- A wide aperture setting (indicated by a low f-stop number) will provide shallow depth of field, resulting in the main subject being in focus and the foreground and background being blurry. This setting is particularly useful when taking portraits or when using a macro lens.

- A narrow aperture setting (indicated by a higher f-stop number) will provide wider depth of field, resulting in the entire photo being in focus. This setting is particularly useful when taking landscape or wide-angle photographs.

The photographs below are examples of how the same subject will photograph using different aperture settings. Note that as the aperture closes, which will allow less light to reach the image sensor, the shutter speed gets faster to produce the appropriate exposure.





I think you have got a general idea about depth filed. If you have further questions, you can ask me directly.

depth of field - what is depth field - how depth field affects picture - how to adjust depth field - DEPTH FIELD - depthfield - DEPTHFIELD

on Jan 08, 2011 | Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W50 Digital Camera

1 Answer

I want to take a picture that is focused on the subject, while everything else in the picture is blurry

What you want is a limited depth of field. There are three factors that control the depth of field: subject distance, lens focal length, and lens aperture. The greater the distance, the wider the DoF. The shorter the lens, the greater the DoF. The smaller the aperture, the greater the DoF.

One problem with compact cameras is that they have very small sensors. This means that they have short lenses. And short lenses mean they have wide depth of field. This is often an advantage, in that more of the scene is in focus. Unfortunately, this works against you when you don't want a wide DoF.

At the short end, the S2's lens focal length is 6mm. This will put just about everything in focus. Even at the other end, the focal length is 72mm. With a 35mm film camera, most portrait photographers use lenses at least 85mm in focal length in an attempt to minimize DoF to draw attention to the face and blur the background.

Unfortunately, the best you'll be able to do is to set the camera to the portrait mode, get as close to the subject as possible, and zoom in as much as possible. I realize the last two conflict with each other, you'll just have to find the proper balance for whatever you're photographing.

Nov 18, 2010 | Canon PowerShot S2 IS Digital Camera

1 Answer

When i took a picture with my nikon d70 the the outcome is quite bright where to adjust. i'm a beginner

1. You could lower the ISO setting. 2. You could lower the "exposure compensation" setting. It's the button that's half-black/half-white with a plus and minus. There are many other ways but you really should carefully read your instruction manual and experiment.

Oct 29, 2010 | Nikon D70 Body Only Digital Camera

1 Answer

Is the Vivitar 21mm 3.8 a good lens for Nikon?

For what you can buy them for these days, they're excellent and were usually made by Kiron who made excellent lenses in their own name and also for Tokina and Vivitar.

But unless you're using a full frame Nikon (i.e. 35mm or the full frame digital professional bodies) then it's nothing special as it has the same angle of view as a 31.5mm lens (close enough to a 28mm for discussion purposes). A 28mm f3.8 offers no advantage over many of the kit zoom lenses which come with many Nikons and with the huge advances in optical design since the 21mm Vivitar was made are likely to be optically superior.

On balance, if your Nikon is a 35mm film SLR or a full frame sensor version then go for it as it's a fantastic super-wide angle lens. With anything else, it simply doesn't make much sense. What it will still do though is offer fantastic depth of field which will be lacking in relative terms on a 28mm lens designed for APS-C sensors.

Feb 23, 2010 | Vivitar Super Wide Angle 19mm f/3.8 Manual...

1 Answer

What is the solution

You are dealing with "depth of field", or simply put (?), the range from near to far of an image that appears in focus. To increase the depth of focus, the camera must be set to a smaller aperture (higher numbered). Using a wider angle lens helps also. Focusing on the mid-point (near to far range) will also increase the apparent focus range. This is one of the most complicated photographic issues, and much has been written about it. Google "depth of field" for about 4 million explanations.

May 26, 2009 | Nikon D60 Digital Camera

1 Answer

Grainey photos

Firstly check the ISO setting isnt up high, this will introduce more noise than a lower setting.

A reset may help press and hold the +/- and AF buttons for more than 2 seconds (page 44 of the manual)

else there is a full reset button just below the USB port (page 129 of the manual)
you can download the manual from or

Unlikely but possible, depends what you mean by grainy, check the sensor hasnt a fine coating of dust, not on a nikon but I had a kind of grainy effect after photographing in a print works where they used a very fine dust, I foolishly changed lenses and was left with a fine dust coating on the sensor which gave a speckled/grainy effect...

best of luck

May 26, 2008 | Nikon D80 Digital Camera with 18-135mm...

2 Answers

D70 Err message

You most likely need the shutter replaced. I see them frequently. Not something you want to try yourself, as it is an in depth repair.

May 23, 2008 | Nikon D70s Digital Camera

1 Answer

Does Tokina-12-24mmF/4Pro DX complies with Nikon-D3 FX Format

Barrel distortion like you describe can always be a problem, especially at ultra-wide focal lengths like yours at 12mm. Some of this can be compensated for in software... Adobe Photoshop CS2 and Elements do a reasonable job, IMO, Bibble Pro ( does even better, especially with the 3rd party plugins like Percy perspective correction. These are things we have to live with when we have smaller sensors and ultra-wide angle lenses. There is nothing wrong with your lens, you will probably find that this distortion is minimized if you use a longer focal length (say 14mm) and/or stop down the lens a bit.. try f8, wide angle lenses have huge depth of field.

May 20, 2008 | Tokina 12-24mm f/4 Pro DX for Nikon

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