Film Making Myths

The Bigger the Sensor, the Shallower the Depth of Field

Ram Manoj

5/3/20221 min read

Bigger is always better when it comes to camera sensors, but there has long been a misconception that the larger your camera’s sensor, the better the depth of field. This contributes to the desired film look, but a larger sensor does not always imply a shallower depth of field in your frame. The depth of field is determined by the aperture, focal length, and distance from an object. It is important to note that none of these variables address the size of your sensor. Getting the desired depth of field requires careful shot planning and attention to framing design principles, as with most things in the filmmaking world.However, because the size of your camera sensor is related to depth of field, this myth isn’t completely debunked. A larger sensor produces higher image quality and a longer focal length, which can aid in achieving the desired look. More importantly, you will not have to deal with the cropping issues that smaller sensors do.A smaller sensor will crop an image, resulting in a narrower field of view for the frame. If a camera with a large sensor and a camera with a smaller sensor both recorded in the same location, the image from the smaller sensor would be less visible. Backing the camera away gives you the same view as a larger sensor, but the focal length changes, making shallow depth of field much more difficult to achieve.A larger sensor can help you achieve a great depth of field, just as a better camera will always make your visual goals easier to achieve. Nothing will automatically give you a shallow depth of field, so always plan your shots accordingly, regardless of the equipment you have.