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What is the difference between AV, A, DEP and A-DEP camera modes and how to use them

Depending on the brand of your digital SLR camera, you may have noticed 2 similar yet different modes on the dial, called DEP and A-DEP. DEP may also be sybolised by the letters AV (Canon) or A (Nikon).

DEP (AV, A) and A-DEP modes, basically do the same thing, in that they allow you to set an aperture so you can control the depth of field seen within a photograph. Or in other words, it allows you to set how much of the scenery you want in focus and how much you want blured. The difference between the two camera modes, is how they achieve this.

What do the letters DEP, AV and A stand for or mean on a digital SLR camera?

The letters DEP stands for 'depth of field automatic exposure'. Sometimes DEP is replaced with the letters AV or A, meaning 'aperture priority'. When you set your camera to these modes, you also need to set an aperture F number. I won't go into detail here, as we already have a good tutorial for this setting at: What is AV mode.

What do the letters A-DEP, stand for or mean?

A-DEP stands for 'automatic depth of field', or 'auto depth of field'. Meaning, the camera sets the depth of field automactically. When the camera is set on A-DEP, the photographer doesn't need to set an aperture F number as the camera does this for them.

DOF setting on DSLR camera

How to use A-DEP mode on a digital SLR camera?

To use automatic depth of field, turn your digital SLR camera mode dial to A-DEP. Look through your viewfinder and point at the object you want to photograph, then press the shutter button half way down to focus. All the area you see covered by the focal points that flash or light up, will be in focus. Or in otherwords, will be within the automatic depth of field. The camera will choose the best aperture for that specific circumstance when you take the shot.



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