I agree that focusing a lens is part of the job of the photographer which he doesn’t want to miss. It can not be fully replaced by adjustments in postproduction. Imagine halations for example when having a slight overexposure at unsharp areas. It’s hardly possible to fake them because the surprise factor is part of their nature. Photography is photography, capturing the light respectively, and not digital scanning of the environment. Imagine a world where all light effects on pictures can be named by insiders: ‘look, it’s PSFilter#163!’
Technology aside, it’s an interesting question how much DOF we need on a plane picture. As we all know, it’s a compositional possibility to guide the viewers eye, and needed in 3d to achieve photorealism. But how much of the impression of realism is learned by viewing plane photographs/films? We have the possibility today to show for example the 3d model of a tiny little fly totally sharp on full screen, but people will miss the DOF, especially the poor DOF of lenses at macro range.
Did painters use DOF before photography appeared?
Imagine a flamish still life from 1600 with DOF - would look rather strange. Most painters didn’t want to force the focus of the viewer, saying, ‘hey, it’s my compostion, you have to look first where i want!’.
i can see now some people coming up with perspective guidance, colour theories and stuff, so i better add, exceptions admitted
Maybe time to think about the nature of DOF before this technology is getting more sophisticated. I can see the need of it especially with the improvement of 3d film technologies, where DOF is getting a big problem already today. The good old tricks as used by Hitchcock for example (like building a 2m telephone for the foreground) don’t fully convince in 3d.