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I'm very new to Blender, and am struggling to even move the view / camera

I can rotate, pan up/down and left/right, zoom in/out... but I can't actually move forward / backward?

Is the only way to move forward / backward simply by zooming in/out? would this not really mess things up in terms of depth of field?

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The most convenient way to move the camera imho is to activate the Camera from View option in the N panel > View. Now when you'll be in camera view it will work as if you were in viewport navigation:

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Since 4.1 this option is also available in the Navigate tools:

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Also it's convenient to have the Orbit Around Selection option enabled in the Edit > Preferences > Orbit & Pan.

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