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Small depth of field possible on non-dslr?
Hello, I tried searching but just found results for SLR cameras..

However, I did learn a lot about how to get a smaller depth of field to get "portrait" shots with a clear subject and a blurry background..

I'm trying to accomplish that with my Sony DSC-W55. It appears to have an aperture range of F2.8 - F5.2 and a 38mm - 114mm zoom range. I attempted to play around with some of the manual settings, but that was before I knew anything about photography. They didn't work. Is it even possible to do that with a cheap digital camera?..

Comments (15)

Just learned some more info..

I understand that to get a blurry background, you need to stand back, and zoom in on the subject. The small zoom range on pocket sized cameras limits that significantly..

What about the Sony DSC-H7? Would it be capable of that with it's aperture range of F2.7 - F4.5 and zoom range of 31mm - 465mm?..

Comment #1

Sportbiker_kev wrote:.

What about the Sony DSC-H7? Would it be capable of that with itsaperture range of F2.7 - F4.5 and zoom range of 31mm - 465mm?.

The 'portrait' mode of a lot of Point & Shoot cameras will do the same thing as what you're trying to accomplish: jack up the aperture as wide as it can, and play with the white balance to get better skin tones..

The Canon S2, S3, S5 also have a relatively fast glass compared to the Sony H7. F2.8 - F3.5 from 35mm -> 432mm I believe..

Interestingly enough, this review [http://www.dcviews.com/...views/Sony-H5-Canon-S3/Sony-H5-Canon-S3-review.htm] seems to indicate that the previous generation sony had even faster aperture at the telephoto-end (f2.8 - f3.7 from 36mm 432mm)..

Comment #2

Sportbiker_kev wrote:.

Hello, I tried searching but just found results for SLR cameras..

However, I did learn a lot about how to get a smaller depth of fieldto get "portrait" shots with a clear subject and a blurry background..

I'm trying to accomplish that with my Sony DSC-W55. It appears tohave an aperture range of F2.8 - F5.2 and a 38mm - 114mm zoom range.I attempted to play around with some of the manual settings, but thatwas before I knew anything about photography. They didn't work. Isit even possible to do that with a cheap digital camera?.

No, but you can fake it very effectively in post-processing...

Comment #3

Sportbiker_kev wrote:.

I understand that to get a blurry background, you need to stand back,and zoom in on the subject. The small zoom range on pocket sizedcameras limits that significantly..

Not exactly..

What about the Sony DSC-H7? Would it be capable of that with itsaperture range of F2.7 - F4.5 and zoom range of 31mm - 465mm?.

The fairly small f/4.5 aperture will not help matters..

Want to be fairly close to subject, within a few feet depending on the relative size of the subject, focal length zoomed in (up until aperture starts to change), aperture at largest opening size, background beyond subject far away..

There's some combination of all of the above that will get the best shallow DOF the particular camera is capable of for a given photographic situation..

The more you have to stand back from your subject and the smaller the aperture is (larger number), the less shallow the DOF will be..

Here are some bird feeder pics I took recently with a Panosonic FZ20..

It has a 1/2.5" sensor (same size as your Sony DSC-W55), longer tele zoom length, and most importantly a constant f/2.8 aperture. The camera was within a few inches of the birds. I would not get this degree of shallow DOF with that camera if I were shooting larger subjects..

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1033&message=26643331.

Here's an informal comparison I did awhile back comparing DOF amongst some cameras I owned..

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...31&message=24295868&q=fence+50&qf=m.

Good Day,Roonal.

'Money doesn't buy happiness, but it makes for an extravagant depression' by golf tournament sportscaster..

Comment #4

Sportbiker_kev wrote:.

Just learned some more info..

I understand that to get a blurry background, you need to stand back,and zoom in on the subject. The small zoom range on pocket sizedcameras limits that significantly..

Yes, that will help. Although DOF won't change (and will be still not very shallow), the amount of DOF relative to subject distance will be decreased, and the telemagnification will make the OOF elements look more out-of-focus..

I can't explain it better than that, but try it and see what I mean..

Something 10 feet behind your subject in a shot from 100 ft away will look bigger than the same object when you shoot from 25 feet away at a shorter focal length. Therefore, any blur it has will be magnified as well..

Greg..

Comment #5

Roonal wrote:.

The more you have to stand back from your subject and the smaller theaperture is (larger number), the less shallow the DOF will be..

Most P&S cameras have limited maximum aperture range (like 2.8-3.5). So the amount of DOF you lose when you zoom in due to smaller f/stop is more than overwhelmed by the visual impact of the longer focal length.

400mm.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

28mm.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

The 400mm looks more OOF, right? But DOF is the same..

Greg..

Comment #6

Rarely have I seen fake bokeh that doesn't look fake..

Chefziggyhttp://www.pbase.com/chefziggy/lecream..

Comment #7

The biggest factor limiting DOF (or maximizing it actually) is the small sensor size. DSLR's have larger sensors and get thinner DOF at the same aperture as a P&S. Full frame DSLR's have even thinner DOF. Medium format, thinner still..

In order to get any noticeable background blur with a small sensor P&S camera you need to be close to your subject, zoomed in a much as you can and have the BG as far away as possible. And even then you won't get the bokeh even the low end DSLR's can do with a cheap lens..

I know because I tried and tried to prove it could be done before I had a DSLR. Even my best effort didn't compare to the first few shots I took with my D70. And I wasn't even trying with it..

Chefziggyhttp://www.pbase.com/chefziggy/lecream..

Comment #8

I'm just learning here, so bear with me..

I just noticed the SX100IS has a few things that could be advantageous to achieve the smaller depth of field I'm going for:- 36-360mm (10x optical zoom)- F2.8-4.3- Aperture and shutter priority so you can manually change it.

Now a couple of questions:.

- To achieve the smaller depth of field, I know I want a larger aperture which is the smaller F-number. But am I correct in assuming that the first F-number is when the camera isn't zoomed in at all, and the last F-number is when the camera is fully zoomed in? And I want the last f-number to be as small as possible for this, right?.

- And am I looking for the right features to achieve the small DOF? Smaller f-number with manual aperture priority, and more zoom? Or do I have it all wrong, or should I look for something else? Please help..

If you have any suggestions for non-slr cameras that could shoot a small DOF, please let me know...

Comment #9

Yes you can have small depth of field...this photo was taken with my cell phoneUse macro mode for better results.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Shooting with: Fuji S6500 & Nokia N73http://www.olhares.com/kokas..

Comment #10

Sportbiker_kev wrote:.

I'm just learning here, so bear with me..

I just noticed the SX100IS has a few things that could beadvantageous to achieve the smaller depth of field I'm going for:- 36-360mm (10x optical zoom)- F2.8-4.3- Aperture and shutter priority so you can manually change it.

Now a couple of questions:- To achieve the smaller depth of field, I know I want a largeraperture which is the smaller F-number. But am I correct in assumingthat the first F-number is when the camera isn't zoomed in at all,and the last F-number is when the camera is fully zoomed in? And Iwant the last f-number to be as small as possible for this, right?.

Yes. Shoot wideopen. You lose aperture size when you zoom in..

- And am I looking for the right features to achieve the small DOF?Smaller f-number with manual aperture priority, and more zoom? Or doI have it all wrong, or should I look for something else? Pleasehelp..

As mentioned, macro mode helps, which usually means zooming all the way in and backing up only enough to frame your subject..

In auto mode, in less than perfect light, you'll likely be shooting wide open anyways..

Greg..

Comment #11

With the smaller sensor, f2.8 and f11 are virtually identical as far as DOF goes. The Fuji S602z I had allowed a constant f2.8 throughout it's zoom range. I couldn't see any difference between that and f11 at any focal length..

And while macro can help, it's hard to take a portrait that way..

If control over DOF is that important to you. Then I strongly suggest you start looking at something other than P&S cameras. Even the few prosumer cameras still out there are a challenge when it comes to DOF..

Just as an example of the difference, here is a portrait shot with my D70. Notice the background has a nice blur going even at f8. She was sitting about 6 feet from the BG..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Nikon D70 ,Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR1/100s f/8.0 at 125.0mm ISO 200.

Chefziggyhttp://www.pbase.com/chefziggy/lecream..

Comment #12

I don't think that'll work for shooting my motorcycle, which is what I'm after...

Comment #13

Portraits usually are taken with very shallow depth of field with a lens 90mm to 105mm. Check the camera manual to see how best to get these results. The focus must be on the eyes. The Bg. is usually out of focus. If the manual does not tell you the information you want then phone the manufacture and talk to the tech support to find the answer you want. You have spend good money on the camera you are entitled to an answer you are happy with...

Comment #14

Faking transitioning blur outside the desired DOF range is tough..

If your background is entirely on a distant plane with nothing "connecting" it to the in-range foreground (e.g. head or head/torso shot against a mountain range, or something similar) then you might be able to fake it reasonably well..

But if your out-of-focus (OOF) areas are on several different planes, and it's obvious they belong on those different planes, and especially if they are connected somehow, then faking it is much harder because the smooth transition from in-focus to OOF is very difficult to achieve artificially..

ChefZiggy wrote:.

Rarely have I seen fake bokeh that doesn't look fake..

Chefziggyhttp://www.pbase.com/chefziggy/lecream.

Http://www.pbase.com/digirob..

Comment #15

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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