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Old Jul 16, 2006, 1:28 PM   #1
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I've had my Olympus c7070 for nearly a year now and I'm very pleased with it except for a few things.
One thing annoys me so much that I'm contemplating buying a new camera. I want to take portraits with very shallow depth of field, which seems impossible to do. I've tried to use aperture 2,8-4,5, zoom in the person very closely, but no matter what I do it seems as if the background is equally sharp and not blurred which is what I want to do.
I'm surprised that so little has been written about this fact. People just seem to be praising this camera and I see no comments on this.
Anyone else with similar problems, ideas or tips.

Desperate for help

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Old Jul 26, 2006, 10:08 AM   #2
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I purchased my C 7070 8 months ago and started playing with the depth of field feature just last night. I am experiencing the same problem that you are experiencing. I contacted Olympus last night and the support tech experimented with his C7070 while I was on the phone with him. He could not get the depth of field effect to work, He stated to me that the camera just was not capable of out of focus shooting. I was not satisfied with the answer. So I called Olympus back the next day to talk with another tech. He spent at least 45 minutes trying the feature to work and to no avail was unable to. He did state that it was very strange to have the aperture priority feature and not be able to control depth of field.

Please let me know if you are successful in unlocking the mystery. Perhaps it's some sspecial setting that we are overlooking.


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Old Jul 26, 2006, 1:09 PM   #3
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Tonight I am going to experiment with changing the AF/MF to "MF" to see if this doesn't solve the problem.:?
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Old Jul 26, 2006, 9:18 PM   #4
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Controlling the DOF is very different & difficult with your type of camera, compared to SLR or dSLR cameras.

It is the same for most non SLR cameras, although the C7070 has a more 'wide angle' lens than others.

Although we think of focal lengths in 35mm equivalent terms, the real, actual focal lengths are very much smaller.

For example the C7070 has 27 - 110mm in 35mm terms, but the actual focal lengths are 5.7mm - 22.8mm. These are extremely short, and have wide DOF. Usually that is a bonus, giving sharp focus for most shots. But for your purpose, it is hard to get the background out of focus.

One technique is to set the lens on a wide aperture. Get further away from the subject. Select maximum zoom, and have the subject a long distance from the background.

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Old Jul 27, 2006, 10:45 AM   #5
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Get closer, frame tighter.

The reason you have more Depth of Field with a non-DSLR digital camera is because of the actual focal length of the lens, as already pointed out by Baz

As a result of a very tiny sensor compared to 35mm film, the lens on most non-dslr digital cameras can have a much shorter actual focal length, to get any given 35mmequivalentfocal length (i.e, the same angle of view as you'd have with the lens on a 35mm camera)..

Look at the front of your lens and you'll probably see the actual focal length printed (along with it's aperture ratings for the wide angle and full telephoto zoom positions).

So, your subject occupies a much larger percentage of the frame at any given actual focal length, compared to a 35mm camera at the same distance to subject with most digicams, and you'll have much more Depth of Field compared to a camera with a larger sensor (or film).. This isbecause Depth of Field is computed by the actual versus 35mm equivalent focal length,focus distance,and aperture.

Your ability to blur the background for any given aperture depends on your subject size, the percentage of the frame you need it to occupy (which you can use focal length or the distance to your subject to change), and the distance to the background that you want your subject to stand out from. Of course, using the largest available aperture (represented by the smallest f/stop number) helps - but this is usually not enough to achieve the desired results for larger subjects with most non-DSLR models (i.e., your people photos).

Your best bet is to frame as tightly as possible (fill the frame by getting in closer or using more zoom). In other words, go for a tight head and shoulders, versus a full length shot. You'll want to use the camera's largest available aperture (smallest f/stop number), and put as much distance as possible between the subject and background.

You could also try focusing in front of the subject (so that your subject is barely in the area of acceptable sharpness).

Load this Depth of Field Calculator and selectyour camera model. Then, plug in the *actual* focal length of the lens, focus distance and aperture to calculate Depth of Field. Keep in mind that "acceptable sharpness" is not the same thing as "acceptable blur" though.


Of course, keep in mind that when you use more optical zoom, you'll need to be further away from your subject for it to occupy the same percentage of the frame (hence, cancelling out thebenefits of longer focal lengths in some shooting conditions where you'd want less Depth of Field, especially since the largest available aperture requires the wide angle lens position with most compact digital cameras).

Although the perspective changes (more compressed background from shooting further away), can give the illusion of a shallower depth of field, since blur in out of focus areas will be more obvious (even if the real depth of field isn't changing, since you need to take the photo from further away if you use more zoom for the same framing).

So, for many scenarios, unless you can budget for a DSLR model (which have much larger sensors compared to non-DSLR digital cameras), your best bet is to try and use software to simulate a shallow depth of field for larger subjects. You may want to check in theEditors forum to get some tips. Here is a thread with a couple of different methods mentioned:


Sbooting small, subjects from close distances is one thing. Trying to blur the background with larger subjects is something else entirely (since you need to be further away to get them fitted in the frame, increasing depth of field).

That's one of the appeals of a DSLR (the ability to control Depth of Field for helping your subjects stand out from distracting backgrounds). The sensors are just too small for that in non-DSLR models (unless your shooting smaller subjects).

A non-DSLR model with much greater depth of field like your Olympus can be a good thing, too.

You may want more depth of field versus less, and with a DSLR model, you'd need to stop down the aperture (smaller aperture represented by higher f/stop numbers) to get it (often requiring much higher ISO speeds or slower shutter speeds to achieve what you can get with a non-DSLR model shooting at wide open apertures.

There are pros and cons to both types of systems.

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Old Jul 27, 2006, 11:35 AM   #6
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It worked. I was able to frame tight and at close to my subject. The background was out of focus as desired. Thanks for all the help.
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