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Old Jun 14, 2004, 11:37 AM   #1
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I've just recently purchased an Optio S4. I'm loving it so far and have taken some pretty decent shots. The one thing I'm having troubles with is taking decent portrait pictures with the camera in Portrait mode. I'm trying to create that "subject focused in foreground/background blurred" effect, and I haven't had much luck.

Can anyone explain the best way to use this mode (i.e. subject distance from camera, etc.)??


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Old Jun 14, 2004, 1:50 PM   #2
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I think you are doing about as well as you can with a camera that is basically automatic in exposure. You could use manual focus to focus a little short of your subject counting on depth of focus to keep the subject in focus. That would blur the background a bit more. Since you don't have a DOF index next to the focus distance like you do on a SLR you have to guess at the DOF. Take a few shots decreasing the focus distance with each.

With the tiny sensor and short focal lengths the depth of field is usually too great to blur the background very much. You do better in telephoto than wide angle for that.

I do the best I can to blur the background and then accentuate the blur in Photoshop.
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Old Jun 15, 2004, 4:20 AM   #3
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I agree with slipe. The problem is the very short focal lengths used in these small cameras due to the small CCDs. Remember this camera has 17mm as the longest focal length, while a good SLR portrait lens has 85mm! The best you can do is to use 17mm and shoot at e.g. 2m distance (the shorter the more blurred background, but perhaps the face gets too big, or perhaps only the nose? )

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I have a nice collection of Pentax SLR lenses, so I will wait for the baby-*istD which is scheduled late 2004. The sad thing about DSLR is that they do not use full CCD size (i.e. equal size to 35mm film) but APS sized CCDs (due to price, of course). Then the 85mm portrait lens becomes 85*1.5=130mm, which is too long for portraits. I have to use a 50mm lens, which does not have the same blurred backround as the 85mm lens... but of course much better than the 17mm of Optio S!

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"On the other side, the small cameras strong point is the opposite: VERY LARGE DEPTH OF FIELD! With SLRs this is often very difficult. So I enjoy now the possibility of having everyting in focus!!!!! Happy shooting!:|
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Old Jun 15, 2004, 8:50 AM   #4
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Thanks for the comments/suggestions everyone. I thought I was doing something wrong.. guess not I'll do some more experementing with distance and manual focusing. And, like Slipe said.. there's always photoshop

Thanks!! :|
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