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fawkstrot Aug 10, 2007 3:51 PM

Hey all...

I'm really trying to do some depth of field things with the S5 and so far I'm not having much luck. I've got multiple subjects lined up in a row shooting off to the distance, and I'm trying to bring the 3rd item in the row into focus, and have a large blur around everything else.

I've tried using portrait and dinked with some aperature settings, but I'm wondering if anyone has some suggestions here to REALLY bring out some depth of field in my pics.

Any help would be appreciated.

requa Aug 11, 2007 7:20 AM

You may get more noticable results if you crank the zoom to full telephoto, even if this means physically moving the camera farther from the subjects.

Mark1616 Aug 12, 2007 8:05 AM

Hi and welcome to Steve's forums!!!

OK here is a quick overview of how depth of field is controlled, it is basically a function of 3 aspects and these are focal length (real not 35mm equivalent), aperture and distance from subject.

Now a reduced or narrow depth of field is what you are looking for in your example so you want a long lens, wide aperture (low f number) and be quite close to the subject (for those new to this, here is an example from me).

The opposite side is with the whole scene in focus so you want a wider lens, narrow aperture (larger f number) and to have the subject further away giving an effect like this.

OK those are the basics, so what can you do to get a reduced dof in your shots, as has already been said use more zoom, select aperture priority or manual and use the widest aperture possible (f2.7-3.5 depending on the amount of zoom you use on your S5) and frame as tightly as possible to your subjects.

With any non dSLR camera you struggle with reduced dof shots as the sensor is smaller so to get the same field of view as a dSLR you are using a shorter lens and remember the longer the lens the narrower the dof. It's not impossible to do what you are looking for but it is more difficult, you are working with a sensor that is of a size that means the lens you use is 4x wider than on the average dSLR so you can see what you are fighting against.

To get a quick idea of what you can expect have a play with S5 is not on there but the S3 has the same size sensor and lens so you can use that. Don't forget to use the real focal length (6mm to 72mm) to get the results.

Hope that helps,


JohnGaltNY Aug 12, 2007 5:58 PM

1 Attachment(s)

I could never match Mark's explanation and instruction but I can show you what's possible with an S series Canon. This was taken with an S5 IS with the widest possible aperture and a tele-Zoom out to about 50 feet at the plant. The blue is the lake and an island in the lake. I should point out the compressed depth of the image though. That island is actually a good 100' offshore.

Mark1616 Aug 12, 2007 6:03 PM

You might not match the explanation or instruction but your first hand experience of the camera is more beneficial as you know what it can really do and this photo shows that the desired effect is possible.

fawkstrot Aug 13, 2007 9:56 AM

Wow, this was all extremely helpful. Thank you guys SO much, I really appreciate the explanations and pics (love the shots btw).

So when you say "tele-Zoom out", are you meaning that I go into the telephoto mode (I believe I have 1.6 and 2.0) with my zoom ALL the way in? Likewise, I'd have my F mode to about 2.7, correct? Then I assume it's just a matter of finding the optimal distance from the subject...

Sorry for all of the silly questions :X.

Mark1616 Aug 13, 2007 10:01 AM

You are welcome. Don't whatever you do use digital zoom modes if that is what you are referring to, just use the zoom at it's maximum or near to it and yes make the aperture as wide as it goes (low f number). Now as with most zoom lenses the aperture changes as you zoom in on something so you have f2.7 when you are at the wide angle setting on the lens and this drops to f3.5 when you are at the maximum zoom. I won't go into the details of why this is (ask if you are interested) but just be aware of it. If you do zoom back out then check to see if there is a wider aperture that you can use that is all.

Let us see how you get on with this. Don't forget that you have the section here for specific camera advice but you can also post photos in the photo sections and get advice there in a none specific camera way :-):cool:

JohnGaltNY Aug 13, 2007 1:16 PM


Mark explains it generally. Specific to the S5, the largest Av drops from 2.7 to 3.5 as you zoom in - meaning go to longer focal lengths. Actually, that's a pretty fast 420mm equivalent lens. In the pic I put up here, I was standing about 50 feet from the plant and zoomed in to that level. As I said though, this compressed the perspective quite a bit (the island is about 100' beyond the plant in the real world).

I believe the aperture was 3.5 but is could have been 2.7, depending on the camera. I did not use any digital zoom (1.6, 2.0 or Standard). I do like the 1.6 and 2.0 settings but the STANDARD DZ makes a horrible mess.

If you'd like some more S5 examples, take a look at my S2-S5 comparison thread on this board. In any event, have fun with the Av mode.I get about 1 shot for every 10 I shoot but they are free to screw up.


Mark1616 Aug 13, 2007 4:30 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Hi JG, the exif is still in place on your photo so it was taken at the following settings:

Exposure Time = 1/320"
F Number = F3.5
ISO Speed Ratings = 100
Focal Length = 71.5mm

Don't get sucked into the 35mm equivalent ranges as although they are good for comparison of field of view (well they would be that is what they are) but they can't be used for the comparison of dof. For that you do have to use the real focal lengths so in this case it is 71.5mm.

This shot was taken at the weekend while confirming if there was a problem with a teleconverter and just by chance the post is a similar distance away it was at 420mm and f4 so shows what sort of effect you are getting with such a focal length.As it can be see it is not the35mm equiv that is affecting the dof but focal length which has nothing to do with sensor size. I think I have made sense thereand hope it helps.

JohnGaltNY Aug 13, 2007 6:33 PM


Now you're teaching me and I appreciate it. Now that I'm at home, I can read my EXIF and of course confirm what you wrote.

Also, what I notice about these two shots (yours and mine) are that the DSLR will give the better blur to the background at similar settings. I could not match the fence post or beable to duplicate your wedding shot (the first one in this thread) with the S5 but I might come close within the same concept IF I took 50 of them and chose one. I'm afraid my ration of exposures to i,ages still isn't all that great. I'd be bankrupt in a film world.

In any event, thanks for the lesson all the way through this thread. I'm gonna come find you for my own stuff real soon.


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