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Old Jul 8, 2012, 3:27 PM   #1
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Default Portrait feature not softening background

I just got a Canon Elph 310 HS and I'm trying to use the portrait feature to soften/blur the background but it's not working. The background stays in focus.

Does anyone know what might be wrong?

Thanks.
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Old Jul 8, 2012, 5:45 PM   #2
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Sorry to say you are limited by the camera when it comes to getting the background out of focus. The only thing you can do is use the max zoom on the camera and get as close to your subject as possible. Also, get your subject a long way from the background, apart from that you need to switch to a camera with a larger sensor. This is one of the major reasons that pro photographers use full frame cameras as it is considerably easier to get the background out of focus (I won't go into the physics as I'm about to get to bed).

Hope that helps.
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Old Jul 8, 2012, 10:49 PM   #3
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Thanks, Mark.

I wonder why they even put that feature on the camera. The setting is called "Portrait" and the description in the manual says "Produces a soft effect when photographing people."

Since it doesn't seem to have any effect, it's confusing that they put it on the camera.
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 4:51 AM   #4
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The "soft" effect Canon refers to is actually softening the skin tones or any harsh blemishes,akin to reducing the sharpening in camera- as opposed to blurring the background.
And as mark1616 alludes to- the effect your after requires cute maneuvering to create that effect... but can be done to some degree...
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 8:46 AM   #5
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Thank you. That makes sense. The example in the manual has a blurred background. That's why I thought the feature did that. Softening the skin makes more sense.

Thank you very much for the explanation.
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 4:02 PM   #6
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I did a little more searching and found this on Canon's site,

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/suppor..._feature7.html
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 4:37 PM   #7
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Interesting- perhaps in that model there is some processing/manipulation going on in portrait mode... though your results suggest otherwise...!
The camera might be switching to its widest aperture (at a given zoom setting) in portrait mode- which in theory,should give you a shallower depth of field- though is seriously limited with its small sensor.
Perhaps the Canons image is- optimistic...?
On Fuji's X-S1 there is software on board to blur the background- and it does work- I can't remember the scene mode,however- as I sold it..!!
Perhaps there is a software editor to create a similar effect...?
My Canon SX40hs also made little or no difference in portrait mode...!
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Old Jul 14, 2012, 4:39 PM   #8
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It does look like Canon may have given an impression of greater capability than a P&S can support. "Optimistic" is certainly a nice way to put it. I put together an illustration (if my images post properly -- first time I tried).

Here's a classic "remote control in the living room" shot I took with my Rebel T1i using a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens in AV mode set to f/2.0. Notice the desirable blur in the bookcase compared to the relatively sharp focus of the remote. And this is with a lowly APS-C sensor.



Now here's as close as I could get to the same shot with my Elph 500 HS in AV mode at it's maximum aperture of f/2.0. Some blurring, but not nearly as dramatic.



I tried to do this with my kittens because, well, the Internet loves kittens, but they don't like to sit still for very long. Sorry.

Dan

Last edited by requa; Jul 14, 2012 at 4:41 PM.
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