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Old Jan 8, 2005, 4:44 PM   #1
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I'm looking to buy a consumer digital camera, but the main feature I'm looking for is one that actually shortens the depth of field (makes the back ground blurry) when the f-stop is made larger. I can't get the majority of cameras I've tested to accomplish this. The cameras I'm looking into are the Canon Powershot A95 or A85 and the Fugifilm FinePix E550. Can I get this effect with a digital camera? If so, how do I do this and/or which digital cameras are best for this?
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Old Jan 8, 2005, 5:02 PM   #2
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The reason you have more Depth of Field with a non-DSLR camera is because of the actual focal length of the lens. The sensors oncameras like you're looking at are very small. As a result, the lenses can have a much shorter actual focal length, to get any given 35mmequivalentfocal length.

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.

As a result,for any given 35mm Equivalent Focal Length, you'll have dramatically more Depth of Field compared to a camera with a larger sensor. This isbecause Depth of Field is computed by the actual versus 35mm equivalent focal length, distance to subject and aperture.

Your ability to blur the background depends on your subject size, the percentage of the frame you need it to occupy, 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) is needed-- but this is usually not enough to achieve the desired results for larger subjects.

There's not a lot you can do to get less depth of field for blurring backgrounds with smaller digital cameras (for larger subjects), because of the much narrower angle of view any given focal length provides.

Your best bet is to frame as tightly as possible, using a camera's largest available aperture, and putting 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 select a camera model. Then, plug in the *actual* focal length of the lens, focus distance and aperture to calculate Depth of Field. 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 most shooting conditions where you'd want less Depth of Field).


So, unless you can budget for a DSLR model, your best bet is to try and use software to simulate a shallow depth of field. You may want to check in theEditors forum to get some tips. Here is a thread with a couple of different methods mentioned:


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Old Jan 9, 2005, 11:32 PM   #3
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Sure you can!!!

I posted some basic information on how to do that and an example.


I am using a Panasonic Lumix FZ-15. You can also consider FZ-20 model. It is not a DSLR, but it is good and cheap enough.


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