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soundbeltfarm Feb 2, 2006 3:16 PM

hi im new here and new to photography and the question i have is this

i bought the s5600 and want to try and blur the background out of pics as i take them.

ive tried the aperture priorty and done what it says to do and i cant tell any difference between f3.2 to f8 (the range of this camera)

i took it to the shop i bought it from and the guy didnt really know either i think as he didnt help me much.

in the camera books and mags ive read they use crayons or dominoes and focus on one and the others blur out. i cant seem to do this.

ive tried taking pics of people with the background at differeing distances from them and there seems to be no difference between the range of aperture.

any help will be greatly appreciated.

thanks SBF

rinniethehun Feb 2, 2006 5:05 PM

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F8 will give you a sharper background than...

rinniethehun Feb 2, 2006 5:06 PM

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the Hun

rinniethehun Feb 2, 2006 5:10 PM

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F5, but very close to the subject. All pictures taken with S5100.

the Hun

soundbeltfarm Feb 2, 2006 5:33 PM

ho far was your camera from the front battery?

as i will try to take a similar image and post them up showing the different aperture settings.

i check the camera settings when i look at the info of the picture taken and it will say f8 or f3.2 but the pics look pretty much the same.

were your pics taken using the aperture priorty?

thanks SBF

rinniethehun Feb 2, 2006 5:44 PM

I really don't remember how far away the first battery was, as I took the pics some time ago. I believe it was about 6". I was in Aperture Priority.

superakuma Feb 3, 2006 5:03 PM

If you are new to photography then I think you made some newbie mistake when taking the picture. I admit Im a noob too and I also have the Fuji S5200/5600 digital camera.

My first noob mistake was that I didnt focus the camera on the subject. If you want to blurr the background you need to point the camera at the subject in the center of the screen, press the button half way down then the subject will be focused and the background will be burrled.

My other noob mistake when trying to get the background to blurr was the subject was too close to the background. Im sure you are not as stupid as I was, but i wasnt able to get the background to blurr because the subject was pretty much on the background.

My last noob mistake was that the camera wasnt focuing at all while I took the picture.

I hopes that helps.

JimC Feb 3, 2006 5:39 PM

soundbeltfarm wrote:

ive tried taking pics of people with the background at differeing distances from them and there seems to be no difference between the range of aperture.
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 a result of a very tiny sensor compared to 35mm film, the lens on most digicams 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.

For any given 35mm Equivalent Focal Length, you'll have dramatically 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.

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 compred to non-DSLR digital cameras), 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:

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 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 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.

Monza76 Feb 4, 2006 9:31 AM

Fuji S5200/5600 -

Actual focal length, 6.3mm - 63mm

35mm equivalent, 38mm - 380mm

A 35mm lens of 6.3mm with an f3.2 aperture would hardly even need a focus ring, it's depth of field would be enormous - that still applies if you mount the lens on a camera with a tiny sensor. It gives you the field of view of a 38mm because the sensor is smaller, but it still has the optical characteristics of a 6.3mm lens. As JimC so clearly states, the 380mm (63mm) end gives you much less depth of field but remember, optically it has the DOF characteristics of a 63mm lens but due to the small sensor it has the field of view of a 380mm lens, it therefore must be used at greater distances and thus looses the DOF advantage.

On the plus side, you can use software to blur backgrounds but you cannot make an out of focus shot sharp. The greater DOF of these cameras will mean a much higher percentage of sharp pictures.


Let me add one illustration, we have your camera, an APS-C sized sensor DSLR (typical) and a 35mm camera. We want to cover the exact same field of view from the exact same distance (in other words all three picture will show the same subject from the same perspective). You set your camera at its widest focal length, 6.3mm, the DSLR is set at 25mm and the 35mm is set at 38mm, all pictures are shot at f4. The framing and perspective are now exactly the samebut theresulting pictures will be very different, yours will be sharp front to back (unless we were very close), the DSLR will have much more limited DOF with a somewhat out of focus background and foreground, the 35mm will be noticeably more limited with the background now significantly out of focus.

JimC Feb 4, 2006 10:14 AM

Technically, your DOF is probably not going to change with longer foccal lengths. That's because you need to increase your distance to subject for the same framing when you go longer (as Ira and I have both pointed out).

For example, if you go from 50mm to 100mm, you'd need to shoot from twice as far away for the same framing (percentage of the frame your subject occupies). So, DOF is going to be the same.

But, the appearance will change (you'll have a more compressed background because of your shooting distance). You'll see this referred to as perspective.

That can make the out of focus areas more obvious, and give you the illusion of a shallower depth of field (as compared to using shorter focal lengths and shooting from closer distances).

So, with some models (especially thouse with wider apertures available on the long end), it's best to shoot zoomed in all the way to maximize the impact of a shallow DOF).

Again, frame tighter. Go for the tight head and shoulders versus the full length portrait and you may be able to get what you're looking for in some conditions with a non-DSLR model.

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