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Old Mar 30, 2005, 5:42 PM   #1
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I currently have the Nikon 5400. I wanted to take some depth of field pics by playing around with the aperature, but couldn't really get things to work out the way I wanted. I see lots of pics where the subject is in focus whereas the background is blurred. I read that all I had to do was choose a large paerature number (f2.8 )and this would help create my desired pic. But when I tried it, I didn't get the desired results. I even tried portrait mode and still it didn't create the desired result. Anyone hae any advice as to howI can achieve my pic taking goal? Maybe someone with a 5400 can walk me through it? I tried all kinds of mode ae/af-l manual focus and nohting seems to work. Thanks for any help you can provide.
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Old Mar 30, 2005, 6:37 PM   #2
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Get closer, frame tighter.

The reason you have more Depth of Field with a non-DSLR camera is because of the actual focal length of the lens. The sensor onyour Nikon is relatively small.As a result, the lens 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,focus distance,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 with most non-DSLR models.

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 (and your lens has a range from 5.8mm at it's wide angle setting to 24mm at it's full zoom setting), focus distance and aperture to calculate Depth of Field.

http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

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, especially since the largest available aperture requires the wide angle lens position with your model).

So, for many scenarios, 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:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=29694&forum_id=31


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Old Mar 30, 2005, 6:50 PM   #3
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I noticed you asked the identical question in two different forums.So that responses to this question are kept within the same thread, I'm moving this thread to the Nikon forum -- replacing the thread that is there.


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Old Mar 30, 2005, 7:30 PM   #4
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JimC, thanks for the reply, it was very informative. I will check out your advice when I get home.
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Old Apr 29, 2005, 3:55 PM   #5
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As another 5400 user (and newbie), I too have wondered why I'm having difficulty getting a shallow depth of field (aka blurred background). This is very helpful -- I think. I won't really know until I try to put it in practice.

Thanks very much,

Larry
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