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Old Jan 28, 2010, 4:42 PM   #1
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Default macro mode problems, can you help?

Hello,
I just purchased a Panasonic ZS1. I know that it is not a fancy camera. But... I love shots that are focused on the subject and blurry in the background. (I know, I should have purchased a better camera). I saw many posts of pictures that people submitted using this camera that had that lovely "bokeh" effect. I am trying to master that, but most of the time, the background is as focused as the foreground. If I do happen to snap a shot with a blurry background, it seems to be by chance. Can you give me any tips? I feel like the manual is not giving me all the help that I need.
Confused and frustrated,
Tatiana

I even got a few where the foreground was blurry and the background was in focus.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 8:36 PM   #2
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tatiana-

You will only get a blurred background occasionally when in the Macro or Close-up Mode and using a very wide aperture. Blurred backgrounds are one of the advantages of a DSLR camera and then only when using the very widest apertures, usually F1.2 or F1.4, and only rarely at F1.8 depending on the lighting conditions.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 9:08 PM   #3
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to get any blurred background you will have to not only as sarah mentioned be at the most wide aperture on the ZS1, but also be very close to the subject and have the background be decently far away from it.

compact digital cameras have tiny sensors, which means their depth of field (or how much of the scene is in focus) will be quite large, making it difficult to get the out of focus background or the smooth "bokeh" you see from wide aperture lenses on dslrs.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 9:13 PM   #4
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Thanks to both of you. I see that I am in a real dilema with what sort of camera I really want. Pocket size, take anywhere and inexpensive is a real plus, but it does come with the negatives. Bummer. Thank you both again for taking time to answer my questions. I do feel like the 179.99 price tag for the SZ1 was quite a steal, so I will enjoy it for what it does well.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 10:46 PM   #5
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Tatiana-

You got an excellent price on the ZS-1. I wish the news was different, but in only about 1 shot out 100 will you ever get the desired blurred background. Take a look at my hybrid orchid Macro sample. Using photo editing I crafted a whole new background for the photo, because the orchid plants were jammed together resulting in a terrible background.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 3:34 AM   #6
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Since the ZS1 does not offer manual controls, you can't force the camera to use the widest aperture possible, which in turn will give you the blurred background you want. Thus, you are at the mercy or the camera. Since the camera will select the aperture based on the amount of available light, the brighter the subject you are photographing is, the less chance you have to obtain a blurred background because the camera will reduce the aperture first before increasing the shutter speed. So, in theory, the less light you have the more chances of getting that blurred background there is since the camera will open up the diaphragm all the way in order to keep the shutter speed at reasonable values to prevent motion blur caused by camera shake.
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 11:26 AM   #7
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Tullio is correct, Tatiana-

It will take a camera with manual controls like the FZ-35.

Yes, the FZ-35 is capable of providing a blurred back ground, on occasion, but not consistently, because it does have manual controls. However, its small 2.33 CCD is constantly attempting to use a small or narrow aperture which increases the Depth of Field substantially.

As I mentioned in my previous post the blurred background effect is really a feature that belongs to the DSLR camera. When a wide aperture lens (F 1.2 or F1.4) is used at its widest aperture, you will consistently get a blurred background.

Also, if the Automatic Mode is used on any camera, be it, P+S or DSLR, a blurred background will be seen far less.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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