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Old May 20, 2005, 10:19 AM   #1
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I have been researching a few cameras over the past couple of months. I've narrowed it down to the KM A200, Olympus 8080, Canon Pro1, and the Panasonic FZ20. I currently own an old Canon Rebel and like to take artistic shots with shallow DOF. Are any of these cameras better than the other in this respect? Are there any other fixed lens cameras I should be looking at? The shallow DOF is fairly important to me, I just need to figure out how much I will be loosing with a non-SLR. I am not really up to speed on what the limitations of these camera's are compared to a SLR. Any information you can give will be helpful and much appreciated. Thank you.

Jacob
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Old May 20, 2005, 12:31 PM   #2
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Now this is a toughie to answer - I'm no expert but I'll take a stab at this anyway. All the camera's that you list are good digicams the Oly 8080 and the FZ20 the best of the bunch but they are all also designed for very different needs. The FZ's are perfect if you want a really nice, fast 12x zoom lens and tack sharp pict's to boot. The Oly on the other hand also has a really nice fast wide angle to 5x zoom lens and an 8MP 2/3 CCD - according to nearly all of the review site's it is the best 8MP digicam out there. If shallow depth of field is the priority then you'd have to consider a DSLR - the current sensor size (2/3, 1/1.7", 1/2.5") in the digicams mean that they all a high DOF. It doesn;t mean you can;t get a shallow DOF with any of the cams you listed but it will be harder to do.

There's been previous threads on this which I'll try to dig out. NickT, Fmoore, Treemonkey and Co are the guys that can help.

I would check the following website as well - it has a really good info on photography and several discussions/papers on dof and digicams:

http://luminous-landscape.com/

Harj





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Old May 20, 2005, 12:36 PM   #3
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I think you need to look at DSLR's for what you want to do. Small sensored digicams will not be able to give you a true shallow DOF.
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Old May 20, 2005, 4:58 PM   #4
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thanks for the input. I have been looking through many of the other forums here and have gotten alot of helpful info on this subject. Look's like DSLR is where I may be headed, just have to be patient and save more cash, I'm sure it will be well worth the wait.
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Old May 20, 2005, 8:35 PM   #5
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The constant 2.8 aperature on the FZ20's lens allows for a very shallow depth of field. You won't need to go to a DSLR unless you really want to blow the extra bucks or need through the lens view finder.
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Old May 20, 2005, 8:51 PM   #6
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nooner wrote:
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I think you need to look at DSLR's for what you want to do. Small sensored digicams will not be able to give you a true shallow DOF.
I empathize. That's why the camera I just bought, I skipped past new Lumix's, even DSLR, and got a medium format SLR. It's an infamous Kiev 60. I bought a 30mm fisheye, 180mm Zeiss portrait lens, and a 50mm wide (remember, this is medium format) Zeiss Flektagon. Came with an 80mm prime lens.

Yeah, you can get a shallow DOF, but there's nothing like the optics of larger format film, which render remarkable dof illusion.

One look through the viewfinder, and you realize why film is not dead and why many professionals still prefer it, especially larger format. It's not so much the resolution, it's a different aesthetic due to the optics and the size of the film plane. Of course, having the equivalent of 48 megapixels isn't a "bad" thing. Film costs? MF film - and there's some great ones, cost about $2.80 a roll at Ardorama. The camera, with a nice 80mm prime, cost $150 delivered.

Since you mentioned DOF, I thought I might throw that out for your consideration.

Get a Lumix or digicam for family snap and experimental fun.

Wanna go artsy? Get a used medium format camera.

All for LESS than the price of a DSLR with a crappy kit prime lens.
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Old May 20, 2005, 9:03 PM   #7
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Jon_Doe wrote:
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The constant 2.8 aperature on the FZ20's lens allows for a very shallow depth of field. You won't need to go to a DSLR unless you really want to blow the extra bucks or need through the lens view finder.
I disagree. The aperture of the lens has nothing to do with DOF in this case. The DOF is too deep with the FZ. You can use this site to compare DOF with different cameras and see what I mean.

http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html
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Old May 21, 2005, 9:09 AM   #8
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nooner wrote:
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I disagree. The aperture of the lens has nothing to do with DOF in this case. The DOF is too deep with the FZ. You can use this site to compare DOF with different cameras and see what I mean.http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html
First off, the calculator is a great resource! Thanks! Secondly - sorry, even at 2.8 everything is in focus on these digicams, 'specially the Lumix. Great digicams, and lots of fun, but dof isn't a forte for any of them. Even a dslr doesn't give you the dof of a 35mm camera.

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Old May 21, 2005, 9:23 AM   #9
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Nick

Have you developed any pict's from the new cam ? If you have any chance of posting a couple :G:G:G:G:G :G:G:G:G:G:G - so we can take a wee look at a medium format capture.

Harj



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Old May 21, 2005, 9:36 AM   #10
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Also, remember when using a DOF calculator, that they are designed to show the range of "acceptable sharpness" (and the circle of confusion numbers typically used are based on old studies at specific image sizes/viewing distances).

Being outside of the area of acceptable sharpness is not necessarily the same thing as great bokeh, either; since the background may not be blurred enough for the intended result(and the opposite can be true -- what one person considers to be "acceptably sharp", another may not).

The OP asked the same question in the General Forum on Thursday, so I responded suggesting a DSLR model, if getting a shallow depth of field was very important (and it sounded like it was).

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...amp;forum_id=2

Does that mean that the Panasonic can't provide photos with great blurred backgrounds? Nope. I've seen somegreat ones, *when* the subject was smaller. You may be able to get a great shot with a blurred background if you're doing a head shot of someone and the background is not too close.

But, you can't always frame that tightly, and the background may not be far enough away. Try getting a nicely blurred background with a full length portrait when the background is closer.The fact is, you've got dramatically greater Depth of Field for any given aperture, focus distance and 35mm equivalent focal length/angle of viewwith a small sensored camera, compared to a 35mmSLR.

Of course, that can be a very good thing, depending on subject type. ;-)
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