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Old Jan 22, 2010, 12:33 AM   #1
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Default depth of field help in shopping for cameras.

I am trying to find something that may not exsist. I am shopping for a point and shoot (pocket-size) that will enable me to adjust the aperture so that I can take shots with a focused subject and a blurred out, fuzzy background. I have read that this is comonly termed as "bokeh." I am interested in the Canon ds1200is and the Panasonic DMC Zs3. I know they are not expensive, but I am hoping that there are maual settings that I can tweak to achieve the effect. Any suggestions?
Thank you for your help!

Also, is it silly to be shopping 3x optical zooms when 12x optical zooms are available? Is the resolution so great that I can just crop and enlarge the subject on my computer???
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Old Jan 22, 2010, 12:41 AM   #2
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I know the Fuji F70EXR has a Pro Focus mode... just got the F70 have not had time to play with that mode.. but it supposedly does just that...
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Old Jan 22, 2010, 1:07 AM   #3
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You may want to look at the canon s90, it has an aperture of f2.0. The wider the aperture, the greater the bokem effect will be seen. So a camera with a f2.0 will generate more of a bokem effect then a camera with f2.8 or f3.5 as their max aperture. From what I have seen superzoom camera do not open as wide as a normal zoom camera

On the 3-5x zoom over the 10-12x zoom it really depends on what you shoot. If you want to get close to the subject, then the longer zoom will be something you want. But if you take landscape and thing requiring less zoom, you will be find with short zoom. Also superzoom suffer more distortion then normal zooms. So it is a compromise of imagine quality and being able to reach your subject.

Also with cropping and enlarging, you will loss some resolution vs zooming in for the shot.

Do you have a budget, that way the board can help you now down on a camera that fits your needs and budget.
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Last edited by shoturtle; Jan 22, 2010 at 1:10 AM.
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Old Jan 22, 2010, 1:46 AM   #4
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Depth of field is a somewhat complicated topic.

In summary it is very difficult to achieve what you want because of the very short actual focal length of the lenses used for small P&S cameras. In order to get a blurred background the subject will have to be VERY close to the lens, so for Macro work perhaps, for portraits no.

Bokeh is a word that refers the qualitative nature of the out-of-focus area of a picture, not the OOF area itself. Good bokeh means that the OOF rendering is nice to look at and smooth. A picture with very shallow DOF could have good or bad bokeh.

Is 12x zoom better than 3x zoom? Well only if you have to take pictures of things that you cannot walk up to. The bigger the zoom range, the more difficult it is to design the lens, so image quality falls off quite dramatically with bigger zoom ranges.

If you do need a telephoto lens though then cropping (a.k.a. digital zoom) is no substitute. You would need hundreds of megapixels on a 3x zoom before it was capable of giving you equivalent performance to a 12x zoom at the telephoto end.

For your desires the best cameras to look at are something like the Panasonic GF1 or Olympus EP-1/2 they have a relatively large sensor in a relatively small body. If they are too big then you're out of luck.

Of course it is possible to blur backgrounds quite convincingly in Photoshop.
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Old Jan 22, 2010, 3:40 AM   #5
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It's not pocket size, but there is a point and shoot model with a mode designed to give you a blurry background.

The Fuji FinePix S200EXR has the ability to take multiple photos using what it calls a "Pro Focus" mode, where the photo of your subject is taken in focus, and another photo is taken with the background out of focus. Then, it combines the images in camera to simulate a shallow depth of field.
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