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ARP
09-24-2004, 10:53 AM
I aplogize if this has been covered in another thread:

I'm a photgraphic novice when it come to the technical aspects of photography (e.g. focal legnths, aperature settings, etc.) so hopefully I can describe what I'm looking for in layman's terms.

I'm looking for a camera that can show good depth of field. Meaning, parts of the frame in focus while the rest of the frame is out of focus. I know that this capability is related to the aperature of the camera, the lens, and some other factors, but I'm not sure of the exact interplay. It seems that with most non-SLR cameras, that capability is just not there or works poorly because of the small lens size in most digicams. I know the ideal is for me to get a D-SLR, but my budget doesn't allow it. I was wondering if Panasonic's ultra zoom cameras have that capability. Thanks in advance.

propwash
09-24-2004, 05:40 PM
I aplogize if this has been covered in another thread:

I'm looking for a camera that can show good depth of field. Meaning, parts of the frame in focus while the rest of the frame is out of focus.

I'm not sure I understand your post. To me, "good depth of field" is when a high percentage of the photo is in focus, both those areas closer to the camera and those areas further away.

You are right in that it is related to the aperture. In general, the smaller the aperture (higher the f-stop), the more depth of field you will have. Conversely, if you opt for a large aperture (low f-stop number) you will have less depth of field, and only those objects very close to the same distance from the camera as your subject will be in focus. Depth of field also changes with the focal length (amount of zoom) you have selected.

Obviously, if your digital camera has full manual controls, you can control your depth of field by varying the f-stop. You can also do this on a camera with an aperture priority mode by selecting this mode and then selecting the aperture you want. What you have to watch out for is that some cameras claim to have an "aperture priority" mode, but they might only give you a choice of two or three apertures to use. For instance, if you have a choice of f4 or f5.6 as your only two choices, you won't see much difference in depth of field from these two settings. If, on the other hand, your camera allows you to choose from wide and narrow apertures, you will have more control over DOF in your photo. I hope this helps.

Billiam
09-24-2004, 06:46 PM
It sounds like you want to be able to achieve a shallow depth of field. Two factors can help achieve that, longer focal lengths, and wider apatures. DSLR's can make it easier to get a shallow depth of field, because their larger sensors require the use of longer focal length lenses for the same field of view.

The Panasonics have long zooms, and hold f2.8 through their zoom range, which is pretty wide for a point'n'shoot camera. You probably can't do too much better short of an SLR. One limitation is that at f2.8 the fastest shutter speed is 1/1000. In bright sun, you could use a neutral density filter to allow the use of a wider apature without overexposing the shot.

jamison55
09-24-2004, 07:39 PM
In order to achieve LESS (shallower) DOF:

- Your subject should be close

- Your background should be far

- You should be zoomed to full telephoto (the closer to full zoom the shallower the DOF)

- The aperture should be set to its widest (the smallest number)

It is very difficult to achieve with digicams (non DSLR's). Most digicams have extremely wide angle lenses and small sensors. You read that the camera has a 35-105mm lens, but that is actually the 35mm equivalent. The lens is actually a 7-21mm. Because the sensor is so small, it has the zoom of the longer 35mm lens, but the DOF of the actual focal length, that is to say very good DOF - everything is sharp. This is great for landscape photographers, but not for portrait photogs like myself. A DSLR has a much larger sensor thus less (shallower) DOF.

Having said all of that, a mega-zoom, like the Canon S1 should give you more of a shallow DOF effect at its longest zoom and smallest aperture (F3.1), provided your subject is closer than your background.

PixChick
09-24-2004, 08:51 PM
Having said all of that, a mega-zoom, like the Canon S1 should give you more of a shallow DOF effect at its longest zoom and smallest aperture (F3.1)

What about the Panasonic FZ series--a 12x zoom compared to the S1's 10x, and an F2.8 throughout that range??? Nothing against the S1, but this is the Panasonic forum ;) The FZ cams sure meet the criteria you spoke about. Thought they deserved a mention :D

PixChick :)

ARP
09-24-2004, 09:46 PM
Thank you all for your responses. Yes, I was thinking of a shallow depth of field. Thank you for extrapolating that info. My current camera (a Pentax Optio 555) can't attain this affect despite having the aperature set at the lowest F-stop.

So, I take it by your responses that Panasonic's F-series can attain this effect better than most non D-SLR's? Thanks.

noobie
01-02-2005, 08:00 AM
^bump

I have the same question - can you achieve a shallow 'SLR-like' shallow depth of field with this camera?

Thanks.

PS. If anyone could post an outdoors portrait shot, I'd be really grateful.

genece
01-02-2005, 08:28 AM
You may want to read this
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1033&message=11029928

noobie
01-02-2005, 10:43 AM
Thanks - sorry, I should have said FZ-3 as this is the one I'm considering buying.

Would it be the same as the FZ-20?

John_Reed
01-02-2005, 11:15 PM
Thanks - sorry, I should have said FZ-3 as this is the one I'm considering buying.

Would it be the same as the FZ-20?The FZ1 uses the same lens essentially as the FZ3. Here's a rose photo taken with the FZ1 at full zoom, with an Olympus TCON-17 lens attached (X1.7):
http://john-reed.smugmug.com/photos/3339417-M.jpg
Another one with FZ1/TCON-17, background further out:
http://john-reed.smugmug.com/photos/3229794-M-1.jpg
And here's one with the FZ1, only this one with a Nikon 6T (+3 diopter) closeup lens attached:
http://john-reed.smugmug.com/photos/4498013-L.jpg

cincyimages
01-03-2005, 06:30 PM
fantastic pics!

stratboy535
01-05-2005, 11:04 AM
Here are a few of my FZ20 shots that show how it handles DOF

stratboy535
01-05-2005, 11:06 AM
Another DOF shot

stratboy535
01-05-2005, 11:10 AM
These next two shots are of the same scene but different focusing

stratboy535
01-05-2005, 11:11 AM
THis shows a nice contrast to image 3