Bokeh with Point and Shoot

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Linds, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. Linds

    Linds TPF Noob!

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    I'm a newby to the forum and to photography. Is it possible to create blurred backgrounds/sharp focus on specific focal point/person/item (I think this is called bokeh) with a digital point & shoot type camera? If so, how? Do you have to the position the camera a certain way & use macro? I'm looking at a Samsung SL720 and wondering if that could do the trick as I progress or if I need to move into something with swappable lenses, etc.

    I've tried positioning myself close to the focal object (with longer range backgrounds) and am unable to achieve this, even when toying with the macro setting on the SL720. It seems like it would be possible given there is a range listed for the aperture in the camera's specifications.

    Any suggestions for achieving this would be appreciated.
     
  2. Cojaro

    Cojaro TPF Noob!

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    Are you able to adjust the aperture manually? Does it have an Aperture Priority mode? A larger aperture will result in a smaller depth of field, which gets you the blurred backgrounds you want. Looking at pictures of the camera, it doesn't look like it has an aperture priority mode (though I'm not certain on that)
     
  3. Linds

    Linds TPF Noob!

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    Hi Cojaro - thanks for the post. Nope - I don't believe it has aperture priority mode haven't been able to find a way to adjust the aperture settings.

    So - any other way to get this effect?
     
  4. Inst!nct

    Inst!nct TPF Noob!

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    Um, my best guess is to go into macro mode, or flower mode, and try taking pictures, btw, could we see examples of the photo you have taken trying to get good bokeh?
     
  5. fstop

    fstop TPF Noob!

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    Looked in the user guide and there's no such flexibility on that POS. (point and shoot or Piece of S***). Sorry not trying to be rude, but really lame lack of flexibility even in a Point and Shoot. Asides from not having the ability to manually adust the range is only 3.5 to 5.6 or thereabouts.

    If this is something your seriously interested in achieving, you'd be best off looking at a DSLR than a POS with Aperature Priority. You could achieve on the latter but mileage will vary.
     
  6. iolair

    iolair No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi, "bokeh" i think usually refers to the "quality" of the out of focus areas.

    The lower your aperture, the more out of focus the background should be... 3.5 is not that low, but is as low as many points and shoots (and SLR zoom lenses will go).

    It's still possible to get nice bokeh on a point and shoot - here are a couple I took with my old Minolta (in macro mode at aperture 3.2).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. JayCanon

    JayCanon TPF Noob!

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    If you cannot adjust the aperture manually, try zooming in closer. Using a wide angle (less zoom) is more likely to give you greater depth of field (reducing or eliminating background blur), and that's obviously not going to give you the results you're looking for.

    Focal length and that actual physical distance from your lens to the subject can have a large impact on what's in focus and what is blurred.

    So zoom your camera in closer, then back up just enough so you're able to frame and focus on your subject the way you want. You can still use macro mode if you're zoomed in too close to your subject to focus in normal picture mode. Keep in mind that macro mode can be used in situations other that being right up close to your subject - it simply allows you to focus at closer distances than you'd otherwise be able to.
    Try this and you should see a more enhanced background blur.
     
  8. Lyncca

    Lyncca TPF Noob!

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    Portrait mode should probably replicate the lower aperture for you if you don't have an aperture mode. Then back up and zoom in as much as you can on your subject and try to have a good distance between the subject and background and you will get the best blurred background you can.
     
  9. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Besides aperture, focal length and distance...one of the things that affects the Depth of Field (DOF) and thus the bokeh, is the size of the sensor.
    99% of all P&S (non SLR) digital cameras, have a very tiny sensor...which makes it rather hard to get a shallow DOF.
    Hard, but not impossible...as seen above.
     
  10. jubb

    jubb TPF Noob!

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    That about sums it up.
     
  11. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    It's often called bokeh, but that is not a correct use of the term.

    Excepts from wikipedia.org:

    "Bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur, not the blur itself.

    Bokeh is often most visible around small background highlights, such as specular reflections and light sources, which is why it's often associated with such areas. However, bokeh is not limited to highlights, as blur occurs in all out-of-focus regions of the image.

    Although difficult to quantify, some lenses enhance overall image quality by producing more subjectively pleasing out-of-focus areas.

    Bokeh characteristics may be quantified by examining the image's circle-of-confusion. In out-of-focus areas, each point of light becomes an image of the aperture, generally a more or less round disc. Depending how a lens is corrected for spherical aberration, the disc may be uniformly illuminated, brighter near the edge, or brighter near the center. Lenses that are poorly corrected for spherical aberration will show one kind of disc for out-of-focus points in front of the plane of focus, and a different kind for points behind. This may actually be desirable, as blur circles that are dimmer near the edges produce less-defined shapes which blend smoothly with the surrounding image. Lens manufacturers including Nikon, Canon, and Minolta make lenses designed with specific controls to change the rendering of the out-of-focus areas.

    The shape of the aperture has a great influence on the subjective quality of bokeh. When a lens is stopped down to something other than its maximum aperture size (minimum f-number), out-of-focus points are blurred into the polygonal shape of the aperture rather than perfect circles. This is most apparent when a lens produces undesirable, hard-edged bokeh, therefore some lenses have aperture blades with curved edges to make the aperture more closely approximate a circle rather than a polygon. Lens designers can also increase the number of blades to achieve the same effect. Traditional "Portrait" lenses, such as the "fast" 85mm focal length models for 35mm cameras often feature almost circular aperture diaphragms, as is the case with Canon's EF 85 mm f/1.2L II lens and Nikon's 85mm f/1.4D , and are generally considered exceptional performers. A catadioptric telephoto lens displays bokehs resembling doughnuts, because its secondary mirror blocks the central part of the aperture opening. Recently, photographers have found how to exploit the shape of the bokehs by creating a simple mask out of card with the shape that the photographer wishes the bokeh to be, and placing it over the lens. Common shapes are stars and hearts, but it is possible to create it with almost any shape imagined. "
     

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