Help with Depth of Field


TPF Noob!
Apr 10, 2006
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I just got a new Canon A610 and it has Aperture priority which I am used to using with my Rebel with an F stop of 2.8 and the camera setting the shutter speed I am getting NO depth of field no matter where I am focusing the center.
Also on the automatic portrait symbol of the head if I use it to take an automatic portrait I am getting no depth of field either.

Is my camera broke or am I, I never had this trouble with my 35mm Rebel.

Please Help!
What do you mean, you are getting no depth of field? Technically, every photo has depth of field...whether it be deep or shallow.

Are you trying to get an out of focus background? That would be shallow DOF...and that it much harder to do with a point & shoot digi-cam than it is with a film SLR. The reason is because the sensor in that camera is much, much smaller than a frame of 35mm film. I can't properly explain the physics involved but that's the general idea.

You can do things to make the background (or foreground if you are focusing on the background) more out of focus. Get closer to the subject and move the subject farther away from the background. Obviously, use the widest aperture you can. Use the longest zoom as well.
Yes sorry I'm trying to get the background to blur, if I am very close to the subject then I can get some good shallow DOF but otherwise I have not been able too even outside.
What you say makes a lot of sense thankyou.
OK... What I am going to say isnt going to go over well here, but this is just MY OWN experiance with this. The problem is that the camera isnt really set up to do what you want. Being a point and shoot, you get some effects, but it is really set up for the back yard BBQ with Aunt Mae and Uncle Bob. It really isnt set up to take effect photos of flowers and such.
yes it can be done, but you will need effect filters, or attachable lenses to do so. The end result is that you need to really 'trick out' your camera in order to do the things you want. This is what seperates the Point and Shoot from the SLRs.

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With PAS cameras the DOF you want can be difficult to achieve.
If you're selecting f2.8 try zooming the lens a bit and using a tele zetting - that will emphasize the DOF but you'll never get it to the same level as an SLR.
You'll also find that your cameras settings in Av may only allow you to choose the extents ie you can only choose f2.8 and f8 but nothing in between.
The camera can select them if necessary but you may not be able to manually. At least that's what my Nikon Coolpix was like. When i use my Canon A85 it's almost always in auto since i use my DSLR for "real" photos.
As far as I know dof is two main things (I could be wrong) focal length and sensor size. Compacts do not have the same sized sensors as SLR's so there is not the same dof. How ever i found with my compact if the focal length was high (zoomed in alot) there tended to be a shallower dof (more blur) it was not a really burred background. With an slr it is easy to get a shallow dof, controling it is the skillful part. Hope this helps. ally.
If you have a camera with say a 2/3" sensor, then it although it says focal length of 100mm at f2.8, it's really 25mm at f2.8.

This will give you the same depth of field as a 100mm lens on a full frame sensor at f11, not f2.8. It's a fixed ratio where the effective f/stop is proportionally increased according to how much smaller the sensor is.

In short, small compacts cannot do "real" wide aperture, shallow DOF like a DSLR can because of their smaller sensors.

You can help the situation by moving subject further away from background and getting close to your subject with a great space behind it, but if you want that subject sharp, background bokeh look that many portraits and "pro" shots have, then you're gonna have to think about something with a bigger sensor.


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