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Another Depth of Field Question

Jules Vide
Posts: n/a
Floyd L. Davidson wrote:
> He's a druggie (ETOH).

Yes, a druggie drugged enough to let the passive-aggressives on this
newsgroup save him at least $400 of additional expense and possibly
more. That drug-induced haze makes me think of the grizzly bears
you're so fond of, Mr. Grateful Dead.

I have made it a practice never to respond in kind to anonymous
strangers on Usenet. For thirteen years, I've followed this rule. But
I'm grateful that as a druggie, I've profited from all the mistakes
other kindly photographers on this group have made.

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Dave Martindale
Posts: n/a
"Jules Vide" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

>Apparently I have been. During the course of this and another thread,
>the question of whether digital SLRs are a substantial improvement over
>point and shoots came up. If there is such a difference between this
>specific capacity in *all* point and shoots versus a low-end SLR, then
>it's almost criminal for the camera manufacturers to ask, say, $500+
>for a high-end point and shoot.

That would be true only if shallow depth of field is something that most
or all of the purchasers of P&S cameras will be unhappy about not
having. But I suspect that most P&S camera users are happy having lots
of DOF (so the portion of the image they care about is nearly always in
focus), or they are aware that this is one of the tradeoffs inherent in
a small sensor. For example, I bought a Canon G2 and several subsequent
P&S cameras, knowing full well about the shallow DOF, but I couldn't
afford a DSLR at the time so I accepted it as a tradeoff.

It seems you care about shallow DOF, but were unaware that no
small-sensor camera could deliver this. I think that makes you a pretty
small minority of purchasers. Note that this isn't unique to digital
cameras; other small-image film cameras (e.g. 8 and 16 mm movie cameras,
Minox C still camera) all cannot do really shallow DOF.

If you read this newsgroup for any length of time, you'll soon learn
that if you need shallow DOF or high ISO with low image noise, you
don't want a small-sensor P&S camera.

>Yes, absolutely. I am new to this, and I admit both being confused and
>confusing others; and I apologize for it. HOWEVER, a great deal of my
>confusion *could* have been helped, solved, at least addressed by a
>properly written and thorough product manual. In trying to put into
>practice some of the suggestions made by others on this group, from
>well-meaning folk who even are familiar with my particular Canon--I
>mean right down to the "nails"--I've found that these people
>unwittingly are taking on the responsibility of explaining digital
>photography to me-- Actually offering beginners courses, right here on
> And why are they doing this? Certainly one of the
>reasons is because the camera did not come equipped with a manual that,
>while not offering a beginners course in digital photography, at least
>explained the INTERACTION of their particular camera's features, as
>these features are found on the "Functions" menu.

I think you expect too much of the manual. The manual for a
standard-transmission car may tell you where the clutch and shift lever
are, but it doesn't explain how clutch, accelerator, and shift lever are
used in driving. The manual for an airplane may tell you where aileron,
elevator, and rudder controls are, and where the trim wheels for each of
these things are, but they won't tell you how to take off, land, or make
turns. The basic skills for operating a camera in manual mode *are* the
subject of a beginner's course in photography, and can't be expected to
be in the manual of every camera.

>(But as for my confusing the above terms, it seems, from various
>photographic sites I've visited in the past five days, that men and
>women FAR more learned than I often interchange these terms now and
>then. I'd be extremely willing to go to any link where the different
>connotations of these particular terms are defined in detail.)

While there are some good photo sites on the web, most of what has been
written about photography was written before the web existed, and is
found in books printed on paper. Your local library probably has a good
selection, for example.


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Dave Martindale
Posts: n/a
"Jules Vide" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

>> When you say you "focussed manually" what specific controls did you touch on
>> the camera to do this and what did you do with them?

>I put the camera in Av Mode, pressed the little MF button, saw the
>purty Hyperfocal Flower, pressed the button again and, lo, the MF scale
>appeared high in the LCD sky. I focused high, I focused low; I
>couldn't see practically any difference between, like, 10 feet and 10
>inches (or meters) on the LCD screen. But when I saw what *seemed* the
>most precise image, I hit the shutter button.

What happened when you tried to *measure* the distance to the subject
and then set that distance on the MF distance display? Was the image in
focus? (Oh, and were you either using a tripod, or a fast enough
shutter speed that camera shake was definitely not responsible for

>And then I raised my head like Fernando Montalban, and shook my fist,
>and screamed, "Khan- ONNNNN!"

Hysterics will get you nowhere. Instead, try to figure out what you're
doing wrong.

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Dave Martindale
Posts: n/a
"Jules Vide" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

>My urgent question du jour (Monday, July 17, to be exact) is whether
>the LCDs on a SLR are substantially better.

If you had actually read this newsgroup for very long, or read a
thorough review of any DSLR, you would know that the LCD display on a
DSLR is not active before you take a picture. You use the optical
finder for aim and manual focus. Some are better than others for manual

>But what's the point of further experimentation
>when EVERY, and I mean E-V-E-R-Y, as in E*V*E*R*Y photo you have taken
>at that setting, using manual focus, is blurry?

If every photo is blurry, that is the world trying to tell you that
you've screwed up. Perhaps you should try to figure out what you did
wrong. It is also possible that the camera is broken, but the same sort
of test that would show where you screwed up would also reveal whether
the camera was broken.

For example: mount the camera on a tripod 2 m from a subject. Shoot a
series of images with the lens at maximum aperture and focus set to 0.5
m, 1 m, 2m, 4 m, 8 m, and infinity. Is there a difference in sharpness?
Is the 2m shot the sharpest of the bunch. This should take you all of
15 minutes to set up, shoot, and look at, and when it's done you will
know whether the camera can take sharp images in manual focus mode.

It would take less time than writing one or two of your articles
complaining about the camera.

>I'm beating the
>deadest of horses here, but you guys seem to insist that even with the
>f stop at its widest setting, if I focus manually--correctly--I WOULD
>be able to get my exquisite Subaru in focus.

Of course, unless the camera is broken.

>And I'm here to tell you
>that with this Canon, at f stop 2.8, focused manually, whether its my
>exquisite Subaru or my exquisite aged parent, all I get is a ~B~L~U~R.

And I don't believe you. You don't seem to have read and understood the
camera manual, nor have you done any sort of test such as described

>> But why on earth are you using the *zoom* control to focus?

>(Mrs. Murphy's Chowder Speaking: BECAUSE THE CAMERA WILL NOT ALLOW ME

You can't figure out how to use one feature, on its own, so you decide
to investigate the interaction of changing 2 or 3 at the same time?

>> Not likely. You're using an A620, right? It's likely quite similar to
>> my older Canon A80. Manual focus works. Aperture priority works. You
>> can use both of them at the same time if you want.

>The Hay-ul you can! I tried, Lord how I tried, to get out of shutter
>priority while in manual focus mode, in order to experiment with the
>aperture priority setting RIGHT NEXT TO IT ON THE LCD. And the camera
>basically said "S'na my chob."

What did you do, exactly? Switching from shutter to aperture priority
is probably done by turning the mode dial. Going into and out of manual
focus is probably a button press or two. You probably can only *adjust*
one of focus and aperture/shutter speed at once, changing between the
two by use of another button.

I believe the camera was telling you "Read the damned manual, so you
know what button to press to get what you want".

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Roger Whitehead
Posts: n/a
In article <e9go9f$1na$(E-Mail Removed)>, Dave Martindale wrote:
> If you had actually read this newsgroup for very long, or read a
> thorough review of any DSLR, you would know that the LCD display on a
> DSLR is not active before you take a picture.

With the exception of the Olympus E-330 and its cousin, the Panasonic
Lumix DMC-L1.

Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.


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Jules Vide
Posts: n/a
J. Clarke wrote:
> If you want to have constant f/2.8 through the same zoom range as the A620
> then you will need three lenses for the Digital Rebel XT, which lenses will
> cost you in excess of $3000 over and above the price of the body. If
> you're spending that much for lenses I'd go for the 30D over the Digital
> Rebel XT.

It's not that I necessarily have a burning desire for photographs taken
at this setting; it's that an extremely helpful as well as patient
poster suggested the experiment as a way of teaching myself what
happens when an aperture is opened wide and a subject is in focus.
That's the reason I wanted to see if my camera would "do" this. Not
being a complete moron, I followed the scant information offered in the
user's manual, familiarized myself with the menus, and took in to
account everything written on this (and my other) threads.

In any event, I decided that a poor man's DSLR--a body with one or two
lenses--would be futile. I went to Ebay and found an ancient Nikon
manual for an ancient Nikon F camera, and hopefully things will look
brighter for me photographically. I'm going to keep the point and
shoot only because I don't have a 7.1 pixel, and $200 isn't too much to
pay for its cheap convenience. Unfortunately, though, I'll never know
its capabilities because they aren't explained in the user's manual,
and I can't intuit a camera's functions if they aren't explained

(For the record, the LCD showed my Subaru *in focus* when I took the
f2.8 pictures that all turned out blurry.) Thank you again for your
responses (and also Mr. Martindale).

Bye, all.

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David Harmon
Posts: n/a
On 17 Jul 2006 03:25:57 -0700 in, "Jules Vide"
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote,
>(Mrs. Murphy's Chowder Speaking: BECAUSE THE CAMERA WILL NOT ALLOW ME

Greetings again, Jules. Please take a breath and calm down.
Have patience, and you are going to get good pictures.

A blurry background is only occasionally necessary for a good
picture. There is more than that to a 3-dimensional look. The most
important things are the same regardless of what camera you are

- Where you position the camera when taking the picture.
- What you point it at, and what else is in the frame.
- Lighting.

In my opinion, you should set your camera back to autofocus and stay
away from manual focus for the time being. If your main subject is
in the center of the frame then fine; otherwise aim at the subject,
press the shutter release halfway down until the camera focuses,
then aim where you want and take the picture. If you do that, the
autofocus is probably more accurate than you can be. When you want
to learn MF, the camera should be on a tripod at first.

If you are close to the subject, perspective will make it look more
3-dimensional than if you are far away. That is why good portrait
photographers do not hold the camera inches away from the subject's

If everything in the frame is about the same distance away from you,
then the picture will tend to look flat. If you want landscapes to
look more 3-dimensional, include something in the foreground, like
maybe that photography book you borrowed from the library. Or the
traditional tree limb.

If the light is coming from straight behind you, the picture will
look flatter than if it is coming from off to the side. On-camera
flash makes pictures flat. Outdoor photographers have been known to
wait outrageous lengths of time until the lighting was what they
needed for that really great picture. Buying a different camera
would not have solved that problem.

At this point I would suggest posting one of your pictures on the
web and then asking here what might improve it. If you don't have
somewhere more convenient, I'd suggest using for

Try the "Portrait" scene mode on your A620 with everything auto for
shooting your Subaru. (Not because it's an Auto.) Among other
things, try holding the camera lower to get more sky in the

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