Question about Canon PowerShot S5 IS Digital Camera

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Canon Powershot S5IS Aperture

I recently purchased a Canon Powershot S5IS. Wanting to take shots with the background blurred sufficiently so it is not distracting, important when taking candid everyday shots of children. Have had a play but can't seem to get it to work. Is it bacause 2.7 is widest aperture it has?? maybe someone can help??

Regards

Kate Mills.

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Kate, sounds like you're using the auto mode and letting the camera choose the F-Stop for you.

You need to use the lowest F-Stop you can for the shallowest field of view, and you can do that and still use an auto mode, if you select the A on the dial, which stands for aperture priority, and select the widest F-Stop.

In that mode you get to specify the F-Stop you want the camera to use, and it adjusts the shutter speed to achieve a good exposure.

That is my favorite mode.

Posted on Nov 25, 2014

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To get a narrow DOF with the 5S you have two choices: Shot from up close with macro mode or shot from far away with the zoom. Of course you also need to select a wide appearture (under 4).

At a normal 35-80mm equivalent, in most situations it is impossible to get a decently shallow DOF with this camera.

Posted on May 15, 2008

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Hey Kate
I have owned a Canon Powershot S5 since launch last year and I take a lot of photos with blurred background. I select AV on the dial (Aperture priority) and set aperture to between 2.7 and about 4.0 max, depending on how much depth of field I want and what my subject is.

This setting blurs the background beautifully.. Just remember that an aperture of 2.7 will give you a very shallow depth-of-field, so if focus on face is important, make sure you have face recognition set to ON.

I hope this helps

Posted on Apr 10, 2008

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The primary function of the aperture is to control the amount of light passing through the lens. The more light passes through the lens, the less time is required for the proper exposure. A faster exposure can freeze motion and alleviate camera motion, while a longer exposure can allow the subject to blur, conveying a sense of motion.

The aperture also affects the depth of field. A wider aperture narrows the depth of field, causing the foreground and background to blur, while a smaller aperture widens the depth of field, putting more of the scene into focus.

It's up to the photographer to decide which effects to show. Usually for a portrait you'd want the subject's face to be sharp and the background to be blurry. For a landscape, you'd generally want everything from the foreground to the background to be sharp.

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You're trying for what's called a narrow depth-of-field (DoF).

DoF is controlled by three factors: the aperture of the lens, distance to the subject, and the focal length of the lens. This has nothing to do with any particular design, it's simply physics.

The wider the aperture (smaller the f/number), the narrower the DoF. The A1200 does not have an Av mode which would let you control the aperture directly. However, it does have a Portrait mode, which is supposed to give you a wider aperture.

The closer you are to the subject, the narrower the DoF. This suggests that you get as close to the subject as practicable. However, in general you don't want to get too close for portraits as this tends to exaggerate certain facial features, like making noses look bigger.

The longer the focal length of the lens, the narrower the DoF. This suggests that you back away and zoom in. Yes, this conflicts with the previous paragraph.

Unfortunately, it's the actual focal length of the lens that matters here, not the "35mm equivalent" often quoted in the spces. The lens on the A1200 zooms from 5mm to 20mm. Landscape photographers like to use 24mm lenses on their 35mm cameras because that gives them practically infinite depth-of-field, from the flower in the foreground to the mountains in the background. The lens on your camera is shorter than that, so you're going to have a hard time blurring portrait backgrounds.

The best I can recommend is to put the camera into Portrait mode, put as much distance as possible between the subject and the background, get as close to the subject as possible, and zoom in to the longest focal length you have (remembering that the last two are in conflict).

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What you are asking about is called depth of field. Boiled down, it means that there is a certain amount of area in an image that is in focus, given the focal length of the lens, the aperture (size of the shutter opening) and some other factors. There's a lot of theory behind it, but you just want to know how to accomplish that creative blur behind the subject, right?

If your camera has the capability to choose the aperture, known as the f-stop, either with a manual mode or an aperture-priority mode, then this is pretty easy. The larger the aperture (size of shutter opening) the smaller the depth of field, which means only a small area is in focus. The aperture, or f-stop, is denoted with numbers like F/2.8 or F/8, etc. The lower the number, the bigger the aperture and the more background blur you will get. There is an inverse relation ship between shutter opening and speed, too. A big opening like F2.8 means a faster shutter speed, versus a small opening like F/22. Every lens is different, so your aperture options will vary.

If your camera does not allow you to choose the aperture, it may still have a "scene" setting you can use. A "portrait" or "night" setting usually has a bigger aperture than, say, a "landscape" setting.

Other factors also contribute to creating background blur. All else being equal, the blur increases as you move closer to the subject or as you zoom in on the subject with a zoom lens. Also, having greater space between the background and your subject increases blur.

So, to maximize background blur and create a shallow depth of field, you want to pick the largest aperture possible (smallest f-stop number), you want to get close to the subject and extend your zoom as much as you can, and you want to maximize the distance between the subject and the start of any background objects. Your success will depend in part on your camera and lenses.

If all else fails, you can also artificially create the background blur in software after the image is taken, but that's another story!

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You're seeking what's called a "narrow depth of field." Depth of field is controlled by three factors: focal length of the lens, the lens aperture (f/stop), and distance from the camera to the subject.

The longer the lens, the narrower the depth of field, The larger the aperture, the narrower the depth of field. The closer the distance, the narrower the depth of field.

Unfortunately, the lens on the S90 is a 6-22.5mm zoom, and a lens that short is going to give you a rather wide depth of field in all cases except extreme closeups.

Here are some things you can TRY to get the desired effect:

Set the camera to the sports or portrait mode to get it to try to reduce the depth of field.

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You have a very capable camera. It can do what you're thinking of. You just need to practice with it. It's digital, experiment with the above techniques. Throw away the bad pics and keep the good, noting which technique worked best for the lighting and situation.

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