Category Archives: Depth of Field

Photography: Sony A200 & Panasonic TZ1 Photo Comparison

This past Sunday we took our little boy to the park so I decided to use the opportunity to take a few photos as well. One thing I am beginning to realise is that my standard seems to have risen since I started using my Sony A200, and by that I mean that expect more from a photo and am finding that fewer of the photos I take are meeting my expectations. That aside, on spying a ladybird sitting on a leaf I decided to take a photo with both my Sony A200 and my Panasonic DMC-TZ1 – DSLR v Compact: Macro Battle!

The TZ1 has a 10x zoom with an effective focal length range of 35-350mm, while the A200 was used with the kit lens with an effective focal length range of 18-70mm. The better wide angle setting wasn’t going to help the A200 but was the lack of zoom and macro capability going to hold it back? Let’s look at the evidence, and note that the photos have not had any post production aside from cropping and resizing.

Panasonic TZ1 - f/6.3 - 1/1600 - ISO-800

Panasonic TZ1 - f/6.3 - 1/1600 - ISO-800

Sony A200 - f/5.6 - 1/250 - ISO-100

Sony A200 - f/5.6 - 1/250 - ISO-100

Interesting when looking at he exif information that the TZ1 chose an ISO of 800 compared to the A200 which chose ISO-100. I’d hazard a guess this is due to the superior quality of the A200’s sensor which has picked up more light than that of the TZ1. This could also be why the colours in the photo taken by the A200 are more natural looking.

There is more detail on the leaf of the TZ1 photo but that is because I purposely selected the ladybird as the focus area when using the A200 and increased the aperture setting to get a shallower depth of field.

I’m very encouraged by the photo taken with my Sony A200 and can only begin to imagine what results i will be able to achieve with a dedicated macro lens or a zoom lens with macro capability. Macro photography is an area I am particularly interested in so such a lens is on my wish list – you listening Santa?

I’ll leave you with two more photos taken on the way to the park.

Now that is a blue sky!

Now that is a blue sky!

Dew on the flower petals.

Dew on the flower petals.

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Filed under Aperture, Cameras, Depth of Field, Macro Photography, Photography

Photography: Different focus points, aperture and depth of field

You may remember from the blog about my first set of photos with my newly acquired Sony A200 that I got feedback about my photos all having the subject in the centre of the photo, and that not always being the best for good composition.

Little did I know, because I didn’t read the manual, that my camera has 9 focus points that can be manually adjusted so as to focus on any of the 9 points in the viewfinder, and not just the middle. The image below, borrowed from the awesome Steve’s Digicams, shows these focus points as I see them in the viewfinder.

Different focus points

Different focus points

I also read up on aperture settings and how they affect depth of field. Basically, the higher the aperture setting which is actually a low number, for example f/4.5 is higher than f/22) the shallower the depth of field and thus the less of your photo is in focus.

My aim going out was to combine the 9 focus point options with high aperture settings and hopefully see some results which were different to the standard pictures I took the week before. I took 50 shots in all and got a couple of photos I am happy with – I guess I’ll have to get used to that kind of hit-rate, where more thought and precision is required, good results will be more infrequent – at least for now!

This first photo is my favourite, and one which best highlights my best use of a different focus point and a manual aperture setting. I love how the lone piece of straw (or whatever it is – any fauna experts out there, feel free to correct me) at the front is sharp and in focus as the bits behind are less in focus and the background is not in focus at all.

Shallow depth of focus

Shallow depth of focus

The next shot shows just how much attention you have to pay when taking a great photo, and how I had my mind on lots of camera settings but not on the actual flower itself. As was pointed out to me on AVForums, I should have moved the bud from behind the flower.

Damn that bud!

Damn that bud!

This 3rd photo had the makings of being a good shot but the dandelion is not nearly sharp enough. Not sure why that is, I’m probably not taking enough time to line up and get the shots right before pressing the shutter button – another point and shoot trait I need to lose. It’s a shame because the depth of field behind the dandelion is really good – maybe too good that it starts to lose focus before the dandelion itself!

Not sharp enough

Not sharp enough

All in all I’m pleased with my efforts and it’s nice to be learning about actual photography and different settings can change the outcome dramatically. I’m glad I got rid of the

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Filed under Aperture, Cameras, Depth of Field, Photography