Depth Of Field

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    • #49385

      Hey guys,

      We have just bought a couple of Sony HXR-MC2000E cameras and are just getting used to them and what they can do. We’re going to be filming weddings and want to do depth of field shots. There is a section about it in the instruction book however when we do it it doesnt really change focus in great depth so you can’t really see much difference. So I was just wondering if anybody knows if this is all our cameras can do or is there another way please? Or just any advice on these cameras would be massively appreciated!


    • #202246

      Try opening the aperture all the way and then try it again. If you have the aperture closed too much a lot of the scene will be in focus no matter what you do.

    • #202247


      You’re not going to get ‘shallow’ DoF with that kind of camera. You can try to cheat it some by doing as Charles mentioned by ‘opening up’ your exposure to its widest point and moving in close on your talent. The specs say your widest aperture is F-1.8 which is plenty wide.

      Two issues will frustrate your efforts for shallow dof. One your camera has a 12x lens on it. That means a deeper depth of focus and depth of field. Two, video camera image sensors unless specifically made for cinema or photographic work are designed for video imaging.

      The reason video camera imagery generally looks like ‘video’ is because the sensors are refreshing the frame faster than with film (29.97i or 30p vs 24fps or 24p). This gives the ‘realistic look’ typical of video.

      Now like I said, you can ‘cheat’ the dof some. Along with the previously mentioned technique which will have some results, you can get a Wide-Angle Lens Adapter/Converter to attach to your existing lens. Depending on how wide the lens adapter is, will dictate how much shallower your dof will get. Keep in mind though, it won’t be the same as if you were using a photographic or cinema prime wide-angle lens. Also, you’ll lose a stop or two on your exposure.

      Bottom line: your camera like all others have limitations. Your job is to figure out what they are and learn to either work with them or around them best as possible.

    • #202248

      Something to keep in mind- the delimiting factors to shallow DOF are sensor size and aperture.  The MC2000 have 1/4″ chips, making it significantly more challenging.  As the gents say above, opening the aperture, moving away from your target and zooming-in will help, provided you have enough light.

    • #202249

      Depends what your budget is but I think buying a Letus 35 or a similar product. The Letus 35 mini is on sale now so you can get it for under $500. Like I said I dont know what your budget is but check it out on youtube and vimeo. It has a wonderful DoF and gives it a grainy, film look.

    • #202250

      Depth of Field is a creative art. Use all the tools and tricks available to you. It can add so much to your compositions. It can also be quite frustrating to control and make you want to break out your always-in-focus-super-wide-small-imager-video-camera. But stick with it and learn how to make it do what you want. It’s well worth all the effort.

    • #202251
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      You’ll need to step up your gear to get better depth of field. Fixed lenses are handy but, well, at a cost. The 5D mII will do ya fine. Grab the lenses that tickle your fancy and rock on. You can probably get into one for not much more than what you’ll sell the sony for.

    • #202252

      badger – you’ve gotten a lot of good advice here – but there is only so much depth of field you can squeeze out of a small sensor camcorder – and I am not a big fan of either adapters or DSLRs for weddings. Too complicated.

      Your MC2000Es are great camcorders, but you’ll need something with a larger sensor in order to get the effect you’re looking for.

      Your 1/4″ sensor is even smaller than the 1/2.88″ used in the comparison.

      If you really need shallow DoF, you might want to think about trading in one of your cameras for a Sony NEX-VG20E. It is the only large sensor camcorder in the same price range as your HXRs.

      Good luck and Best of the New Year!


      Hybrid Camera Revolution

    • #202253

      Depth-of-Field is an outcome of focal-length and aperture, and obtainingdifferential-focus becomes more difficult with small image-sensors, the reason being, that with the reduced focal-lengths which smaller image-sensors call for, comes greater field depth as a natural outcome. The obvious ‘cheat’ is to use a neutral-density filter, when, everything else being equal, the depth-of-field will be reduced by the wider aperture the lens has to open up-to, to compensate.Another solution is to useshots and angles which allow for tightly ‘cropped’ images, thus working more of the time inthe medium-focal-length/telephotoportion for your lens’s performance-range. I have had considerable success doing that against backgrounds which are far enough distant to have gone very much out-of-focus. It doesn’t call for any special gear, just tight image-cropping and a ‘different’ way of going about things. Works great for screen-filling close-ups of bumble-bees on ice-plant flowers, (an actual recent instance of mine), not so sure about weddings, though.

      In extreme close-up situations, of course, limited depth-of-field/differential-focus, are also problems, but then, they tend to work against you, not to your advantage.

    • #202254

      Yea,I am sure by now you have realised that as fancy as the shoulder mounted Sony MC2000 looks, it is actually a small sensor camera ( a 1/4″CMOS) and does not really lend itself to great depth of field shots especially in the low light situation often encountered in weddings.What about keeping the Sony’s, for most of the shots, and using a separate DSLR with a fast lens for those creative depth of field shots?Otherwise the Sony NEX VG20 is a good option for the price.It has a massive sensor (almost 35mm) and still has that “professional ” look that you might want as a wedding videographer.I have a Nikon D5100 (possibly not as great as the Canon 600D for video) which with a fast prime lens is great for that dof.I also recently got a Sony NEX VG10.These cameras have the advantage of interchangeable lenses.

      PS Hi Bill-I remember you from Pana3CCD user days!

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