Canon G30 – seeking better bokah

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    • #88984
      Kevin Mc

      My canon Vixia HF G30 has a lowest apperature of 1.8. Even on that setting my depth of field is fairly deep. Objects closer and further than the subject in focus are still crystal clear. I want a shallower depth of field.

      What am I missing here?


    • #213251

      Hi Kevin – Your G30 has an approx 1/3″ sensor. You can decrease the DoF by using longer focal lengths (and max aperture), but basically you’ll have to live with it. You need a larger sensor for shallower DoF. The shallow DoF from the affordable larger sensors was the main reason for the DSLR revolution.

    • #213252
      Kevin Mc

      Thanks, Shoestone – I have found that the longer focal length produces the shallower depth of field. Didn’t realize that the sensor size played a part. Thanks for the info!

    • #213275

      Hi Kevin,

      The large full-frame 35mm sensor combined with the potential of the Magic Lantern 14bit RAW video to CF-cards along with a clean image are the main reasons that the Canon 5D Mark 3 is so popular for cameras in its price range. If you want an alternative to that camera, try the Sony A7S, it has very good dynamic range in SLog2 mode along with a large sensor and high-ISO performance for astounding low-light (almost no-light) performance.

      Now if you want to keep your nice smooth, steady, lightweight zoom range and all the handy features that make camcorders so easy to use, then a DSLR is going to be your worst nightmare! Finding fast parfocal lenses build for large sensors at low prices is almost impossible.

      As they say there is no perfect camera for everyone!

    • #213277
      Space Racer

      A universal truth is that video is 10 percent creativity and 90 percent moving furniture. If you want blurry backgrounds with your G30, you need to put more distance between the subject and the background—which usually means that you’re going to have to move something. Also, bring your subject closer to the camera. The closer the subject is to the camera in relation to the background, the more blur. Shooting with a DSLR will give you the same effect, but at the expense of hassle and the likelihood that you’ll miss focus. So I’d say, if you like the camera, learn to work within its limits.

    • #213752

      The reason that all the tutorials that you find relate to DSLRs is because they are the cameras that are best suited to ahieve what you want to do. Your problem is that you’re using a camcorder, which has a smaller image sensor. DSLRs typically have larger image sensors, which give them the advantage when it comes to creating that out-of-focus background that you want, while keeping your subject in focus. Interchangeable lenses also give them the ability to adapt to different situations. The best thing you can do is what it sounds like you’ve been doing: Keep you aperture as wide as you can. Zoom in as far as you can, but then move your camera into a position so that your subject is framed the way to want him or her, and then hopefully your background will be far enough behind your subject that it will be out of focus. If this doesn’t work for you, there may not be a whole lot else you can do, unless you want to play some games with it in post. But then you might end up spending way more time on it than you want, trying to rotoscope or a similar process. I hope this helps. Good luck.

    • #214101

      The G20 and G30 do have a great shallow depth of field, especially for a camera with this sensor size, but it is only at the maximum focal length. If you watch the focal range as you zoom in, it goes from deep to moderate and then slams to tiny thin at the very longest focal length.

      It’s not convenient but it is better than nothing which is what I’ve seen on some other cameras with this sensor size.

      Yes, DSLRs are great for shallow depth of field. Even my Canon 600D (T3i) is much better than any camcorder I’ve used. For some interviews, I still prefer the DSLR, but for all of the reasons mentioned above and more, the Camcorder is MUCH more convenient for almost every other situation.

      If I need that shallow depth, I set the camera back on a tripod or use the image stabilization, and zoom all the way in.

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