Dof d5100

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May 16, 2011
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Simple question. How do i take pictures with a depth of field? like my target is in front of me and i want it blurred out in the back. or do i just do that with PS?
 
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Shoot wide open, which means using the lowest f/stop you can. Also using a long lens will help.
An example would be 200mm f/2.8 would create a shallow DOF with a blurred background, also known as "Bokeh".
f/22 would have everything in focus.
 
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Short answer - shoot with large apertures (small f-stops). The easiest way is to put the camera in aperture-priority mode and set aperture to the smallest value possible (you want f/2.8 vs f/8)

Long answer - there is more to it than this - focal length and distance to subject also factor into it. Check out the wikipedia article on DOF at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of_field (note the 3rd paragraph) and there is an on-llne DOF calculator at: http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

Lots of articles online - just do a google search on Depth of Field.
 
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70-200 VR @ 200mm f/2.8
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thanks for the quick responses. But how do i change the f stops. on my screen it shows f5

Depends on what mode your in.

Set it to A(perture) priority mode and use the scroll wheel.

My guess is your using the kit lens zoomed to 50mm or so, where the largest aperture is only f5.

The easiest way to create shallow DOF is to move as close as you can to your subject, use the longest focal length you have. To blur the bg you need to add some distance between the subject and the background.
 
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oh thanks twistedlogic. I went into aperture mode and moved the scroll wheel. Going to mess around with it and when i scrolled it the number went higher then 5 but that doesn't men anything right? the kit lens won't support 5+?
 
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oh thanks twistedlogic. I went into aperture mode and moved the scroll wheel. Going to mess around with it and when i scrolled it the number went higher then 5 but that doesn't men anything right? the kit lens won't support 5+?

Just the opposite. Larger f-numbers mean the aperture (hole in the middle of the lens) is smaller. I know, kinda topsy-turvy, but there are reasons it's that way.

So your kit lens probably goes from f/3.5 (at 18mm) or f/5.6 (at 55mm) up to f/22. F5 will give you a (somewhat) blurry background. The closer you are to your subject, the blurrier the background will be. F/22 will give you a sharp background.

The distance between the closest sharp part to the furthest sharp part is called the "Depth of Field". With a large aperture (small f-number, like f/5) the depth of field will barely cover a close sitting person's head. With a small aperture (like f/22) everything from the person's head to the distant horizon will be sharp.

ps, with Nikon cameras, if the data shows you some numbers, it actually is what it says - they won't give you any nonsense numbers - like you can't make a f/3.5 lens read f/2.8, but you CAN make it read f/8 (cause it CAN "stop down" to f/8.)
 
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thanks for the info Chris101. and what i was saying is that my F goes all the way up to f32 when i am in mode "A" and i believe someone said my camera only goes up to f5 Twistedlogic- "My guess is your using the kit lens zoomed to 50mm or so, where the largest aperture is only f5.". but if he was talking about the exposure compensation i know that goes up to 5.
but for a blurry background i would want to use something like f5 or lower i guess then. am i correct?
 
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Remember - a small f number means a small (shallow) depth of field.

So f1.4 (which your lens probably can't do) means a shallower dof than f2.8, because 1.4<2.8.

So small f = small dof.
 
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Shadowtrixz, having the right equipment helps in creating that proper bokeh. There are two ways to do it.

Shoot REALLY close to your subject. The focusing of your lens on your subject (being close to do) is like when you try to look at your finger 8" away from your face, instead of 5 feet away from your face. Focusing on your finger so close leaves the background blurry. Focusing on your finger far away leaves your background mostly in focus.

The other option is purchase new equipment. A lens that goes to f/2.8, or particularly f/2, f/1.8, or f/1.4 will blur your background nicely, even if your subject is 5-10 feet away from you.

The best lens for you, on your D5100, is a 35mm f/1.8 prime lens. It's f/1.8 aperture allows the lens to be shot well in low light, it also produces amazing colors and contract, and it will blur your background nicely.

The gist of f-stops is a fraction, or a division. 1/1.4 (1 divided by 1.4) is a larger number than 1/5 (1 divided by 5). When you think of it that way, it's easier to understand.

The largest aperture lens Nikon currently manufactures is f/1.4. They make 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm f/1.4 lenses. You're looking $500-1800 for those lenses. On the other hand, the 35mm f/1.8 usually sells for $200. Canon currently manufactures f/1.2 lenses. But I've found f/1.4 to be plenty for dark shoots and depth of focus.
 
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thanks again for all the info. But why does my camera in mode "M" have numbers as low as 1/10 1/2 1" 2.5" 30" etc.? It doesn't mean anything right because my camera won't support it?
 
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Those numbers are your shutter speed. I will second the recommendation to read the manual, and read up on basic camera exposures. It is important to understand the relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.
 
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May 16, 2011
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Nikonville, CA
lol good point FantasticG but i've been accessing this forum from my phone but i just uploaded the manual to my phone so i can read it there while im on the train etc.
 
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