Best (small) camera for blurred background (bokeh) *Newbie!

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#1
Hi. Forgive me if this has been discussed at length in previous posts - I am a newbie to using forums!
Could someone please advise me on the best compact camera to achieve the blurred background effect easily?
I used to use my grandpa's old Pentax film camera and could move the dial on the lens to create that effect easily - do such digital cameras exist these days which aren't hugely expensive?
Its probably user error but i can't seem to achieve it in any of of the digital cameras I own (Canon Powershot G3 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1). I also have lots of questions about these 2 cameras and how I can use them better but that's probably best placed in another thread?
Thanks in anticipation for any replies
Louise
 
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#2
Bokeh is a term related to depth of field...shallower depth of field gives the potential for more bokeh. Depth of field is a product of:
- aperture of lens (lower f number reduces DOF)
- focal length (increasing focal length at comparative apertures reduces DOF)
- separation of subject to the foreground/background you want out of focus (more separation reduces DOF)
- sensor size (at comparative aperture and focal length, larger sensors will have less DOF)

So any camera where you can control the focal length and aperture should really be able to create a blurred back/foreground to some degree. As for those cameras I don't know about the Powershot but if you stick a 25mm f1.8 prime on the G1, you will be able to get nice blurred pictures.
 
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Simon
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#3
The G1 is a micro 4/3 camera I think?

With a G1 you can get a fairly nice blur with a lens like the Olympus 45mm f1.8 or the 75mm f1.8.
Or, if you need a zoom, something like the f2.8 Olympus 12-40mm lens - but that won't be quite as blurred as the prime f1.8 lenses.

I think.. this is one of those occasions when you'd really benefit from spending some time in a physical shop with various lenses, seeing whether you can get close to what you have in mind.
 
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Toni
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#4
Simon's suggestions are good. For a blurred background you want a longer focal length (lens type in mm i.e. 45mm, 75mm etc - less than 45mm isn't really long enough) with a big hole in the front (bigger hole means smaller f number i.e. f1.8 is a bigger hole than f2.8). Using the lens wide open will give a shallow depth of field of focus, with stuff further away more blurred than the thing you focussed on.

If you understand this already then please forgive my novice-oriented language.
 
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BRAD
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#5
I'm not familiar with either camera but most Digi cameras have a preset setting for Portraits this will generally give you some blurring of the back ground and as others say using a large aperture which will be the smaller f number plus the longest lens you have will do this.
 
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sirch

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#6
The other thing that will help, which I don't think has been mentioned above, is having the subject close to the camera and the background a long way away, you still need to use a wide aperture but a good distance between the subject and background will enhance the effect.
 
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#7
Although the Powershot G3 has a wide aperture lens for a compact (F2 - 2.5 IIRC), it has a smaller sensor so it'll be difficult to get an out of focus background on anything other than a close subject with a distant background.

However, the effect will be more easily achieved using the Panasonic G1. As others have mentioned, the Olympus 45mm 1.8 lens would do the trick nicely and can be had for £100-150 secondhand. Another cheaper option (<£20) if you still have access to your grandpa's Pentax camera and lens would be to get an adapter to use the Pentax lens on your G1. This would mean you have to manually focus the lens, which can be a little bit tricky, but it's certainly doable. I've used old Nikon and Contax lenses in a similar manner on my G1 to good effect.
 
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Alan
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#8
Hi. Forgive me if this has been discussed at length in previous posts - I am a newbie to using forums!
Could someone please advise me on the best compact camera to achieve the blurred background effect easily?
I used to use my grandpa's old Pentax film camera and could move the dial on the lens to create that effect easily - do such digital cameras exist these days which aren't hugely expensive?
Its probably user error but i can't seem to achieve it in any of of the digital cameras I own (Canon Powershot G3 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1). I also have lots of questions about these 2 cameras and how I can use them better but that's probably best placed in another thread?
Thanks in anticipation for any replies
Louise
I don't know what lenses you have for the G1 but with whatever lens you have...

- Use the longer end of the zoom range.
- Use the widest aperture (the smallest f number.)
- Get closer to the subject.
- If possible get the subject further forward from the background.

The Panny G1 should give you at least some of the effect you want especially if you can get hold of a wide aperture lens. Maybe something like the 42mm or 45mm f1.8 lenses mentioned here or even a 25mm f1.8. As suggested by Gav if you can get hold of a 50mm f1.8 Pentax lens an adapter to enable you to use it on your G1 will probably cost about £10 or so. If you can't get hold of a Pentax 50mm f1.8 old film era 50mm f1.8 lenses are available on evil bay for reasonable prices but you may want to come back and ask for advice before diving in and getting involved with old manual lenses.

Actually if you have access to the Pentax lenses you could work out what you'd need to take exactly the same picture with your G1. The G1 is a x2 crop camera so if with the Pentax you use a 50mm lens at f2.8 you'd need to use a 25mm lens on the G1 at f1.4, so you can do that. What you can't easily do is replicate what you'd get with a Pentax 50mm lens at f1.8 as you'd need a 25mm f0.95 lens for the G1 and although they are available they're expensive. In this case what you could do is use a 25mm f1.8 lens, if you have one, at f1.8 and move closer to the subject.

Good luck with it :D The G1 is a nice camera, I had one for years, and I hope you can get the results you want with it.
 
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#9
Sony A6000 is a fairly compact apsc sensor camera with f/1,8 lenses in the system.
Even a f2,8 60mm can make pretty blurred backgrounds DSC07271.JPG
 
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OP
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#10
Thank you so much for your replies. I like the G1 but haven't invested enough time into learning how to use it properly. I find I get quite blurred shots with it sometimes when taking photos at friend's weddings and such like, when the light is low so it gets me frustrated.
I will certainly go up the attic and find the old Pentax and investigate if I can use those lenses - will be back in touch when I find them!

I've just bought the RX100 for work as we need a compact point and shoot but good portrait results. Jessops advised me that it would be a good one...

Can anyone tell me quickly why, with the Canon G3, I took a load of photos of my son in the bluebells but they have come out as absolutely tiny in size on the SD card...?? I wasn't aware I'd changed any settings so really disappointed (these were what I went out to try and practice bokeh with)

IMG_0619.JPG
 
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#11
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