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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> digital cameras which allow shallow depth of field
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07/28/2012 10:27:22 AM · #1
Looking for the cheapest digital camera that will allow a shallow depth of field.

This is for a youngster who is currently using my very old manual SLR with some success,taking shots of plants, fossils, and portraits of people. It has in addition the Tameron 70-210mm F3.8 lens.

The only digital ones I can find that might acomplish this are in the very high end of the price market.
I know some compacts will take good close ups, but all of the picture is at the same 'level'
which is not what he likes. We have tried loosing the background on Photoshop, but it isnt quite the same effect!

Any suugestions please.
07/28/2012 10:38:13 AM · #2
Originally posted by ariadnne:

Looking for the cheapest digital camera that will allow a shallow depth of field.

This is for a youngster who is currently using my very old manual SLR with some success,taking shots of plants, fossils, and portraits of people. It has in addition the Tameron 70-210mm F3.8 lens.

The only digital ones I can find that might acomplish this are in the very high end of the price market.
I know some compacts will take good close ups, but all of the picture is at the same 'level'
which is not what he likes. We have tried loosing the background on Photoshop, but it isnt quite the same effect!

Any suugestions please.
dslr's have a shallow depth of field when compared to point and shoot cameras because they have much larger sensors. any dslr will be able to achieve this effect. keep in mind that in order to produce a shallow DOF, you will also need a lens with a large aperture. if you're on a budget, simply get the cheapest dslr you can find (both the canon digital rebel and the nikon d3000 are great), along with an inexpensive but high quality 50mm 1.8 prime lens.
07/28/2012 11:27:52 AM · #3
You might have to take a memory card to a camera store and compare some test shots. Even some ordinary P&S cameras will achieve a relatively shallow DOF in macro mode -- I took this with my Olympus D490Z almost ten years ago, f/4.4 ...

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_38922.jpg
07/28/2012 11:29:10 AM · #4
Originally posted by LanndonKane:

Originally posted by ariadnne:

Looking for the cheapest digital camera that will allow a shallow depth of field.

This is for a youngster who is currently using my very old manual SLR with some success,taking shots of plants, fossils, and portraits of people. It has in addition the Tameron 70-210mm F3.8 lens.

The only digital ones I can find that might acomplish this are in the very high end of the price market.
I know some compacts will take good close ups, but all of the picture is at the same 'level'
which is not what he likes. We have tried loosing the background on Photoshop, but it isnt quite the same effect!

Any suugestions please.
dslr's have a shallow depth of field when compared to point and shoot cameras because they have much larger sensors. any dslr will be able to achieve this effect. keep in mind that in order to produce a shallow DOF, you will also need a lens with a large aperture. if you're on a budget, simply get the cheapest dslr you can find (both the canon digital rebel and the nikon d3000 are great), along with an inexpensive but high quality 50mm 1.8 prime lens.


Perfect suggestion!

There's also the possibility to buy an old manual focus 50mm. 1.4. I have one and it works pretty well.
07/28/2012 12:19:44 PM · #5
To add to Alex's suggestion, don't be afraid to buy a good used camera. Something like an older Canon, perhaps a 40D body, would be a great tool. The Canon EOS system is the most flexible SLR out there with respect to taking old manual lenses, which provides another option for inexpensive, interesting glass albeit with manual focus and aperture.
07/28/2012 01:10:55 PM · #6
I would agree that a cheap/cheaper DSLR would fill the bill best, preferably one that can take old lenses such as the Tamron you already have, probably with an adapter. You can get a lovely shallow DOF with a fast (2.8 and less) prime lens, but a telephoto of any speed will get a perfectly acceptable shallow DOF. - Consider it a good investment - the lad seems primed.
07/28/2012 01:11:12 PM · #7
As said before, you can find an older DSLR for about the same price as a decent Point & Shoot. Something like a Canon Rebel XT, XTI, 20D or a Nikon D40 can be had for around $200-250 USD if you keep an eye out on Craigslist and can be patient.
07/28/2012 01:12:55 PM · #8
Also with the Canon DSLR cameras (and more than likely nikons etc) you can get an M42 adapter ring cheaply that will allow you to use all the old M42 fitment manual focus lenses out there in "ebay" land.. lenses that have good quality glass and now sell very cheaply :) .. good cheap way to build collection of lenses.

Message edited by author 2012-07-28 13:13:35.
07/28/2012 01:18:55 PM · #9
$175 -
Canon EOS Rebel DS6041 6.3 MP Digital Camera, EF 18-55mm lens 2 batteries, Flash


Hard to beat that price.
07/28/2012 01:24:23 PM · #10
Originally posted by stphq:

Also with the Canon DSLR cameras (and more than likely nikons etc) you can get an M42 adapter ring cheaply that will allow you to use all the old M42 fitment manual focus lenses out there in "ebay" land.. lenses that have good quality glass and now sell very cheaply :) .. good cheap way to build collection of lenses.


Canon yes, Nikon *definitely* not:
- Canon EOS, register distance 44mm
- M42, register distance 45.46mm
- Nikon F, register distance 46.5mm

Because the register distance of M42 is longer than for Nikon F, an M42 lens would need to be mounted inside a Nikon body in order to achieve infinity focus.
07/28/2012 01:30:05 PM · #11
Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by stphq:

Also with the Canon DSLR cameras (and more than likely nikons etc) you can get an M42 adapter ring cheaply that will allow you to use all the old M42 fitment manual focus lenses out there in "ebay" land.. lenses that have good quality glass and now sell very cheaply :) .. good cheap way to build collection of lenses.


Canon yes, Nikon *definitely* not:
- Canon EOS, register distance 44mm
- M42, register distance 45.46mm
- Nikon F, register distance 46.5mm

Because the register distance of M42 is longer than for Nikon F, an M42 lens would need to be mounted inside a Nikon body in order to achieve infinity focus.


actually nikon adapters do exist with correctional glass (not needed by canon adapters) for infinity focus... link to one on ebay..

m42 to nikon adapter

Message edited by author 2012-07-28 13:30:22.
07/28/2012 01:34:47 PM · #12
By the way, welcome to DPC 31_N.gif ariadnne, I just noticed that you signed up today!

I hope you'll consider joining us more often. As you can see, the forums are usually pretty helpful around here. You're certainly welcome to pop in any time and ask whatever you may need to know.

I'm curious if you are into Digital Photography? If so you would be welcome to join us in the challenges as well, they're quite a bit of fun, and a really great learning tool.
07/28/2012 01:37:59 PM · #13
Okay, enough with the canon nikons! Pentax dslrs will accept ALL old Pentax and Rikenon lenses with the bayonet mount; as well an adapter can be had for the older M42 lenses. I have 2 50 mm f1.4 of the latter for my K200. And there are plenty of older Pentaxes out there for cheap.
07/28/2012 02:09:26 PM · #14
Sounds like he's just starting out, and a basic (even old) DSLR would be a good choice, however you will probably need multiple lenses. A 50mm f/1.8 will render shallow depth of field, but isn't a great choice for macro. Shallow DOF requires a large sensor chip and a fast lens (ideally on the telephoto end), and while there are an increasing number of compact cameras with large chips, most of these have lenses that aren't particularly fast on the telephoto end. An exception is the Panasonix Lumix LX5, with its highly regarded large sensor and f/2.0-3.3 lens for $360 (you might find for it less with some searching). The $399 Olympus XZ-1 offers a large sensor and a 4X, f/1.8 lens that only drops to f/2.5 on the telephoto side and can focus at 1cm for macro. I really don't know anything about the camera other than the specs, but it might be worth checking out. Panasonic's new Lumix FX200 has a ridiculous 25-600mm f/2.8 Leica lens might be the ultimate camera for this, but at $599 it's well into DSLR prices anyway.
07/28/2012 02:10:49 PM · #15
i would suggest looking for an older used rebel, XS maybe? and grab a 50/1.8 to go with it, probably run you around $300.
07/28/2012 02:18:04 PM · #16
FWIW, Canon sells refurbished DSLRs directly. Use coupon code EOS712 to get 15% off and SHIP712 to get free shipping (you can use both). The coupons expire July 31st.
07/30/2012 12:29:16 AM · #17
I have a Nikon camera and it has a awesome clarity and the best thing is that I have purchased on reasonable price.
07/30/2012 05:07:52 AM · #18
Wow - a newbie question thread without any accusations of spamming.
07/30/2012 08:41:32 AM · #19
Originally posted by JH:

Wow - a newbie question thread without any accusations of spamming.

Nah, I punched the spam button on the post right before yours last night. The original post is legit however.
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